Thursday, March 18
COLUMBUS (1:30 p.m.) Evan Turner and his teammates spent about 30 minutes Wednesday visiting with the local media before heading to the practice gym at the Schottenstein Center for a 2:15 p.m. practice session. The team board the bus for the 75-mile trip to Dayton about 4 p.m. The Buckeyes open the 2009 NCAA Tournament at about 9:40 p.m. Friday at UD Arena vs. Siena. Turner will blog his experience throughout the event. Check back frequently for updates.
DAYTON-Turner (6:15 p.m.) Today I watched old game film of the Purdue game when we won in overtime at the Schott. After that I packed up for the trip and went to get a sub sandwich before heading to the gym. We had media today before practice as well.
Today was nice because I was able to sleep in until about 10:30 or so. I am done with final exams so did not have anything today to worry about academically. My finals were over yesterday. I took finals in consumer science and human nutrition.
Once we left for Dayton I was able to get a quick nap on the bus while listening to Eminem. I’m about to go unpack and then we’ll go out as a team to get some dinner, which I think will be at a wings place this time, which is cool. We’ll get a few laughs in and then come back to the hotel and play cards. David Lighty, P.J and Dallas will be the players. We’ll play Spades or a game called Tonk until we gather again to watch Siena game film.
After film I’ll get a late night snack of peanut butter cups and Gatorade. I want to get at least 10 hours of sleep tonight but we’ll see.
I’m looking forward to our shoot around tomorrow to get used to the rims at the gym and the atmosphere we’ll be playing in and then we’ll start counting down until game day.
Thursday, March 19
DAYTON–OhioStateBuckeyes.com (11 a.m.) The team met for a light breakfast at 9:45 a.m. before a scheduled lunch at about 11:30 a.m. About 12:45 p.m. the team will leave the hotel for a 90-minute practice at the University of Dayton practice facility. Members of the Ohio State administrative staff will gather with tournament officials, administrators from the seven other schools on site and CBS television and radio officials. This meeting outlines all the obligations of the participating teams during the NCAA First and Second rounds. Ohio State will begin it’s media obligations at 4:30 p.m. at the arena. Evan Turner, Dallas Lauderdale and Jon Diebler will represent the Buckeyes on the formal interview stage. The rest of the team will be available in an open locker room situation. Thad Matta also will be available on the stage and will visit with CBS announcers Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. Ohio State’s open practice will start at 5:10 p.m. for about 40 minutes. It’s free. UD Arena looks great all set up for the practices and competition.
Evan Turner (11:30 a.m.):
Last night I ordered the movie Notorious. I’ve seen it five times in the theater. I also checked my Facebook and had 20 friend requests, which was cool. One of them was Gerald Henderson from Duke. I went to sleep about 1 a.m. and woke up about at 11 a.m. or so. I had a great night’s sleep. I feel good. It’s nice outside. I’m looking forward to having a good practice and shootaround today. I have a friend who goes to school here so I’m looking forward to seeing him sometime today.
I’m trying to imagine what it’s going to be like to be in a game situation in a new arena in front of fans from eight different schools. I don’t know what to expect when we get over to the arena for interviews and the open practice. I know people like to root for the underdog in the tournament. We won’t be the underdog in the game Friday so we’ll see who the fans are rooting for. Also this morning I’ve been reading a book called “The Path of the Silent Warrior.” It’s the first time I’ve been able to read for leisure in awhile because of finals amd the Big Ten Tournament. The book is about a gymnast, Dan Milman. He has a different outlook on life and about being patient. I need to work on that during offseason. Well, it’s time for lunch. I’ll be back later to update our practice and our public practice. I hope Buckeye fans will be there.
OhioStateBuckeyes.com (1:40 p.m.):
Thad Matta has the Buckeyes going through a light practice session at the University of Dayton basketball on-campus practice facility. It’s a one-court setup lined along the baselines with red padding, blue out-of-bounds area with six on-court baskets. The side court walls are beige and white. Assistant coach Alan Major is working out the bigs while assistants Archie and Brandon Miller handle the guards. The team will be at the facility until about 2:30 p.m. Nikola Kecman, out for the year following knee surgery, is working out on a stationary bike while David Lighty, out while recovering from a broken foot, is shooting on the side. The team will return to the hotel before it’s public practice and interview session at 4:30 p.m.
OhioStateBuckeyes.com (9 p.m.):
The Buckeyes, and all the teams at the University of Dayton, finished a long day of practice, interviews and a 40-minute public workout at the UD Arena. Student-Athletes from each team along with its head coach were questioned by the media both during formal press conferences and individual interview sessions. Ohio State’s public practice was well attended by Buckeye fans and the team awarded them the an O-H as the team left the floor. The fans responded with a resounding I-O! The players signed autographs for about 20 minutes before heading back to the team hotel to get changed for dinner. The squad when to a local steak house where more Ohio State fans acquired autographs before and after the team meal.
Evan Turner (9:45 p.m.): It was a good practice this morning and then we had an open practice at the arena. There were tons of Buckeye fans showing us support. I was comfortable with the rims and I won the free throw contest, which was cool. I was surprised by the number of fans at our open practice. I did not realize Buckeye nation was that big or ran that deep. That was cool.
At both our practices today I felt my teammates were focused as we prepared for tomorrow. Another part of our day was all the media attention. It was a little overwhelming. There were so many people in our locker room. It seems like the attention has tripled compared with the regular season. I did enjoy it though. After our practice we had the opportunity to sign some autographs for the fans that came out to support us. I think that is important to show them how much we appreciate them coming out to see us. It makes me appreciate being a Buckeye. The fans support shows me we are playing for our community, our state and our university, not just ourselves. I like that.
We then went out to dinner and I had steak and French fries. It’s nice to get away from basket ballfor awhile and just be kids and enjoy ourselves. Now we have film and after that I’ll go back to my room and watch the “Smart Guy” tv series and get some rest. Tomorrow is a long day.
Friday, March 20
OhioStateBuckeyes.com (11 a.m.): The team had a 9 a.m. wakeup call followed by a 9:15 breakfast at the hotel. The Buckeyes were allowed 20 minutes of shooting time was alloted for each team but only Ohio State utilized it’s time to get on the court at the UD Arena. Because Ohio State’s hotel is so close to the arena and with the Buckeyes playing so late tonight the coaching staff wanted to get the team up and out of the hotel for the brief workout. The team will spend the rest of the day watching games, eating lunch and pregame meals, texting, reading and talking with family and friends. When Ohio State takes the court nearly half the 65 teams in the 2009 NCAA Tournament will already have lost and returned to their respective campuses. The finality of this tournament is incredible.
Evan Turner (12:30 p.m.): We got up this morning and went over to the arena to get a little shooting in. I like getting out of the hotel and seeing a different atmosphere other than my room but my room is pretty nice so I don’t mind hanging in there either.
We have a long time to wait until game time. I have different feelings about waiting so long to play. I should be fully rested and hydrated by game time. I plan to drink a lot of water and Gatorade today. I plan on reading and ordering songs and movies off ITunes. I’m also going to watch an old high school basketball game of mine. I have a DVD of it. It’s a holiday tournament against an old rival, Proviso East. We won the game on a buzzer beater by my teammate Garrett Leffelman. He plays at Brown. He was our valedictorian.
I’m watching that game because it was a tough game that took a lot of toughness and focus. Proviso reminds me of the team we are going to play tonight. It gets me prepared mentally when I watch basketball. Siena is a running team and both teams (the Saints and Proviso) like to score and they both have good guard combos. I had like 26 points and 10 boards in the Proviso game with 8 assists I think.
I will also watch some games today. You see that a lot of teams go home. There is a lot at stake. The losers go home and are done until next November. I could be back at hotel room tonight smiling and talking to my friends about the game or on a bus on the way home.
I have six family members coming tonight. My mom, aunts and grandparents will be here. I have three aunts and they are all coming to the game. I’m used to having them all around. It’s nice to have someone rooting for you.
Evan Turner (6 p.m.): We just finished our pregame meal of chicken, fish, salad, pasta and fruit. I spent the afternoon watching games and taking a nap. It was cool to see Dayton beat West Virginia. That was a good game. I am ready to play. We’ve been sitting around the hotel all afternoon so it’s time to get on the court. There are people all over our hotel. Fans of the teams playing here it Dayton are all over the lobby. There are tons of Ohio State fans here. I’m sure we will be well represented. I’m looking forward to taking the court and hearing how many people are in the crowd. Coach Matta’s daughter’s hung a banner in the room were ate dinner. All kids in their school signed the banner. That was nice of them to support us.