TSU basketball Tigers take a bite of the big apple

The TSU men’s basketball team enjoys Thanksgiving Dinner at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, New York City, New York on November 27, 2014.  photo: Jeff Carr/TSU Athletic Media Relations

The TSU men’s basketball team enjoys Thanksgiving Dinner at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, New York City, New York on November 27, 2014. photo: Jeff Carr/TSU Athletic Media Relations

It is basketball season at Tennessee State University. The men’s and women’s teams have been busy with tournaments and classics leading up to the start of conference play in January. Rivalry games with cross-town and regional opponents have given the teams the opportunity to work out in game situations. Long distance travel has also broadened the horizons of some Tigers, giving them some great learning experiences.

Thanksgiving, for some people, means being with family and eating way too much food. For the 2014-15 TSU men’s basketball team, it has meant spending time with teammates in the Big Apple. The Tigers were in New Jersey for the tail end of the Barclay’s Tournament to play the hosts, Saint Peters, on Friday and then Saint Francis on Saturday.

Knowing that their team would be away from their families this Thanksgiving, and that they would be staying right across the river from one of the landmark cities of the world, the coaches went out of their way to make sure the team had a good time.

Last Wednesday, the team had an off day after playing No. 8 Virginia the night before. After they checked into their hotel in Jersey City, the team boarded a subway bound for Manhattan Island. For some, it was the first time they had ever ridden on the ‘Metro Rail.’

Players and coaches alike were moved by their visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum Memorial. Many items, pictures, and videos are at the museum to make sure that America never forgets the events of that day. Parts of the building that remained somewhat intact, or in the case of the ‘Survivor’s Staircase,’ fully intact, were on display throughout the memorial.

After practice on Thanksgiving afternoon, coaches were pleased with the effort and work put in. After practice, the team boarded the bus and returned briefly to the hotel to get ready for a very special dinner. The Tigers had Thanksgiving dinner at a terrific world-renowned establishment in the heart of Harlem called Sylvia’s Restaurant. So much turkey and stuffing got passed around the table that even Chima Azuonwu was saying: “No more for me. I’m full.”

A few players and coaches then ventured down a few blocks to visit the Apollo Theatre. Although it was closed, they enjoyed the scenery around it and snapped photos of the walk that had the various names of superstars who had performed at the theatre.

And so, the Tigers had a lot to be thankful for. That trip was a great experience for not only the players, but for the coaches and staff who made the trip, as well.

The Tigers travel to play at Lipscomb on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 4 pm in Nashville; at Southern Illinois on Dec. 16 at 7 pm; at Hampton on Dec. 19; at MTSU on Dec. 21; at Tennessee on Dec. 27; and at TCU on Dec. 29. Home games resume on Dec. 31 against Kennesaw State at 7 pm. Ohio Valley Conference play begins at home against SEMO on Saturday, Jan. 3, and EIU on Wednesday, Jan. 7.