Joey Higginbotham -- Q&A
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 15, 2011 1:48 PM
Fresh off consecutive victories in the SAC-Conference Carolinas Challenge, fourth-year Mount Olive College head men's basketball coach Joey Higginbotham sat down with the News-Argus to give his thoughts on the 46th annual Pickle Classic:
N-A: Which is easier, coaching in the Classic or playing in the Classic?
JH: Both of them are different preparations. Playing was easier, but I do enjoy coaching better.
N-A: What do you like about this year's Classic?
JH: We have some different teams that I think haven't been here before. There's a lot of question marks about the teams because we don't much about them. In the past, we've been familiar with the teams that we've invited.
N-A: How would you describe the Pickle Classic atmosphere?
JH: Oh, I love it. You get to see former players. For me I get to see former students that I went to school with ... is one big weekend that brings everyone back to campus. They can see how the campus has changed because some people haven't been here in either five or 10 years. They can see how Mount Olive is growing. It's just a fun weekend to share and hopefully we can put a good show for our alumni and fans. It's always a great crowd and our players like to play in front of a lot of people. The guys get some former players from back in the day and that's fun, too.
N-A: Is there any nervousness?
JH: Not nervousness. More anxious to play on our home court in front of our fans, definitely. I try not to preach too much nervousness to my guys, we do this because we love this so there shouldn't be too many nerves. There is always the excitement. The Pickle Classic is always the kick off around here (on campus) for basketball.
N-A: How are you approaching this Classic with your team?
JH: We're approaching it like we approach every day. We're trying to get better and hopefully we're going to be better Friday than we were this past weekend. Not knowing a lot about the programs that are here, we've got to really be on top of our game. We'll probably concentrate a little more on us and less on them. We've got to come to play.
N-A: Do the players feel pressure?
JH: We stress taking care of our home court and this is definitely important for us because it's one of our biggest-attended games of the year. Pressure ... will probably say it's because we've been so successful in the Pickle Classic over the past 40-some years. A lot of that has to do with the great support with the alumni who comes back, and we're very appreciative of the support from our administration and throughout the campus. It's not just an athletic thing ... it's something for everyone. That's a big part of it.
-- RUDY COGGINS
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