Wednesday’s Quotes – 2023 Myrtle Beach Invitational

Compiled by Devin Marquez

 College of Charleston Coach Pat Kelsey – Personally, this place [Coastal Carolina] speaks tournament to me because several of the years I was at Winthrop, the Big South Conference Championship was here. So, coming back to Coastal Carolina in this building for a tournament is a little bit of deja vu and it’s kind of special. It’s just a great opportunity for our guys to compete against some really good teams and for us to find out a lot about ourselves. I think a lot of teams come out of these early preseason tournaments – these November tournaments – with a clear understanding of who they are, what they are, what their deficiencies are, what they have to work on and clean up and what they’re good at. I think we’ll know a lot about ourselves after playing three really good teams in four days.” (On the matchup with Vermont) “They’re very well coached. They’re very well-schooled. They’re very good in their system. They have a DNA. We have to be very good on both ends to get a win.

Coastal Carolina Coach Cliff Ellis – “It’s always exciting to bring this basketball tournament here, which actually evolved around Puerto Rico [Puerto Rico Tip-off, 2007-2017). When they had devastating storms, you had to find a coastal area that could give you beaches and things of that type. It has worked out extremely well I think for all the teams to be able to still have that flair of good climate, beaches and eight teams coming together – eight excellent teams. If you look at all the teams that have come through here over the years, it’s been amazing. ESPN has done a great job of sponsoring and being a part of this event. It showcases all these teams that come in from throughout the country, and it’s a great thing.” (On the matchup with Wichita State) “We know it’s early and I think right now both teams are more focused on what we’re doing as a team than the other team because we still don’t know a lot about the other team. I know that Wichita State has a very good basketball coach [Paul Mills] and I know that they’ve got very good players. This is a team that has a lot of length. If you look at them from the outside looking in, from the seven-footer all the way down, they’ve got a lot of length.”

Furman Head Coach Bob Richey – “We’re excited to be here, obviously it’s a great event. ESPN does a great job with it. This is our second [ESPN] event, we did the Charleston Classic last year and it was a great experience for us. This part of the year, everybody’s trying to get to know their team and know their group. To come get three quality tests in a four-day span versus some really good competition on a great platform, it’s something that you really can’t put a measurement on for our program.” (On the matchup with Liberty) “First of all, I’ve known [Liberty Head Coach] Ritchie [McKay]for a long, long time and I’ve always had a ton of respect for him. They’re very well coached and they’ve got a clear identity, they’ve got a clear way of how they play and they’ve got tremendous buy-in to how they play. That pops out. We’ve got a high level of respect for them. We’re gonna have to play really, really well to beat them, but we’re really excited about the challenge, and I think it’s going to be a great college basketball game.”

Liberty Coach Ritchie McKay – “It’s always a privilege playing in one of the ESPN events and we’ve been in Myrtle Beach a few times because of our time in the Big South. I have a ton of respect for [Coastal Carolina Head] Coach [Cliff] Ellis. Man, the other teams along with us, I think it’s a tremendous field. The one thing that I know we’ll walk away or leave with is a better deposit and more preparation for what will be a really challenging conference season once we get there in January.” (On the matchup with Furman) “You need a lot of time to prepare for the Paladins. We haven’t had as much as I would have liked. [Furman Head] Coach [Bob] Richey and their staff do an incredible job. We’ll have our work cut out for us but I hope it’s a really highly competitive game. I think it’ll help both teams. If you get a bout like that, especially early in your non-conference season, it can only help propel you down the road. We’re going to have to be really good defensively because they run some great stuff.”

Saint Louis Coach Travis Ford – “This has always been a prestigious tournament and it’s an honor to be a part of this Myrtle Beach Invitational field. If you look at the field, I think it speaks for itself. A lot of teams that have had a lot of success, especially here in the last several years. I think this is a good test for all of us to kind of see where our teams are at, at this point in the season. You’re going to learn a lot about your teams and where you are and what you need to get better at. This field is as good as I’ve seen, it’s as good a field that I’ve been a part of in a preseason tournament.” (On the matchup with Wyoming) “Extremely, extremely talented. They have a lot of high scoring players on their team that are proven basketball players. They’ve got a lot of proven guys on their team that can really, really score it. Obviously, they’re very well-coached and we know we got our hands full.”
Vermont Coach John Becker – “Really excited to be part of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. I’ve watched this tournament for a long time on TV, and our program is really excited to be part of it. We have a tough first round matchup against a really good College of Charleston team. It’s a great early season matchup, and we’re looking forward to the challenge of Charleston and the rest of the tournament, but really honored to be a part of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.”

Wichita State Coach Paul Mills – “There’s a rich history here. I remember Baylor playing Villanova for a championship [2019] and hearing nothing but great things. There’s a great history here about what occurs. I’m excited to be a part of it now and not just watch it on TV.” (On the matchup with Coastal Carolina) “Good team, obviously. We’re going against a coach in coach [Cliff] Ellis who’s the winningest coach in college basketball right now at the active level. The phenomenal team does phenomenal work. Having to play them on their home court is not how I would necessarily want a first round to go, but it is what it is, and we’re excited to play a really good team.”

Wyoming Coach Jeff Linder – “We’re excited to be here and for us to have the opportunity to come play in an ESPN event. It also is nice to be on the beach this time of year, although we’re leaving Laramie when it’s 60 degrees, which is not the norm. To be able to come here, see the sun, see the water, see the sand and then have the opportunity to really be challenged by some really good teams in the field. I think that’s kind of where we’re at right now. Early in the season we need to see where we’re at as a team and the only way you do that is by playing good teams, and that’s who we’re facing in the first game against Saint Louis. [Saint Louis Head] Coach [Travis] Ford has been around a long time, won a lot of games and is a really good coach. They’re kind of in the same position we’re in where they got a lot of new faces, not a lot of returning players but the ones they have are good players. You watch them on film and they’re playing really hard and they’re hard to guard and so it’ll be a good test for us game one.”