NEW ORLEANS — For BYU's Charles Abouo, his first trip to New Orleans was all he could ask for, so far.
Of course, this visit to "The Big Easy" won't be complete without a Sweet 16 victory Thursday against Florida.
Tuesday night, Abouo and his teammates took a little stroll down world-famous Bourbon Street to take in the atmosphere.
"It was cool. We had a good time," Abouo told the Deseret News after a 50-minute shootaround at the New Orleans Arena. "We went to a seafood restaurant and we got some beignets on the way back. It was a good experience. We got a taste of New Orleans. It was exactly what I had hoped for."
"I've always thought New Orleans would be like Florida, with the humidity and you hear about the partying down here," said guard Jackson Emery. "We walked down Bourbon Street and got a feel for New Orleans. It's something different. It's like a mini-Vegas, not as big, more humid. We got some seafood. You always hear about the seafood and we had to try it out."
"I believe that our guys have been able to travel all over the country and win games this year. It's been terrific," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "We've been to Omaha. We've been to South Padre Island. We've been to Glens Falls. We've been to Buffalo. This group of guys has been resilient in their ability to travel. One told me th other day that outside of our building this year that we are 19-3. I don't know, you go to the teams that are left in the Sweet 16, how many teams have won 19 games outside their building? It's a real compliment to our players."
For senior forward Logan Magnusson, this is his first time in New Orleans, too.
"It's not what you expect it to be," he said. "It was interesting, to say the least. It was smaller than I thought. You picture it as a smaller Vegas. It's a back road with lots of lights. A lot of little shops and cafes. A lot of people wondering around taking pictures."
Abouo said a side benefit of advancing in the NCAA Tournament is the chance to do some sight-seeing.
"That's one of the best parts of traveling when you play basketball, to see different places and different settings," he said. "It relaxes you a little bit. It's good to get out."
The Cougars have played in a wide variety of locales this season, from South Padre Island to New York to San Diego, and a lot of places in between.
What's been Abouo's favorite trip this year?
"I like the warm places," he said, smiling. "Not Buffalo, Glens Falls or Wyoming."