Talor Battle was sitting in his RPTM 300Y class last Friday when the professor assigned a group project on Ground Zero in New York.
Once he heard the topic, Battle knew how he'd contribute.
"I'm gonna take some pictures," said Battle, who will visit Ground Zero with his teammates before taking the floor Tuesday night in the National Invitation Tournament semifinal. "It ended up working out great."
The visit to the memorial site is one of the attractions Penn State coach Ed DeChellis is showing his team during its stay in the Big Apple.
"Most of our kids have not been there," DeChellis said. "We're gonna do a couple things, fun, somewhat educational as well. That's important for them to experience the whole thing."
Of course, the perks of the nation's largest city is the backdrop to the business part of the trip -- a game against Notre Dame for the right to play for the NIT championship Thursday.
DeChellis reminded the group of reporters Friday the goal wasn't just to get to Madison Square
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Garden for the semifinals but to win the championship of a national tournament.
The Nittany Lion men's basketball team has never won the NIT. The closest its come to being crowned champion was 1998 when it lost 79-72 to Minnesota in the final.
Battle never played in the Garden and expects anywhere from 50 to 75 people to watch him play his first college basketball game in his home state.
For others, simply arriving in New York will be a shock.
Sophomore forward Jeff Brooks has never been to the city and said it's on a whole other level than the biggest city he's been to, Los Angeles.
"I just wanna see the traffic," Brooks said. "I heard a lot about the traffic up here with so many New York people coming to Penn State.
"I don't wanna see the McDonalds 'cause I heard it's the most expensive McDonalds in the United States."
The stage for the championship -- the Garden -- is what senior forward Jamelle Cornley is most anxious to see.
"Stepping foot on the court is gonna be fun and it's gonna be a memorable moment for me because I don't know when the next time I'll ever play in there, if ever," Cornley said. "Watching the history that had been made on the court and in that arena is something that I wanna be able to experience, and hopefully we can create our own history."