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Behind the scenes: Bryce Brown, Horace Spencer take in SEC Media Day
Oct. 24, 2017

By Greg Ostendorf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer hadn't watched SEC Media Day before. They didn't know what it was until they got to Auburn. But when they got off the plane in Nashville last Wednesday, you could see the excitement. They knew this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and they wanted to take in every moment.

"I can't wait to be get in front of that camera," Spencer joked with Brown in the waiting room at the Omni Hotel. "I'll be smiling ear to ear. You're going to see all my teeth."

Technically, the day started on the plane ride over where Brown, Spencer and Auburn coach Bruce Pearl crammed onto Auburn's private jet along with a handful of staff members.

"We had a nice, smooth flight," Spencer said. "I'm just glad to be here. It's my first time being here, and it's great being able to enjoy the experience with Bryce."

Once they landed, it was off to the Omni where the media awaited.

Pearl kicked off the festivities for Auburn by going live on the Paul Finebaum Show. He and Finebaum talked about the upcoming season, the quality of the basketball in the SEC and the feeling you get when you make the NCAA Tournament.

"We're making progress and we feel like we have a team this year that has a chance to be one of those teams that gets its name called at the end of the year," Pearl told Finebaum.

After making stops with CBS and ESPN, it was the players' turn to go on Finebaum's show. Neither knew they were going to be on TV until they arrived at the hotel and watched as two Texas A&M players sat down with Finebaum. Admittedly, the nerves kicked in a little. They didn't know what they might be asked by the controversial host. However, after a question or two, they both settled in and the nerves went away.

"To see him and be on his show, it was good," Brown said. "I really feel good about myself."

From there, it was off to a photo shoot where Brown and Spencer took turns handling a basketball, twirling it on their fingers, showing off their celebrations -- all just so the photographers could get the perfect shot.

Other stops included the main media room where they fielded questions from a bevy of print and TV journalists on hand, the ESPN Social room where among other things they were asked to sit down, facing each other, and ask corny jokes to each other. The goal was to not laugh, but both players struggled with that.

They also did a TV promo with ESPN analyst Sean Farnham where we discovered that Brown is a big fan of the rapper Future, and they finished the day doing more video for the SEC.

"It was a great environment," Spencer said after it was over. "Everybody was smiling and enjoying themselves, enjoying their job. Me and Bryce enjoyed ourselves, even though the corny joke part was really corny."

All jokes aside, both players understood the magnitude that came with representing their university on such a grand stage.

"It means a lot," Brown said. "We're representing Auburn. We're representing the name on the back of our jersey. We're representing our coach. It's a good feeling that they chose us to do it, and it was our job to put on for Auburn."

"I feel like we're not just representing Auburn," Spencer said. "We're representing our teammates who are at home watching us. We represent our families. We represent ourselves with just how we conduct ourselves and showing the people who we truly are and who Auburn really is."

For Pearl, it wasn't his first media day. He's been doing it for years at various schools, and as a former ESPN analyst himself, he's a natural in front of the camera. His charismatic personality is perfect for that type of environment. But Wednesday was more about his players and their opportunity to relish in the moment.

"It was good," Pearl said once the plane finally landed back in Auburn. "It's a good way to tip off the season. It's great to get Horace and Bryce a little exposure. They've been through three seasons. They know where we've been, and they know where we're going."

The next day? It was back to practice for Brown and Spencer.

Greg Ostendorf is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter:



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