Jersey City planning parade for Cinderella Saint Peter's NCAA Tournament run

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Monday, March 28, 2022
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Lucy Yang has more from Jersey City, where students and fans gathered to watch the game.

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Jersey City is planning a parade to honor the Saint Peter's men's basketball team after the Cinderella darling Peacocks became the first No. 15 seed to reach the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight.

Mayor Steven Fulop said the parade is likely to be Friday afternoon.

"We are going to incorporate the Saint Peter's campus, of course, and we will present keys to the city to the team," he said. "We are proud, we are thankful, and we are going to recognize them because they are special to us."

The team's March Madness run came to a close Sunday with a disappointing 69-49 loss to No. 8 seed North Carolina in the East Region final.

Fulop said the tentative parade route is Lincoln Park up to the campus, followed by a rally on the campus.

"I think the story of Jersey City is sometimes a story of a city that doesn't get the credit they deserve," he said. "These kids played like that, as kids that don't get the credit they deserve. It's the story of the city, and so when the national media is portraying it that way, it's just consistent with what our history has been...We persevere and fight through that stuff."

Fulop also said he expects coach Shaheen Holloway to leave, particularly after the head coach position opened up at Holloways' alma mater, Seton Hall.

"I don't think it's a secret that he's leaving," Fulop said. "We are happy for him. The guy should get paid. He deserves it. If Saint Peter's can't pay him what Seton Hall can, he should go to Seton Hall. We are thankful for what he did to Saint Peter's and Jersey City. We wish him the best of luck."

On Sunday, Holloway pulled his starters off the court as the seconds ticked down and would not let them wallow in defeat. The Peacocks locked arms for one final team huddle - Doug Edert, KC Ndefo, Daryl Banks III and the rest of the bracket-busters who put the tiny commuter college on the map.

Holloway's speech was simple: Stay proud of how a team few outside campus had heard of until two weeks ago had shocked the basketball world.

"We've got guys that are going to be remembered for things that they could tell their kids and grandkids," Holloway said.

Saint Peter's fans - large in numbers and loud again in Philly - rallied behind America's new favorite team even as the score steamrolled out of control.

Saint Peter's missed 16 of its first 20 shots and never led. By halftime, Saint Peter's needed a Hail Mary. North Carolina 38, Saint Peter's 19.

What Holloway and the Peacocks (21-12) accomplished in two weekends might be the lasting memory of this tournament, no matter which blueblood cuts down the net next week in New Orleans.

"What we did, we generated a lot of publicity to our school," Banks said. "It's just going to help the school out in general. Caught the attention of everybody who wants to come here. I think just what we did will have an impact on everybody who knows about the school now, just going forward."

Saint Peter's knocked off No. 2 seed Kentucky to start a run and followed it up with wins over No. 7 Murray State and No. 3 Purdue.

"Saint Peter's did it. Period," Holloway said. "Saint Peter's made it to the Elite Eight. Great story."

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