PHELPS: "It was the best"

CLEMSON - Digger Phelps spoke highly of the atmosphere at Littlejohn Coliseum for Saturday morning's ESPN GameDay.

Known for playing to the home crowd, he continued to offer kind word for the followed the hour-long show that included the director requesting the crowd to keep the noise down when cameras were rolling.

"It was the best," Phelps said.

The colorful host of the Saturday morning basketball show has been waiting six years for the show to make its way to Clemson. Orange highlighter in tow, he received thunderous applause for every move and gesture towards the crowd.

His choreographed pre-show dance with a member of the Rally Cats has been in the works since August.

Digger's Dance started at Kansas two years ago and had 22,000 hits on YouTube that following Monday. By the time the Final Four rolled around, it jumped to 110,000. At California-Berkeley a year ago, Phelps danced court-side after the end of the halftime show. That time, he danced with a pair of cheerleaders.

"That jumps up to 60,000 hits. The Kansas one gets another 20 (thousand). I think they're at 170,000 on Kansas from two years ago," he said.

GameDay, which has become synonymous with fans displaying creative signs, one from the final show last season at West Virginia read, ‘There's no dancing in Morgantown.' And of course, he danced. This time, all of the cheerleaders surrounded him.

When it was announced that Clemson would be the host site of this season's second episode, Phelps contacted Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret.

"I called him up in early December, I said, ‘It's ‘Walk Away' by Kelly Clarkson.'," Phelps said.

"Hopefully, because it's early in the season, by the time March Madness comes around, we'll be up to 200,000 hits."

If the enthusiasm from the crowd, which filled up almost half of Littlejohn, is an indicator of how many views the video will get, 200,000 appears realistic.

Coach Oliver Purnell had trouble hearing the co-hosts during his interview segment.

"Nothing surprises me about this crowd here. Our people involved, Mike Money, he does a great job with promoting our games and our events around the games," he said.

With most of the day before tipoff at 9 p.m., Purnell didn't doubt that the energy would carryover to tipoff.

"There's no question about it. They've got practice," he said.

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