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Derrick Wells will receive his business and marketing degree from the University of Minnesota on Thursday.
By then, he’s hoping to sign a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A former Lehigh Senior star, Wells worked out for the Bucs at safety and took part in defensive and special teams meetings on Friday and Saturday.
“When I was in the locker room, they told me to take a quick shower and get my stuff and they were going to take me upstairs,” Wells said. “The GM (Jason Licht) came in and congratulated us. I’m supposed to sign this week.”
Best week? “With my graduation, I think it is,” he said. “And Tampa Bay is the team I grew up liking. They were my favorite team. My mom said, ‘Isn’t that the team when they’d lose, you used to cry?’”
Because of his upcoming graduation, Wells said he couldn’t practice with the veterans this week. He’ll return to Bucs’ headquarters on Sunday after taking part in graduation ceremonies.
Sixteen NCAA Division I basketball programs will descend upon Southwest Florida this Thanksgiving as the third-annual Gulf Coast Showcase is staged at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla. The men’s eight-team tournament, designed to showcase the top mid-major programs from across the country, will be held Nov. 23-25; it will be immediately followed by an eight-team, high-major women’s tournament from Nov. 27-29. bd Global, LLC, a Lexington, Ky.-based sports marketing firm, is managing the weeklong event.
Murray State, which won 25 straight games this past season, headlines the men’s field. The Racers were ranked as high as No. 24 in the nation and finished with a 29-6 record and only the fifth undefeated conference mark in OVC history but were upended in the league championship game and missed the NCAA Tournament in what was a very unpopular decision by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Committee.
In the Gulf Coast Showcase, Murray State will be challenged by Central Michigan (23-9 last year and won the MAC West Division) and Western Kentucky (20-12 and a fourth-place finish in Conference USA).
4/10/2015 Home opener was against the Charlotte Stone Crabs Miracle win 3-0
By Dick Allen
The much anticipated rematch between the # 7 seeded FGCU Eagles and the 10th seeded Oklahoma State Cowgirls is finally ready to tip off. Ever since last Monday’s announcement of the matchups, expectations have been building. Not only with the team members and the coaching staff but with the fans who traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana last year and had their hearts broken by the same Oklahoma State girls.
Hope springs eternal, and there was not a single fan who doesn’t believe that the FGCU women were the better team that day and should have won the game in regulation. The Eagles lost in overtime and Oklahoma State took on playing Purdue University on their home floor with a trip to the sweet 16 at stake. What hurts even more, was that the Cowgirls beat Purdue and we’re making that trip to the sweet 16 to face Notre Dame. “It should have been us”, said season ticket holder from day one Bill Kuzbyt who has traveled to every Atlantic Sun and NCAA tournament game FGCU has ever played.
On the strength of 26 points from Kaneisha Atwater and a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds from Whitney Knight, the No. 7 FGCU women’s basketball team used a 12-0 run late in the second half to pull away from No. 10 Oklahoma State and earn its first Division-I NCAA Tournament win in program history with a 75-67 victory over the Cowgirls in the First Round Saturday afternoon. With the win at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, the Eagles move on to the Second Round with a record of 31-2, while OSU ends the season at 20-12.
The win avenged a 61-60 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in last year’s NCAA Tournament and extended the Eagles’ winning streak to 26 in a row. The Green and Blue advance to play No. 2 Florida State, who defeated No. 15 Alabama State Saturday afternoon. The Sunshine State matchup is slated for 6 p.m. Monday on ESPNU, with the winner earning a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
“This is a very exciting time for us,” said 13th-year head coach Karl Smesko. “We get our first Division I NCAA Tournament win. We beat a very good team and I’m definitely proud of the way we started the game. Oklahoma State posed a lot of challenges for us, but we had a lot of players step up. Kaneisha and Whitney had huge scoring games, but the whole team had to step up at different points and make plays and it was such a great team effort. I’m proud of our team and look forward to the opportunity to keep playing.”
By Dick Allen Special Correspondent
Yesterday at the team practice and shoot around at the Donald L . Tucker Center in Tallahassee, the mood was both loose and focused at the same time. As Coach Smesko barked out formations and plays, the girls responded and executed. Although one might have thought coach was trying out to be an A-Sun referee with the many whistles he blew stopping play again, again, and again, he ran those same formations and plays for the better part of 90 minutes. In the shoot around the girls counted off successful three point baskets each were making – 7, 8, 9, 10, in a row nearly every single girl.
The coaching staff had done there work. The girls were ready to be turned lose.
Tip off is in 30 minutes and the FGCU women are back on the floor, not quite is loose as yesterday in practice, but that can be expected. The anticipation was huge. Perhaps now the girls were beginning to feel the weight of the last 2 appearances in the NCAA tournament. Both losses, both in overtime. So much is expected this time.
The students who left campus at 4 am have arrived, the stands in back of the FGCU bench were beginning turn all blue. The band with blasting the FGCU fight song and the “Voice” could be heard in the stands leading the crowd in … Go Eagles!
The stage is set.
Story number one by Dick Allen special correspondent
Deja Vu … All Over Again
In a rematch almost to the exact day – a year later, the number 7 seeded FGCU Lady Eagles will face off against the number 10 seeded Cowgirls of Oklahoma State University. The only difference is that we are not at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana but rather on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.
The rematch has a bit of irony attached to it as last year FGCU was seeded 12 while Oklahoma State was seeded 5. The Eagles took the Cowgirls into overtime before dropping a one point Heartbreaker while the Cowgirls went on to play in the sweet 16.
Tomorrow’s game finds the roles reversed with the Eagles being the higher seed and the favorite to win.
But you can’t convince the Eagle players that they are the favorites. At the pre game press conference senior captain Jenna Cobb said quite plainly “they beat us last year. We are clearly the underdogs.” The sentiment was echoed by A-Sun player of the year junior Whitney Knight, “We are going to play like the underdogs!”, she said. A-Sun coach of the year Karl Smesko praised the Oklahoma State team “They are a very, very good team”, he said several times during the press conference. When asked how he had prepared his team for the big size advantage that Oklahoma State will have, he brought smiles to the press corps and to his two players sitting next to him on the dias when he replied, “I asked the scout team to look bigger.”
Confident and focused are both Cobb and Knight. They are resolved to win the team’s first NCAA Tournament game. That’s what they came to do. We suspect the rest of the Eagles are on the same mission.