It’s funny how before my test in Introduction to Mass Media Thursday, I asked my professor to curve it by the amount of points our men’s basketball team was going to get beaten by on Friday.
What wasn’t funny – at least in the minds of Kentucky fans – was the way in which our basketball team scared the “begeezers” out of the top-seeded Wildcats for the first 30 minutes of their 96-76 loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought Friday night’s game against Kentucky would be interesting beyond the first television time out. However, to my delight, I found my two friends and I unable to move from my television as Terrence Woods and Demarcus Wilkins had the Rattlers up 11-10, with less than 16 minutes to go in the first half.
The way our team hung with the Southeastern conference champion Wildcats was shocking to a lot of viewers around the country, at least to viewers who had never seen the duo of Terrence Woods and Demarcus Wilkins shoot the lights out of buildings.
Head coach Mike Gillespie Sr. is a miracle worker, in turning around a men’s basketball program that was nothing short of terrible before his arrival in 2001. The passion and enthusiasm Gillespie expressed on the sideline Friday was one of the many catalysts for the Rattlers flirt with the impossible.
As great, a night as Friday was in the history of FAMU basketball, it sadly marked the end to the stellar careers of Terrence Woods and Demarcus Wilkins.
Woods scored 24 in his final game as a Rattler, while Wilkins posted 16 in a valiant effort to become the first number 16 seed to defeat a number one seed in the history of the NCAA tournament.
Even though they lost, our men’s basketball team has no reason to hang their heads. Their season was a success in so many ways. They were dubbed the preseason MEAC champions, but lost 10 of their first 11 games.
Instead of wilting under the pressure, they went on to fulfill expectations. “Coach G’s” team won 14 of their last 21 games including the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title.
They capped off the most successful season in school history by winning a game in the NCAA tournament, a feat to which 31 other teams in the tournament cannot attest.
The way our basketball team represented not only themselves, but also FAMU was also exhilarating.
Never have I been more proud to be a Rattler.
Will Brown is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Rockledge. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.