Senior Night is when teams, fans and players celebrate the culmination of a career for a senior student-athlete. For Florida A&M’s men’s basketball team, that lone senior was Markee Teal.
The Rattlers (8-19, 5-8 MEAC) delivered Teal a 75-72 victory against the South Carolina State Bulldogs (5-21, 1-12 MEAC) in double overtime.
Senior night brought Teal, a 6-foot-7 forward from Ocala, Fla., mixed emotions.
“It’s exciting for my teammates, family and coaching staff,” Teal said. “But it’s depressing at the same time to know that my time as a college basketball player is coming to an end.”
Despite his ability to play big inside, Teal wants to be remembered for his effort and willingness to give his all each game.
“I haven’t always been the best athlete, but I always give my best effort,” he said. “It’s hard to find someone out there who’s willing to work as hard as me.”
Teal is averaging 6.3 points per game and leads the team with five rebounds an outing. Head coach Clemon Johnson believes Teal has done a lot of maturing.
“Last season, I wanted Markee to play my way and expand his game more,” Johnson said. “This year, I allowed him to play his game, and he has played a lot better.”
Johnson described Teal as a leader and a tough player who gives his all.
“Most games he looks exhausted going up and down the court, but that’s because he always gives everything he has and leaves it all on the court,” Johnson said.
Despite being shorter than most post players at the college level, neither Teal nor Johnson use his height as an excuse. Even with his size disadvantage, Teal recorded a team season-high 14 rebounds in a November loss to the University of Arkansas.
Teal said the perfect ending to his senior season would be a MEAC Championship. He has dreams of playing basketball at the next level, as well becoming a probation officer for at-risk youth. Teal said his time as a basketball player was enjoyable and credited his teammates and coaches.
The Rattlers will play their next game Saturday against the Hampton Pirates in Hampton, Va., at 6 p.m.