Tuesday, February 24, 2015


FGCU Eagles Continue to Soar

On Wednesday night, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles men’s basketball team closes out its regular season with a game against Northern Florida Ospreys. The Eagles have been on a roll recently, with ten straight victories. But the last time these two teams faced each other, the Ospreys beat FGCU in Jacksonville 80-64. That was in early January, and there has been a lot of water under the bridge since that game.

At a recent game, White Sox starter was recognized by retiring his jersey at centre court. He is a great guy, from all reports.

With a win, the Eagles will become the Atlantic Sun Conference champions for the second consecutive year; however, if the Ospreys win this game, and their final game on Saturday, they will take the crown. The winner gets to host the playoff games leading to the National Basketball Championships. Home court is a bonus in this game.

All of the seniors on the team will be recognized for their efforts on Wednesday night. They start as freshmen, become sophomores, then juniors and seniors. The high profile players never get to graduate, let alone become seniors in the American basketball world. Teams in the National Basketball association pluck the college stars from their schools with the draft. A case in point is Andrew Wiggins, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Andrew went to school barely long enough to get his sneakers dirty, from the small Ontario berg called Toronto. An early signee for FGCU next season is Eli Long. Eli now attends John Carroll High School, a well respected American High School; however, he hails from Mississauga.

American basketball legend Dick Vitale is also scheduled to attend the game Wednesday night. Vitale spends a good deal of time in this area during the winter. He is quite familiar with the Eagles, and is a big supporter of Coach Joe Dooley. Vitale, now 75 years old, finished his singles tennis game and spoke with Fort Myers News-Press after his game. “”I’ve known Joe for a long time. I think he does a great job.” Vitale will be signing his latest book, “Tt’s awesome, Baby,” in support of pediatric cancer research.

The Eagles got a significant scare last week in their game against the Kennesaw State Owls from Georgia. At one point in the first half, they were down by 12 points. They rallied somewhat, but still trailed by eight points at half time. The Eagles once again relied on Brett Comer as a sparkplug to ignite the offence. With a couple of incredible drives to the basket, aggressive defense, and timely foul shooting, the Eagles watched the clock tick down with a one point win, 54-53. As I am wont to say in these situations, “Never in doubt”.

I saw a chap wearing a University of Western Ontario sweatshirt in the stands. His name is Larry Haylor, and he coached football there for many years. I told him that I had spent a year there in 1964. “Before my time,” he stated, without suggesting that I am ancient. He coached Andy Rossitt during his university days, an outstanding quarterback from Quinte Secondary School in Belleville. He also remembered Mike Schad from his college days at Queen’s.

Can’t wait for the tipoff against the Ospreys. Understandably, one of these teams will claw its way to victory. That’s just silly. I apologize!

February 24, 2015  

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