Titans Take On Holmes In National Hoops Tourney Monday
By Mark DeCotis, Eastern Florida // March 16, 2015
NJCAA Division I Men’s National Championship
ABOVE VIDEO: Eastern Florida State College’s men’s basketball team plays its first game in the NJCAA Division I Men’s National Championship Tournament at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 16 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Eastern Florida State College’s men’s basketball team plays its first game in the NJCAA Division I Men’s National Championship Tournament at 3 p.m. on Monday in Hutchinson, Kansas.
The Titans, 29-4, three-time defending champions of the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference and runner-up in the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA Tournament face Holmes Community College of Goodman, Mississippi.
Eastern Florida is seeded 13th in the tournament. Holmes, 23-6, is seeded 20th out of 24 teams.
The winner plays No. 4 seed Indian Hills Community College of Iowa at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The loser goes home in the single-elimination rounds of the tournament.
Connors State of Oklahoma (31-1) is the tournament’s top seed. Northwest Florida State, which defeated Eastern Florida 76-69 in their tournament final, is the fourth seed.
Holmes qualified by winning the NJCAA Region 23 Championship. It beat Pearl River Community College, 92-87, in overtime.
“It’s a very exciting day for our guys and for Eastern Florida, and now that the brackets have been released, we are ready to get to work,” said Eastern Florida head coach Jeremy Shulman.
“We have a first-round matchup against an outstanding Holmes team, led by one of the nation’s best guards in Daryl Macon.
“We have a tough draw, facing Holmes, and then perennial power Indian Hills, but we have also played one of the nation’s toughest schedules, so our guys should be well prepared. I know they are excited about the opportunity in front of them.”
That Eastern Florida is in the tournament has special meaning for its players.
“Going to Hutch is a huge accomplishment. I’m really excited for the team and the opportunity to participate. We have been blessed to be in this position and have worked hard all year to get here.”
– Sophomore guard Payton Hulsey
“Hutch is something we have been talking about since before the season began. I am so proud of my team and coach for giving us the opportunity to compete for a national championship. I could not ask for anything more in this year. The fans, administration, and the rest of EFSC deserve the most credit for creating the winning atmosphere we were all brought into. Thanks to all and good luck to the team.”
– Sophomore center Kyle Meyer
“I am very excited about the national tournament. We have tons of talent and character on our team. As a team we have worked very hard all season, so all the things we have accomplished are not a surprise. I wouldn’t trade my team for any other team. I hope we do well.”
– Freshman guard Will Gibson
“Going to Hutch definitely is a special feeling and an honor. A lot of other teams have never been. We have a chance to make history and so something special. I’m sure the experience will be life-changing.”
– Sophomore guard Damion Smith
“My thoughts on Hutch: Unbelievable. “It still hasn’t sunk in that we are doing something this school year that hasn’t been done in years. The hard work all summer and all season is paying off. We fell short last year but we got over the hump this year and I’m just so excited for the opportunity.”
– Sophomore guard Jermohn Queen
“Going to Hutch has to be one of the biggest accomplishments in my basketball career. It makes me feel as though all the hard work we’ve put in as a team has paid off. All the sprints on the soccer field, running at Wickham Park, weight lifting and the individual workouts. We all went through it together as a team and now I can’t wait to go out and battle with my brothers on the big stage.”
– Sophomore guard Demetrius McReynolds
“Making it to Hutch means a lot especially being a freshman. Making it to Hutch means I’ve accomplished a goal. Experiencing Hutch this year will teach me how to become a leader next season and let me know what it takes to keep advancing in the postseason. Hutch this year means everything and I can’t wait to play.”
– Freshman guard Daishon Smith
“Hutch really means a lot. I am happy to have been a part of this year’s team. From day one I knew everyone would get along and bond. It really shows how we have a type of family on and off the court. It has been a great year and it has paid off.”
– Freshman forward Marcus Barham
“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to play in the national tournament in Kansas. Some people never have this opportunity. I am so happy.”
– Freshman forward Djordje Beronja
“I think going to Hutch is great. I have never played for a national championship. I am looking forward to playing and hopefully bring a national championship back to EFSC. I look forward to flying with the team and having a great time.”
– Sophomore center Devontay Clark
“This opportunity is really great. You know this is what we have worked for all of last season and this season. The opportunity to go to Hutch is great, but to go to Hutch with teammates who I call family makes it even more worth it. We’re all excited to go, but that’s not it. We want to win it all.”
– Sophomore forward Landus Anderson
“Going to Hutch will be a great experience for me. The fact that I can say I have been to Hutch will be an achievement in my life. Having expecting to reach it, I am not shocked to be going there, however I feel elated that we as a team have achieved one out of the many goals we have. As a freshman I believe this will help me gain more experience and wisdom on the court for next year. We have one more goal to achieve, and I believe we can achieve it. ‘Some people want it to happen, some wish it could happen, others make it happen.’ That’s what we will just have to do as a team.”
– Freshman center Zavier Peart
Eastern Florida’s last tournament appearance was in 2000.