Florida Tech Panthers’ Isaac Spence Named To 2016 Allstate NABC Good Works Team
By Florida Tech // February 10, 2016
Spence is first player from sunshine state conference to earn honor
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA- The secret had been kept by Florida Tech head coach Billy Mims for over a week, but on Tuesday he was finally able to reveal some pretty special news to redshirt senior Isaac Spence.
In the award’s four-year existence, the Panther co-captain had become the first player from the Sunshine State Conference to be named to the Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Good Works Team.
“I was ecstatic,” Mims said when word broke.
“We had a couple of games, and I’m looking at Ike and am about to explode because I want to tell him. Then every day in practice, you see him come in focused and just want to tell him. That was the hardest the part.”
The prestigious honor recognizes college basketball athletes that have dedicated themselves to bettering the lives of others through giving back to their communities. From founding mobile health clinics that serve the homeless to helping fund and organize basketball camps at an orphanage in Haiti, this year’s team made a positive, lasting impact.
The Allstate NABC Good Works Team is comprised of 10 student-athletes; five from NCAA Division I and five from NCAA Divisions II, III and the NAIA.
This year, sports information directors and coaches at colleges and universities around the country submitted a record number of nominations.
The initial 154 nominations were narrowed down to the final team rosters by voting panels led by former Duke University student-athlete, two-time NCAA champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill and 10-time WNBA All-Star and University of Tennessee student-athlete Tamika Catchings.
The voting panels are comprised of former coaches, esteemed college basketball athletes and media members.
An early morning phone call warranted by Mims almost went unanswered by Spence, afraid something was possibly wrong. Nonetheless, the Superior, Colorado native was all smiles by the time he hung up.
“I was honestly speechless,” Spence said of his initial reaction.
“It’s a huge honor. You initially go into community service for all the right reasons and to help in any way possibly, but the recognition is humbling at the same time.
“I’ve been involved with some great organizations and put in a lot of work, but I’m sure there were plenty of deserving candidates. To be one of five (outside of Division I) is unreal.”
Spence has taken full advantage of his time on campus at Florida Tech, volunteering at numerous local organizations and acting as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
In addition, he was the driving force behind the men’s basketball squad joining with Team IMPACT in signing Jesse Youmans, a local five-year-old who suffers from the Congenital Heart Defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot.
As a dual major in aerospace and mechanical engineering, he has accumulated a near-perfect 3.88 grade point average. The 6-foot-5 swingman is currently averaging 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game off the bench for the Panthers.
“I’ve been coaching for 34 seasons, and in all my time that was one of the most exciting moments for me,” Mims added. “This is a huge honor for Isaac Spence. I think it’s such a huge moment because of what the award stands for. Isaac Spence is the epitome of a coach’s player.
“On top of it all, he gets the big picture that there’s certain things in life way more important than basketball. I can’t think of a more deserving individual of such a huge honor. He’s one of those rare individuals who just gets it. He understands what life is really all about.”
While exceptional student-athletes are often only rewarded for their athletic successes, the Allstate NABC Good Works Team shines a light on these 10 young men for their off-the-court accomplishments.
In addition to countless hours spent as college athletes and full-time students, the members of this year’s team have spent their limited free time bettering communities all over the world.
Whether it’s regularly volunteering in their school’s town or traveling to other countries on mission trips, all 10 players boast long lists of inspiring stories that demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of others.
Originally born in Houston, Spence will have the opportunity to return with an all-expenses paid trip to the Lone Star State as all members of the Allstate NABC Good Works Team will be invited by Allstate to be recognized at the 2016 NABC Convention and 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and will participate in a community service project to benefit the host city.
“I joke with Ike that he better get some selfies with Grant Hill,” Mims said. “The entire weekend he will be honored and treated like an NCAA basketball rock star.”
The following student-athletes have been named to the 2016 Allstate NABC Good Works Team:
|NCAA Division I|
|Samer Dhillon||Jr.||Forward||University of Southern California||Sacramento, Calif.|
|Kyler Erickson||Sr.||Guard||University of Nebraska Omaha||Omaha, Neb.|
|Anthony Gill||Sr.||Forward||University of Virginia||High Point, N.C.|
|Jeff Laidig||Sr.||Guard/Forward||Belmont University||Mishawaka, Ind.|
|Shavon Shields||Sr.||Forward||University of Nebraska||Olathe, Kan.|
NCAA Divisions II, III and the NAIA
|LyDell Cardwell||Gr.||Guard||Azusa Pacific University||East Palo Alto, Calif.|
|Ben Gardner||Sr.||Guard||Hope College||Carmel, Ind.|
|Harry Johnson||Jr.||Guard||Bard College||Smyrna, Del.|
|Jordan Saddoris||So.||Forward||Central College||Ankeny, Iowa|
|Isaac Spence||Sr.||Guard/Forward||Florida Institute of Technology||Superior, Colo.|