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Taking on top seed: Voorhees heads for NAIA Championship in South Dakota (1500 hits)

The men’s basketball team at Voorhees College has qualified to play in the 2018 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II Men's Basketball National Championship tournament.

Voorhees finished second in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference tournament and second during the regular season.

Along with staff and other students, the team viewed the reveal of the tournament brackets at a “Bracket Reveal” party in the gymnasium. The tournament is March 7-13 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Voorhees (18-10) will take on the No. 1 seed, Indiana University East (31-2) at 1 p.m. EST on March 7.

With only one senior on the roster, Coach Derrick Mitchell is excited about his players having the opportunity to play in the tournament.

“We don’t fear anyone. We respect them. But I teach my players to have the mindset that we are going to win," Mitchell said.

The coach said he knew his players were talented but didn’t know if they would gel like they needed to.

“They have persevered all year. They fought through the adversity in the middle of the year when we lost seven out of eight games. But they came back to win seven out of eight games."

Senior shooting guard Demitres Evans is a junior college transfer. Evans said although the team had a good season, he thought they had the talent to have a better season.

“It turned out well though because we have a lot of young guys on this team."

Junior Ashton Pierce said, “I am excited. We have a good chance to do something that this school has never done."

Pierce said he and his teammates “play on pride."

"Coach put it in our heads that we were going to win it all. But I still didn’t think we would go this far," Pierce said.

Cedric McGinnis, also a junior, said he is looking forward to playing in the tournament and visiting South Dakota. “Off the court, I am looking forward to the opportunity to experience another area.”

Charlene Johnson, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs organized the “Reveal Party."

"We want the players to have a good experience. This is a great time for men’s basketball and the athletic department at Voorhees College," she said.

Also on hand was Voorhees President Dr. W. Franklin Evans.

“I am so excited for our men’s basketball team. I am excited about what’s happening on the court and in the classrooms," he told the players.

Mitchell has served as head men’s basketball coach for four years at Voorhees. The team and coaches will arrive in Sioux Falls on March 5 for practice and pretournament activities.

Additional tournament information is available at NAIA.org.

Photo: Voorhees College head basketball coach Derrick Mitchell, far right, introduces his team during the "Bracket Reveal” party for the team.

Posted By: Elynor Moss
Friday, March 2nd 2018 at 10:10AM
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