Gulf Coast men's team ascends to number one in state rankings!
A strong start to the season for the Gulf Coast men's team, seems to be catching the eyes of many in the Juco hoops world. The Commodores collecting some rather nice recognition to start this week.
First year coach Phil Gaffney and his Commodores are coming off two wins Thursday and Friday over at the Arena on the Northwest Florida campus. The first of those two wins over Indian Hills, a team out of Iowa that was ranked third in the nation!
Those two victories taking Gulf Coast to 6 and oh on the season, with now two wins over nationally ranked teams, and it has Gulf Coast moving up to number ten in those national rankings, and for the first time in a long, long time, up to number one in the state poll! And those rankings matter, especially when it comes to recruiting!
"Absolutely!" coach Gaffney told me Monday before his team's practice. "Number one we're happy for Gulf Coast, as many teams that we can get at Gulf Coast nationally ranked, like the volleyball, like the women's basketball, that's outstanding. But absolutely, recruiting is the key. It's the lifeblood of any college program. And when you can say that you're the tenth team in the country when you're talking to a recruit on the phone, it makes things a lot easier."
As for the key ingredients to this start, well coach Gaffney put together a nice recruiting class at a rather late hour, relatively speaking, and that, he put together four returning sophomores, KK Godwin, Mo Gordon, Jacolbey Owens and Cam Holden, and it all seems to be coming together.
"Well Jay Powell deserves a lot of credit, he built a nice foundation here, so we're kind of building on it." coach Gaffney told me. "But we/ve been fortunate. We have four of his guys back, they've played great for us. And the recruiting class that we have, they're just really nice kids. They all work hard, they all fit our style of run and gun and up and down and playing full court basketball. We kind of recruit into our system and they've really executed it very well.>
And this undefeated start has not only turned heads around the state and beyond, it's worked on the psyche of the Gulf Coast players as well.
"Well there was a little resistance when I first got here," Gaffney says "we play a very up and down style, it requires a lot of effort. Some of the players were not as thrilled about that as maybe they have been otherwise. But I think because we've won a few games and beat some teams that were in the national poll, they're buying in a lot better. It's caused us to have the success we've had."
The Commodores are back at it Tuesday night, at home against Coastal Alabama-North at 7:30.