It’s a good time to be a fan of the North Florida Ospreys. The team clinched it’s first NCAA Tournament bid by winning the A-Sun Conference Tourney. It has been a long time coming for the school, whom have only been a full-fledged Division I program for six years.
Founded in 1992, the North Florida men’s Basketball team quickly ascended from the NAIA to the NCAA Division II ranks within a year, and they remained there until the 2005 season. The Ospreys took the next step and moved into the upper echelon of collegiate sports when they opted to join Division I.
Once the team was given the green light to compete in the A-Sun conference things kicked into high gear. However, as with most new Division I schools, North Florida failed to make an immediate impact, as the team’s four year transition period from the 2005-09 seasons saw them go 20-96.
When the restrictions of being a transitional team gone the 2009 season saw newly minted athletic director, Lee Moon, fire head coach, Matt Killkullen. Taking his place was former Baylor University assistant coach Matt Driscoll, who has taken North Florida from conference cellar dwellers to champions.
It has taken the Ospreys six years to make it to the big dance, and despite being the new kid on the college scene, it would be unwise to sell the 2014-15 Ospreys short, as coach Driscoll has assembled quite the collection of talent.
One of Driscoll’s prized players is sophomore Dallas Moore. The 6’1 guard averages 15.9 points on the season, which included a 36-point performance in the A-Sun Tournament semi-finals.
The Ospreys A-Sun Championship game against South Carolina Upstate was truly a team effort. Junior Demarcus Daniels was named the tournament MVP, and far exceeded his 8.9 points per game average with a 22 point performance in the clinching game.
Daniels is a key piece of the team rotation, bit admitted he feels more at ease coming off the bench than as a starter.
“He wants me to start. I just choose not to. I really can’t explain it. I’m just more comfortable coming off the bench.”
With an unselfish group of players at his disposal, Matt Driscoll finally found the right core of talent to make the NCAA Tournament. It might have taken him six years but he has indeed reached the promised land. Driscoll summed up the Ospreys run best with a post-game comment.
“If you see it, you can be it. If you view it, you can do it. If you believe it, you can achieve it.”