After securing the second highest number of fans in the nation, a group of University of Lynchburg alumni will make their first appearance in a nationwide basketball tournament with a $1 million prize this weekend.
Joseph Sancio ’10, one of the founders of LC’s club basketball team, organized the effort to get Hornets in The Tournament. Getting a spot on the court required recruiting fans, and Sancio’s team garnered nearly 1,050. Only one team in the country had more fan votes.
Much of that success is due to the support of LC alumni, students, faculty, and staff. “It’s been great to see the school really rally around a group of alumni,” said Joe. “We love Lynchburg, and this community loves everyone who goes through those doors.”
Winning will be a challenge; some teams in The Tournament have former NBA players in their ranks. Meanwhile, the logistical challenges of having players in 11 different states have prevented the teammates from getting together to practice. They each have been practicing on their own, though, and Joseph is keeping a positive attitude.
“Hard work and determination are going to be what wins these games,” he said. “The tougher, more persistent team will win. Hopefully, that will be enough.”
The team’s first opponent will be determined by the outcome of a first-round contest between the teams City of Gods and Pup N’ Suds on Friday. (Thanks to being one of the most popular teams in The Tournament, the LC Alumni earned a bye for the first round.) After learning the outcome of that game, Joseph and his teammates will start to formulate a strategy. But he already has a good idea of what that strategy will entail, based on the way the team played together in college.
“We’ll just stick to what we’re good at: keeping things simple and playing as a team.”