Sports

May 2019

This taped interview of women’s basketball coach Christie McGee Ross provides insight to those looking to progress with sports and education. Video interview by Persephone Hudzinski. May 1, 2019

Speller balls for men’s team

Headshot of Brandon Speller
Brandon Speller

By Pete Zehler

May 1, 2019

Brandon Speller’s basketball career started all the way back in Brooklyn, New York. At a young age Speller knew that all he wanted to do with his life is ball.

            For Speller though, that journey could be easier said than done. In high school, Speller had very few options to choose where he wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level. “I just feel grateful GCC and Coach Terry George gave me such a great opportunity to play on a team like this,” he said.

GCC historically has a great men’s basketball program, so finding minutes to play for a new guy like Speller isn’t the easiest thing. Fortunately for Speller, back in Brooklyn, nothing was given; everything was earned. “Playing in Brooklyn, a lot of the guys you’re facing will be playing at the college level, so there’s not many guys who start in the city that can’t ball,” Speller said.

Brooklyn has a history of producing great basketball players. NBA stars such as Michael Jordan, Chris Mullen, and Stephon Marbury all got their starts by playing at a young age in the famous city. The problem with so many great basketball players playing in one school zone is that sometimes good ball players never get the spotlight. That’s where a majority of players in the NJCAA find themselves, the players from the Big Apple who went unnoticed.

If one were to look through the rosters of local NJCAA teams such as GCC, NCCC, MCC, and ECC, they would notice that up to 70% of the players call one of the New York City boroughs their home. GCC Men’s Basketball Head Coach George said, “New York City has been a very important part of our recruiting process.”

For Speller, the adversity didn’t stop once he found his way to Batavia. “At first, when I didn’t get minutes, it was hard, but I continued to work hard and learn from my great teammates,” he said. “Playing with great players like Jarett [Haines] and Jamir [Cheek] have really helped me keep my head up and improve my game.”

As the season wore on, and George continued to change minutes and use players in different ways, Speller finally found his opportunity. His second appearance for GCC came against ASA Academy, ironically played in Brooklyn. “Making my first college 3-pointer back home was such an awesome experience,” Speller said. “After working hard through the first few months and to finally earn those minutes, it was something I won’t forget.”

All season long George has been searching for someone who can come off the bench and score some points while the starters rest. Ever since Speller got his chance, that’s exactly what he’s done. Ever since that game in Brooklyn, Speller has averaged 8.3 points per game along with 5.7 rebounds. George said, “Speller bringing his scoring abilities off the bench has been game changing for us”.

George now knows he has a man on the bench he can trust with the ball. Speller said, “Just to make a positive impact on my team is all I wanted to do; I’m just happy I can contribute.”

Genesee’s Albuquerque Commits to Mid-America Christian University

Rodrigo Alburquerque commits to Mid-America Christian University in the fall to continue with his soccer career and education.

May 1, 2019

Genesee men’s soccer player Rodrigo Albuquerque is continuing his soccer and academic career as he will be attending Mid-America Christian University in the fall.

Albuquerque will be heading to an NAIA Evangels program that finished the 2018 season with a record of 13-6-1, and went on to the NAIA Championship Round of 16.

Rodrigo was the NJCAA Region III Player of the Year, an NJCAA Region III All-Region First Team selection and was named an NJCAA Soccer First Team All-American. The 5’8 forward from Recife, Brazil played in 21 games in his first and only season wearing the blue and gold that saw Albuquerque start in 16 of those matches. He recorded eight game-winning goals with 32 goals in total, and handing out 12 assists.

The 2018 Cougars reached the NJCAA Division III Men’s Soccer National Semifinals, losing to eventual national champion Richland College.

Genesee’s Shields Commits to Keiser University

Joshua Shields Commits to Keiser University

May 1, 2019

Genesee men’s lacrosse player Joshua Shields is furthering his collegiate career as he has signed his Letter of Intent at Keiser University (FL). Shields will be heading to a NAIA Seahawks program that are ranked #8 in the country, finished the 2019 regular season with a record of 6-6, and members of The Sun Conference.

The Greece, NY native scored 10 goals and two assists in his 12 games last season, which saw the Cougars lose in the NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Semifinals. The 2019 Cougars are once again nationally-ranked in hopes to reach the NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championships, hosted at Genesee Community College May 17-19.