Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rebels Prevail in OT Thriller

The Tampa Bay Rebels started the 2013 season with a thrilling overtime victory against the Heartland Prowl, winning 123 – 122. Both teams offered fans the best basketball outside the NBA in this rematch of the 2012 FBA championship game.

Stan Bufford, guard for the Rebels, was hot in the first quarter with 12 points, all from behind the three-point mark. The Rebels pull away by 16 points in the first quarter, but Prowl’s sharpshooter Bryce Kachinski scored 14 points in the half helping the Prowl get back into the game as they trailed 60-50 at the half.

The Prowl made a second-half run with strong play from guard Junior Geidi, who finished with 26 points. As the horn sounded to end regulation, the teams were knotted at 107 points. Prowl power forward Derrell Hendrson finished the night with 12 points and made a crucial play in overtime to keep his team within striking distance. The Rebels, however, would not be denied in the extra period, and squeaked out the 1-point win.

Cornell Young, Head Coach of the Prowl, commented after the game, “It was a very competitive game. Both teams showed the same determination to win. It’s a tough loss, but we will be ready for the next game.”

Rebels’ center Charles Okwandu was a force throughout the game scoring a double – double with 22 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 75% from the free-throw line. As a team, the Rebels had a spectacular game from the free-throw line, shooting 87 percent. Chris Stephenson knocked down all 5 of his attempts, while forward Jamison Clark was a perfect 9 for 9 from the charity stripe.

After the game, Coach Rojas said, “I am glad about the win. We played hard and won against one of the best clubs in the FBA. We had good moments of basketball, but we still need to work on the defensive end.”

The Tampa Bay Rebels will return to action on Sunday, May 5th at Freedom High School in New Tampa as they face the Florida Flight. The game will start at 2pm. Tickets are free for children under 13 and are only $10 for those who are 13 and older, and may be purchased at the R●Sole store in University Square Mall or at the gate on the day of the game. Please visit for additional information.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rebels Sign Florida Southern College Product

The Tampa Bay Rebels have announced the signing of Brant Leitnaker from nearby Florida Southern College. The 6’10” forward/center is expected to help bolster the front line of the Rebels. Prior to his time at Florida Southern, Leitnaker played at Indiana State University, where he also completed his undergraduate degree. 

Since 2007, the Rebels have provided an opportunity for local college players to begin their professional careers. During that time, the team has worked with players from schools across the Tampa Bay region including the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, Eckerd College, and Florida Southern. “With so many programs of all sizes in our area, local colleges and universities provide a great pool of players for our team. In return, we are able to give players from schools throughout the Tampa Bay area their first taste of basketball at a professional level,” said Andrew Phillips, the Director of Scouting for the Rebels. 

The Rebels will host their season-opener on Saturday, April 27th at 7pm as they face the Heartland Prowl in a rematch of the 2012 Florida Basketball Association championship game. All home games will be played at Freedom High School in New Tampa. Children under 13 receive free admission while those over 13 can purchase tickets for $10 at the R●Sole store located inside the University Square Mall or at the gymnasium on the night of the game.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tryouts Net NCAA Champion from UConn and UNC-Asheville Product

The Tampa Bay Rebels held tryouts on March 23rd at Freedom High School in New Tampa in preparation for the 2013 Florida Basketball Association season. Players from the Tampa Bay area and other cities across the state of Florida were put through various drills during the 2-hour workout under the instruction of the Rebels’ staff. Following the workouts, the Rebels reached agreements with two players and extended training camp invitations to a handful of other prospects.

The Rebels were able to reach an agreement with Charles Okwandu, a seven-foot center from the University of Connecticut , who will provide the Rebels with a battle-tested big man to anchor the post. Okwandu, who was born in Nigeria, played for legendary coach Jim Calhoun at UConn, and was a key role player for the 2011 National Champion Huskies, scoring 2 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and blocking a shot in the NCAA Championship game. While at UConn, Okwandu played with Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats and Jeremy Lamb of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Following his time at Connecticut, Okwandu moved on the play for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA’s Developmental League. When asked why the Rebels are a good fit for him, Charles replied, “I want to improve my game. I work hard and am always ready to learn from the coaches and my teammates.”

Chris Stephenson, a 6’3” guard from UNC-Asheville of the Big South Conference, also reached an agreement to play for the Rebels during the 2013 season. A versatile wing player, Stephenson was a key part of the Bulldogs as they reached back to back NCAA Tournaments in 2011 and 2012. A native of Punta Gorda, Florida, Stephenson played in Europe for BC Siaulai in Lithuania in his first pro season. “The Tampa Bay Rebels are a wonderful program,” Stephenson stated. “The Rebels are relatively close to me, so it feels good to play in my home state again. They play in the off-season of the European leagues so it is a great way to stay in shape plus be around athletes that have the same thought process, which is to get better collectively.”

The Rebels will play their season-opener at home on April 27th at 7pm as they face-off against the Heartland Prowl in a rematch of the 2012 championship game. All games will be played at Freedom High School in New Tampa. Children 13 and under receive free admission to the game, while those over 13 can purchase tickets for $10. Tickets can be purchased at R●Sole, located in University Square Mall, during store hours, or you can purchase them at the Freedom High School gymnasium on the night of the game. Please visit for the complete schedule and the latest news on the Tampa Bay Rebels.

Monday, April 1, 2013

R•Sole Becomes Official Ticket Distributor

The Tampa Bay Rebels have reached an agreement with R•Sole, the premier supplier of urban clothing for men in the Tampa Bay area, to become an official ticket distributor for the 2013 FBA season. Fans wishing to purchase tickets for Tampa Bay Rebels home games may do so by visiting the R•Sole store located within the University Square Mall. Tickets for all home games will be $10 for those over 13 years of age, while kids 13 and under will receive free admission to all games.