Sunday, May 26, 2013

Prowl Defeat Rebels

The Tampa Bay Rebels played the Heartland Prowl during Memorial Day Weekend in Lake Wales. The home team got off to a good offensive start that put them 18 points ahead early in the game. The Rebels second unit got in the game in the second quarter and, with a great defensive effort, made the score 61 – 59 at the half. 

The second half of the game saw the Prowl running the floor and making shots, while the Rebels allowed second opportunities leaving the final score 123 – 101. For the Rebels forward Stan Bufford had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Jamison Clark came off the bench to produce 19 points and 4 rebounds. Coach Rojas commented at the end of the game, “The Prowl played very well tonight, we came back in the game, but we couldn’t match their intensity. They deserved to win."

The Rebels return to action on June 1st as they face the Florida Flight in Orlando. To get the latest on team information, please visit

Thursday, May 23, 2013

5 Quick Questions with...Alex Ferrer Kristjansson - Brand & Communication Director, Euroleague Basketball

Alex Ferrer Kristjansson is the Brand & Communication Director at Euroleague Basketball, where he has worked since 2005. Mr. Kristjansson is involved in several key aspects of the Euroleague including Brand Management, Ticket Strategy, Sponsorship, and Online Strategy. Additionally, he is involved with the marketing and operational functions for international events and is responsible for the coordination of marketing efforts with both the league and individual teams. 

The Tampa Bay Rebels are grateful to Mr. Kristanjansson for taking time out of his schedule to answer our 5 Quick Questions!

What is the Euroleague?

The Euroleague is the premier clubs competition in Europe where, every season, the 24 best clubs compete to become European Champions. The League features clubs that are world-class brands like FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Fenerbahce Ulker, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, CSKA Moscow, etc.

How does a team earn the right to compete in the Euroleague? 

There are three ways of playing the Euroleague:

First one - There are 13 clubs that have what is called and A-license, or long term license, which basically means that they will participate in the competition independently of their National League results that season (there are certain limitations though). Every season, the worst of these 13 teams according to a previously established criteria, may lose its spot. These 13 clubs today are Anadolu EFES Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, EA7 – Emporio Armani Milan, FC Barcelona Regal, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, Montepaschi, Olympiacos Piraeus, Panathinaikos Athens, Real Madrid, Unicaja Malaga and Zalgiris Kaunas.

Second one - By becoming the Champion of one of the top European National Leagues. Following a league ranking, champions or best teams of the top leagues join the 13 A-licence, clubs obtaining a B-license.

Third and last one - By becoming the Champion of the Eurocup, the second European club’s competition, which is also managed by Euroleague Basketball.

What challenges does the Euroleague face in bringing in clubs from around the world to compete against each other?

There are many different challenges in many different areas. We are dealing with 24 different clubs every season, that all have different mentalities from one to the other, live in different social realities and in some cases, have big cultural differences. Putting all that together in a model of a League as the one we have, in which the clubs are the owners, is not easy, but it is showing very good results after the 13 years of existence of this management model. This is something quite unique in European club sports. 

How has the evolution of social media impacted coverage of the Euroleague?

It has certainly impacted us in a big way, as I guess it has happened to every sport organization, club or player. Social Media has really enabled a multi-way communication, in which the League speaks with the fans, the fans do the same with the league, plus the fans speak amongst themselves, giving them the opportunity of becoming their own media building a SM reputation amongst their readers.

Social Media has really enabled fans to show their opinion, have a direct communication channel with leagues, clubs, players and even journalists, and somehow making their opinion count and be heard. And the speed at which the information flows has also affected the way communication is looked at.

How can people in the United States follow Euroleague action? 

Live action can be followed on NBA TV, ESPN 3 and also on the official live streaming website

Fans can also watch some live Euroleague action on USA’s field every season, since for a few years already, Euroleague Basketball is sending some of its best teams to play friendly pre-season games there, facing NBA teams. Real Madrid, Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow, amongst others, have already played these games in recent years, and this years’ games will be announced soon.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chris Stephenson Named FBA Player of the Week

Tampa Bay Rebels guard Chris Stephenson has been named Player of the Week by the Florida Basketball Association. Stephenson averaged 26.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1 block as the Rebels won back to back games and remained undefeated. “Chris is doing a good job on both ends of the floor. He can play several positions effectively, however, his leadership skills have been the most important addition to the team,” stated Head Coach / GM Fernando Rojas. Through the first five games of the 2013 season, Stephenson is averaging 22 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 3.4 steals per game. 

Please visit to follow Chris and get the latest information on the Tampa Bay Rebels.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rebels Win 5th Straight

The Tampa Bay Rebels won their 5th straight game with a 127-95 victory over the Palm Beach Knights this past Saturday night at Freedom High School. Both teams played the game at a fast pace. Unlike last weekend, the Rebels started the game playing strong defense and running the floor effectively to take control of the game early on. 

Rebels guard Robert Fuchs continues to improve his game, grabbing 9 rebounds and adding 10 points in the contest. “Rob is becoming a solid defensive player, tonight he took a defensive charge, and his rotation on the defensive end is helping our transition game,” Coach Rojas commented after the game. Center Charles Okwandu had another strong showing with 32 points and 16 rebounds. Guard Stan Bufford also added a double-double of his own with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The Rebels will hit the road again next weekend when they face-off against the Heartland Prowl in Lake Wales. Please visit for additional information.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Police Athletic League Welcomes Rebels

The Tampa Bay Rebels moved their weekly practices to the recently updated Police Athletic League (PAL) facility in Tampa. PAL is a registered non-for profit organization that is dedicated to providing affordable after school, summer, and athletic opportunities to Tampa Bay’s youth. PAL partners with numerous organizations to provide a unique program that consists of crime prevention, crime intervention, mentoring, homework assistance, and self-esteem programs. 

“The entire Staff at PAL has been very supportive by allowing the Rebels practice time in the gym and the use of special areas to watch film in preparation for weekend games. PAL does a fundamental job in our society allowing cultural and educational opportunities for the youth in Tampa. We look forward to being part of this engine of community support. We have already presented one project that can bring benefits to the PAL organization,” GM Fernando Rojas commented.

Next week, the Rebels will return to Freedom high school to continue practices for the remainder of the season.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rebels Sweep Weekend

The Rebels faced their first road test of the season as they played a back to back series against the Palm Beach Knights. The renovated Knights are loaded with young talent this year. “Coach Spruill Jr. has done a great job revamping the Knights roster. I have no doubt he is going to have a successful season,” Coach Rojas commented.

The first game, on Saturday May 11th, saw the return of Tampa’s point guard Jonathan Brown, who had been sidelined since training camp after suffering a leg injury. When asked about his injury, Brown replied, “My leg feels fine. I’m just glad to be back.”

The Knights started the contest by implementing a half-court press that allowed Palm Beach to play up-tempo basketball, keeping the score close at the half. The game, however, was dominated by Rebels center Charles Okwandu, who patrolled the paint efficiently and finished the game with 27 points, 20 rebounds and 5 blocks. Forward Jamison Clark also contributed 22 points for Tampa Bay as the Rebels pulled out a 128-106 victory. Earl Mills led the Knights with 22 points while Anthony Daniels chipped in 20 in the loss.

The following day, both teams headed back to Inlet Grove High School to face off in the weekend finale. The home team came out of the gate running the floor hard and made consecutive 3-point shots to end the first half 14 points ahead of the visiting team. The Knights’ Germer Kinsey teamed with Earl Mills and Anthony Daniels to score a combined 52 points throughout the game. In the third quarter, however, Tampa Bay made a comeback thanks to outstanding defensive efforts from guards Stan Bufford, Aubrey West, and Jonathan Brown. Rebels shooting guard Robert Fuchs took full advantage of his time on the court, producing 25 points and 5 rebounds. Stan Bufford finished with a double-double adding 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Rebels completed the weekend sweep with a 118-97 victory.

The Rebels, who now stand at 4-0, return to action on Saturday, May 18th as they face the Palm Beach Knights at 7pm at Freedom High School in New Tampa. Children under 13 receive free admission to the game and tickets cost only $10 for those 13 and older. Tickets may be purchased at the gym on the night of the game or at the R●Sole store located within University Square Mall near the USF campus. For additional information, please visit

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rebels Rise Above Flight

The Tampa Bay Rebels won over the Florida Flight 124 – 107 in the second weekend of games for the Florida Basketball Association. Charles Okwandu scored 24 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Stan Bufford contributed with 23 points, 15 of them in the second half. Rebels forward Brant Leitnaker finished with 19 points on 9 for 11 (82%) shooting. With the win, the Rebels improve to 2-0 on the year.

The Flight were led by guard Ernest Jones, who was very active on both ends of the floor and scored 14 points in the first quarter. Forwards Adam Waldo and Corey Williams gave the Flight consistent rebounding and hustle work throughout the game. The loss drops the Flight to 2-1 in 2013.

The Rebels now prepare to hit the road for the first time this season as they face the Palm Beach Knights. The Rebels and Knights will play back to back games on May 11th and May 12th. Please visit for more information.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Former Butler Star Shawn Vanzant Joins Rebels

Former Wharton High School and Butler University player Shawn Vanzant has joined the Rebels for the remainder of the 2013 FBA season. Vanzant is just returning to the area after having played the 2012-2013 season with the Springfield Armor of the NBA’s Developmental League where he was averaging over 15 minutes per game before an injury slowed him in the second half of the season.

Vanzant has enjoyed success at all levels of basketball throughout his career. He scored 1,192 points during his career at Wharton High School where he played for coach Tommy Tonelli, and led the team to a 29-2 record and a district championship as a senior. With his high school career over, Vanzant took advantage of the opportunity to play at Butler University, improving each year as the program made 4 straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament and back to back appearances in the NCAA National Championship games in 2010 and 2011. He was also named to the 2011 Horizon League All-Tournament Team.

After college, Vanzant embarked on his professional career by playing for Korihait, a team from Finland’s top league, the Korisliiga. Following his time in the Korisliiga, Vanzant also played for Ura Basket from Finland’s First Division before heading back to the U.S. and entering the Developmental League draft. He was selected 62nd overall by the Springfield Armor, an affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, in the 2012 Developmental League draft.

“Shawn is a tremendous young man to coach. He is a winner and will always do whatever necessary to help his team at both ends of the floor. He competes and plays as hard as any player I have ever coached. His success as a player at Wharton and Butler speaks for itself,” stated Wharton Head Coach Tommy Tonelli.

The Tampa Bay Rebels will have Vanzant in uniform as they face the Florida Flight on Sunday, May 5th at Freedom High School in New Tampa. 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.