Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rebels Reveal New Media Page

It is now easier than ever to follow coverage of the Tampa Bay Rebels from local media outlets as the team has introduced a new Local Media page that chronicles the coverage by the local press. By visiting the Local Media section of the website, visitors will now be able to scroll through archives of stories written by staff members at publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, New Tampa Patch, The Laker / Lutz News, and the New Tampa Neighborhood News.

Since being founded in 2011, the Tampa Bay Rebels have been bringing professional basketball to the Tampa Bay area. The organization saw an uptick in local coverage as the 2012 season approached the halfway point with the coverage continuing throughout the team’s run to the 2012 Florida Basketball Association Championship. The local papers kept tabs on the team throughout 2013 with several outlets publishing articles about the team and promoting team news through social media outlets such as Twitter throughout the regular season. In the days leading up to the 2013 FBA Championship game, the Rebels were featured in an article written by Tampa Bay Times writer Andy Warrener that appeared on the Times’ website and also in the Northeast section of the local paper.

Although the offseason has just begun, the team is still being contacted by members of the local media who are interested in continuing and improving coverage of the team in the coming months as the team prepares for a run at reclaiming the FBA Championship that they narrowly missed out on this season. Be sure to visit and our new Local Media page to keep up to date on the latest story from our local media.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rebels Recognize Shannon's Work Ethic

Xavier Shannon is a 6’3” forward who wears number 14 for the Tampa Bay Rebels. While the Rebels are competing in the Florida Basketball Association during the summer months, Xavier is hard at work in the paint, making an impact for the team that he joined in 2012. “I saw Xavier in a local league two years ago and decided to invite him to training camp,” Rebels Head Coach Fernando Rojas said. “He made the team, but didn’t play much his first year.” This year, however, Xavier earned more minutes and moved into the starting lineup the second half of the season. He improved his stats in every category, and his point production increased from 19 to 35 in 14 games this year.

Xavier doesn’t come from a renowned college program, and doesn’t wear the latest Kobe or LeBron sneakers. He doesn’t own a car either, but somehow he is always on time and ready to practice. His contribution to the team is not measured by his skill set but by his extraordinary work ethic and love for the Rebels organization. Early last year, Shannon earned the nickname “X” by Coach Rojas. “He is the X factor; every time he plays well, we win,” replied Coach Rojas when asked why he chose the moniker. The nickname has stuck, and now, everybody close to the Rebels organization now refers to Xavier simply by the nickname “X” when speaking about him.

Shannon was asked recently to describe how he feels about the Rebels. “The Rebels mean a lot to me because of the teamwork we do together,” he commented. “I enjoy being part of a group of guys dedicated to the same goal.” Rojas added, “He supports his teammates, but, more than anything, he supports his team. Some players over celebrate small accomplishments; Xavier keeps a humble attitude and is always ready to work hard for his team, not just for himself.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lemons Enjoys Stellar Season

When Cory Lemons, a heady, 5’10” point guard, joined the Rebels in early June, the team was coming off back to back losses and looking for a spark in the backcourt. Lemons made an immediate impact, scoring 30 points, handing out 7 assists, and grabbing 5 rebounds in a victory against the Heartland Prowl on June 8th, earning the FBA Player of the Week in the process. In only his second game with the team, Lemons finished with a 26 point, 15 rebound, 13 assist performance that earned him his second straight league Player of the Week award. While the Rebels fell just shy of their goal of repeating as FBA champs, Lemons ended his rookie campaign with another triple-double, scoring 24 points and dishing out 15 assists while pulling down 11 rebounds in the biggest game of the year.

“Cory is a competitor that makes his teammates better each and every game; that is the most important skill for a point guard at any level in basketball,” Rebels Head Coach / GM Fernando Rojas stated. “He ran the offense with poise, putting the team in a position to win every night. He is a great guy, coachable and a positive influence in the locker room. We look forward to bigger and better things next season.”

An accomplished college player, Lemons played at Cabrini College in Pennsylvania, where he led the team to the 2012 NCAA Division III National Championship game on his way to earning All-American honors. Despite his success at the college level, Lemons was still searching for an opportunity to play at the next level when the Rebels reached out to him, and he made the most of his opportunity. While playing 5 regular season games, the point guard averaged 23.8 points, 9 assists, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.8 steals per game.  Lemons continued to make an impact in the playoffs, where he averaged 21.5 points, 10 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, and 1 block per game, while shooting 45.7% from the field, including an impressive 63.6% from beyond the arc.

Along the way, Lemons became the first player in league history to earn 3 consecutive Player of the Week awards, as well as the first player to win 4 Player of the Week awards over the course of a season. He is the only player in league to finish in the top 2 of multiple categories, earning that distinction for points, assists, and steals, while finishing in the top 10 for rebounds.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Rebels Fall in Championship Game

The Tampa Bay Rebels came up just short in their bid to repeat as Florida Basketball Association champions when the Rebels’ game-tying attempt bounced off the rim as time expired, giving the Heartland Prowl a 111-109 victory and the league championship in front of the largest crowd of the season at Freedom High School in New Tampa. The Rebels and Prowl, which have built an exciting and intense rivalry over the past two years, both had chances to put the other team away during the course of the game, but neither team could capitalize, leading to another exciting finish. Over the course of 5 meetings during 2013, including the championship game, the Prowl narrowly outscored the Rebels 557-555 in total points scored.

Tampa Bay jumped out to an early 17-5 lead, taking advantage of the Prowl’s zone defense in the early going. The Prowl, however, began limiting easy buckets for the Rebels as they switched to a man to man defense, and made the most of several second-chance scoring opportunities on the offensive lead to grab the lead in the second period. Behind strong 3-point shooting, the Prowl outscored the Rebels 11-6 to over the last 3 minutes of the first half to build a 53-44 halftime lead.

During halftime, the Lady Rebels dance team performed a fantastic routine, and then selected two fans from the crowd to compete in a free-throw shooting contest, where the winner received a $20 gift card. Following the free-throw contest, another fan won $20 cash after hitting a half-court shot during the halftime festivities. Later during the game, a third fan was selected as the winner of another $20 gift card.

Coming out of the half, the Rebels made an early run, powered by 8 straight points from Chris Stephenson as he began to assert himself in the second half. After gaining momentum from Stephenson’s fast start, Tampa Bay cut the deficit to single digits on an Aubrey West layup late in the third quarter. The Prowl, however, finished the third on a run of their own, leading by as many as 17 before finishing the quarter with a 91-76 lead.

Tampa Bay got back on track in the final quarter with a strong defensive effort and solid execution on offense. A strong 14-3 run by the Rebels, closed the gap to 94-90 halfway through the fourth. While the Prowl countered with a three-pointer, Rebels’ forward Stan Bufford hit back to back three-pointers of his own to bring the home team to within 1 point with just over 5 minutes left in the game.

Both teams battled over the next four-plus minutes, staying within just a few points of each other. Trailing 109-106, Aubrey West knocked down a three from the corner to tie the game heading down the stretch. With 28 seconds left on the clock, the Prowl began their final possession. The Rebels played solid defense throughout the possession, but gave up a dunk as the shot clock was about to expire. With 3.1 seconds left, the Rebels ran a sideline inbounds play that saw Stan Bufford catch the ball and make a strong move to the basket, but the bank shot bounced off the front of the rim as time expired, with the Rebels suffering only their 3rd loss of the 2013 season.

The Rebels were led by Cory Lemons, who had a triple-double with 27 points, 15 assists, and 11 rebounds, while Chris Stephenson finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Stan Bufford added 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Jeremy Grimball added 13 points off the bench.

Prowl forward Arnold Louis was named Finals MVP behind a 27 point performance. Bryce Kachinski added 24 points, including 5 three-pointers, for the Prowl as well. Michael Floyd and Mark St. Fort also scored in double figures for the Prowl, who finish 2013 with an overall record of 11-3.

To learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels, please visit