TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Tallahassee Community College men's basketball team's journey to a national title begins Monday in Hutchinson Kansas, when they face Trinidad State for their first round match-up in the NJCAA Tournament.
For the Eagles, it's an opportunity they've worked hard for, and now they're looking to finish what they started.
"It hasn't been since 2018 with the females so, it's time for the men to do," said TCC sophomore Okechukwu Okeke as he pointed to the banner hanging in the Eagledome for the women's National Championship in 2018. "First time for Tallahassee to win a national championship. Let's do it."
The journey to get there begins Monday, when the Eagles take the floor in their first national tournament appearance in over a decade.
"This is an opportunity that a lot of coaches have built for me to continue to improve that legacy," said head coach Rick Cabrera.
"It's a good legacy," added freshman Damoni Harrison. "You'd be crazy if you didn't want to."
Monday's first round game marks TCC's fifth time qualifying for the dance.
"This is for Gillespie and Barnes and White and Settembre," said Cabrera. "Just to continue to hang up a banner up there in some way shape or form."
And falling short in winning a state title last weekend, is what's fueling them even more.
"I sat out there and watched them cut down the nets, just to feed me more motivation," said Okeke. "It's for a good cause. We're going to be ready."
"We're the underdogs I guess," said Harrison. "We're always looked past so, now we have a chip on our shoulders. Something to prove."
For themselves, and for the names on their chest.
"These are my brothers. Plenty of memories here," said Okeke. "Even the fans, the atmosphere."
"All the credit is to these guys," added Cabrera. "These guys have listened and been coachable. I don't envision them stopping that doing that now."
Until they have a banner to hang of their own, there's no slowing this team down at all. TCC's first round match-up with Trinidad State Monday in Hutchinson, Kansas. Tip-off is at 9:30/ET.