Twins Find Independence in College Basketball

Andrea and Andrell Smith weren’t like other twins.  No, together these girls achieved a district championship, a national junior college championship and being named to the all-big first and second team.  They had obvious basketball talent.

“We had fun and we knew it was serious and we wanted to be good, but never did I think I would play professionally,” said Andrell Smith.

A college athletic career became more of a reality for the dynamic duo in 12th grade. They graduated high school to go on to play at Gulf Coast Community College, then later transferred to the University of South Florida.

“We came to South Florida to make a name for South Florida and to also make a name for [ourselves],” said Andrea Smith.

As seniors, they led USF to the NCAA tournament.  A professional career became promising for the two guards.

“I always wanted to be a professional athlete. I always wanted to, you know, play basketball for my career,” said Andrea.

After being drafted in the third round, Andrea became just the second Polk County female to be drafted to the WNBA.  It’s something most college athletes dream about, but so few actually achieve.  However, the pros were a whole different court from college level basketball.

“That was probably the hardest basketball I’ve ever played, because that’s how physical it is.  That’s how different from Division 1, the best in collegiate sports Division 1, then you go pro and it’s just wow,” Andrea recounted.

Take it from two athletes that have “been there and done that” throughout their college play; an athletic career is not always a forever thing.

“Don’t take your education for granted, listen to your professors, listen to your academic advisors, because they want you to succeed.  You cannot always play a sport your entire life. You have to put the ball down at some point,” remarked Andrell.

So what is life like after being in the spotlight during college?

“I’m so happy with life, I couldn’t be in a better situation,” said Andrell.

“Yeah I absolutely agree with her.  It’s been awesome, it’s great, you know, I wouldn’t do anything different,” said Andrea.

 

USF mascot a product of student petitioning

TAMPA, Fl.– Rocky D. Bull is an icon most known for his appearances at USF sporting events. The USF mascot’s history goes back some 50 years and is an essential piece of USF’s heritage, student life and athletic competitions.

“Higher-ups in the administration of USF wanted to have a mascot designated, so they left it up to the students,” USF Associate Librarian Andrew Huse said.

Students came forward with different suggestions including the Buccaneer, the Desert Rats and the Golden Brahman.

“A lot of people don’t know that Florida has a cattle history going back many centuries… and I think it was clear early on that the administration liked this one,” Huse said.

Conflict arose when the Buccaneer was the declared winner of the first student vote by a margin of three votes. Upon the naming committee’s discovery of a junior college in Pensacola already using the pirate as a mascot, a student petitioned for a referendum where the Golden Brahman Bull won.

When it comes to modern day Rocky, he is no longer a Brahman Bull. As just USF’s bull, he is now a nationally recognized mascot.

“Back in 2013 when Rocky won the Capital One Mascot challenge… It was a long season and every week we’d have to keep on voting and I remember by the end for our school to win, it was a big deal,” said USF cheerleader Heath Rinkus. “We were all really excited in the spirit department.”