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Former Ospreys join forces once again, but a change in format has left them off the court

John Watson, Sports Editor

Two stars on last year’s sharpshooting Osprey basketball squad were looking forward to combining forces on a brand new team until a new tournament format was released and the hopes of playing together this summer were squashed before ever stepping on the hardwood.

Former Osprey point guard Ivan Gandia-Rosa and former Osprey shooting guard Garrett Sams were set to join “The Islands” in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) before Covid-19 derailed their plans and the cancellation of TBT regional tournaments left them in the dust. 

The TBT is a winner-take-all 5 on 5 tournament with the winning team receiving a sum of $2 million. 64 teams were to compete in regional tournaments with the hope of earning a bid to the national tournament. The TBT has featured former NBA players in the past, and almost all current players have a college basketball resume.

Just a few days ago, the TBT announced their plan to host 24 of the top teams at one site for this years tournament. 

TBT is in the process of choosing those 24 teams, but “The Islands” have been contatced and told they did not make the cut.

Before news broke that “The Islands” were not selected, I spoke with Sams about the opportunity to play against professionals with his former teammate.

“When the coach reached out to me, I knew it was going to be a great opportunity,” Sams said about joining the team. “I threw out Ivan’s name to the coach and next thing you know, me and Ivan (Gandia-Rosa) are going to play together.”

Sams also said that the team hadn’t had the chance for an organized practice yet and that he was working out on his own in Tennessee. 

Sams led his fellow seniors in total points with 1,538 during his tenure at UNF Photo: Khorri Newton

As Sams traveled back home to the Volunteer State, Gandia-Rosa stayed in Florida to prepare and train with former Osprey teammate and current senior guard Ryan Burkhardt. As Gandia-Rosa hits the sandy beaches of St. Augustine for workouts, he says that the cancellation gives him more time to train and prepare for the professional environment.

“Now it is more time for us to keep getting ready for the next level,” Gandia-Rosa explained “It was going to be a really good experience, but it’ll happen again next year.”

Gandia-Rosa led the Ospreys squad in assists last season and made a huge impact on leading the team to being named ASUN regular season co-champions (Khorri Newton)

There were going to be eight inaugural players on “The Islands” team, and all of them were going to be rookies. The team is named “The Islands” because it is made up of players from Haiti, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and the U.S. 

While the rookies won’t be competing in this year’s TBT tournament, the longer offseason will allow the players to condition and be prepared for playing in a professional environment.

Both Sams and Gandia-Rosa have signed with agents and are exploring their future’s in basketball after graduating in the spring.

___

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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