VSU basketball ready for elite eight - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

VSU basketball ready for elite eight

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By Joey Donia - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The Valdosta State basketball team is playing in uncharted territory.

For the first time in school history the Blazers have reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA division two tournament. After winning the South Regional bracket the team was greeted by dozens of fans at the Valdosta Airport. The Blazers have been receiving all sorts of praise but head coach Mike Helfer is focused on making sure his team doesn't become complacent.

"You don't want to spend more time looking back than you do looking forward and I think for us we have to look forward to the next game put all that stuff behind us. We can talk about that a couple weeks from now so we just need to make sure we're looking forward" said Helfer.

"I don't really think the job is done yet until we come back with the big one and that's the National Championship so we're gonna focus on that one and come back with that one and then it's time to party" said senior forward Tyrone Curnell.

Blazers take on Indiana Pennsylvania on Wednesday and Blazer guard Tristan Crawford is quite familiar with his team's opponent.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is about three hours from Crawford's hometown of Steelton, Pennsylvania.

After playing at Division One Cleveland State as a freshman Crawford decided to transfer. Before deciding to come to Valdosta State Crawford made a verbal commitment to play for Indiana Pennsylvania.

He changed his mind and now both schools will face off for a spot in the final four.

"It's gonna feel real good. It's more of a rival game for me you know going back to Pennsylvania or playing a team from Pennsylvania" said Crawford.

Former Coffee basketball star Kevin Harris picked a good time to transfer to Valdosta State.

Harris is playing in his first season with the Blazers after transferring from Northwest Community College in Mississippi.

Harris has made an immediate impact for VSU averaging more than 7 points a game and he's thrilled to be a part of the first Blazer team to play in the elite eight.

"It feels very good to come here and be a part of this team. Like I said before I knew it was a great team to come join and I knew I could help them and so far it's been an amazing ride" said Harris.

Valdosta State and Indiana Pennsylvania tip off at 2:30 on Wednesday.

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