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Bellarmine men’s basketball season not over — despite NCAA ineligibility

‘We will get an opportunity to play more this year, and we’ll embrace that,’ Head Coach Scott Davenport said
‘We will get an opportunity to play more this year, and we’ll embrace that,’ Head Coach Scott Davenport said
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 3:10 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Bellarmine University Men’s Basketball Team is the ASUN Conference champion, but they won’t be heading the NCAA tournament.

The team knew they wouldn’t be eligible going into the last game, but they didn’t talk about it, Head Coach Scott Davenport told WAVE on Wednesday. Instead, he said they played until the final buzzer and were rewarded with the trophy.

For Davenport, the biggest emotional paycheck he gets is to sit back and watch players succeed. But after their latest win, he said he couldn’t really watch.

“I couldn’t see them because (fans) stormed the court,” said Davenport. “I couldn’t see them!”

The Knights won the ASUN in just their second Division One season. Nearly 7,000 people showed up at Freedom Hall to be present for history.

”Seeing the students come and swarm us, I don’t even know how to describe it,” fifth year senior CJ Fleming said. “There were so many students.”

To put that attendance number into perspective, that’s enough to fill Knights Hall, the former home of the team, three times over. Players and coaches are just happy to have the support.

“Even an hour, hour and a half after the game, the court was sill packed with people wanting to get pictures and everything,” Fleming said. “It’s just such a fun night.”

Davenport said he admired his players’ humility even after a big win but hopes his players know exactly what they accomplished.

“I don’t know if it’s possible to accurately impress upon the players how many lives they affected last night in this community,” said Davenport. “A lot of people of people were living through them last night.”

Bellarmine would be going to the NCAA tournament, but because of a four-year waiting period newly reclassified D-1 teams have to endure before being tournament eligible, they’ll be the only conference champ not dancing. However, their season is not over.

Davenport said there are still a few tournaments they can be part of, whether it’s the NIT, the CBI, or the College Insider Post Season Tournament.

“Our philosophy is let’s stay focused on right now,” Davenport said, “and that championship last night will never ever be taken away from those players.”

As for the players, they’re staying focused on one another.

”Honestly right now, we’re just going to enjoy what we can enjoy,” CJ Fleming said.

Davenport said he’s hopeful the four year rule is changed to two, and he thinks it’s a real possibility in the off season. That would mean they would be eligible next year.

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