Hours after winning at Towson on Saturday afternoon to retain a share of first place in the Colonial Athletic Association, the UNC Wilmington basketball team did something even more impressive.
The Seahawks encountered a stranded motorist on their way to the airport, so they took the time to help her in the middle of a snowstorm.
"Coach [Kevin] Keats asked several of the guys to get out of the bus to help her," UNC Wilmington associate athletic director for communications Joe Browning said. "They pushed her on her way and we trudged along to the airport. We were very fortunate to get out of Baltimore since the area was hit with several inches. We had 10 assists in the game, but this may have been the biggest one of the night."
Any good karma UNC Wilmington receives is well-deserved for a team that is already one of the nation’s most pleasant surprises this season.
Once the CAA’s signature program, the Seahawks endured averaged 21.5 losses per season the past six years under fired coaches Benny Moss and Buzz Peterson. Keats, a former Louisville assistant under Rick Pitino, has turned things around in startlingly quick fashion in his first season, taking many holdovers from last year’s 23-loss team and leading them to a 16-11 overall record and an 11-5 mark in the CAA.
One of the keys to UNC Wilmington’s improvement has been Keats going with a pressure defense that has allowed the Seahawks to play at a faster pace and to force a conference-leading 14.5 turnovers per game in CAA play. The development of leading scorers Addison Spruill, Freddie Jackson and Craig Ponder also has boosted an offense adept at turning steals into transition points.
Whether UNC Wilmington can outduel fellow contenders William & Mary, Northeastern and James Madison for the CAA title remains to be seen, but the Seahawks’ sudden turnaround is a nice story.
The good samaritan gesture they made on the way to the airport Saturday, however, is even better.
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