Emotion Now More Evident For Former TU Star

Sunday, March 9th 2008, 3:56 pm

By: News On 6

The poignant proclamation years ago from then TU coach Tubby Smith set the tone. 

"We are going to Oklahoma City and represent the University of Tulsa the best way we can by bringing home a win," said Smith in 1994 before facing UCLA in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Little did 18-year-old Shea Seals know when boarding the bus for the 1994 NCAA Tournament the road would lead to the Sweet 16.

"We all feel like we're underrated and never got a chance to get that kind of exposure," said Seals.  "Now we're showing people around the world we can play."

Seals brilliance was just beginning to brim. The All-American was the big man on campus, becoming TU's all-time leading scorer and helping the Hurricane to three more NCAA Tournament appearances. 

"One of my greatest moments is we came to Oklahoma City my freshman year we stunned UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. Then we turn around and beat Oklahoma State in the second round," said Seals.  "I had some great moments I got to experience in college."

Now Seals is back in the city where it all began.  No longer calm and cool on the court.  It's an energetic and emotional Seals you'll see on the sidelines at the 2008 Oklahoma State Basketball Tournament.

"When I was a player I didn't show as much emotion when I played," said Seals.  "Maybe I just held it in until I started coaching."

"Right now I try to feed it into the young guys with the excitement, energy and experience with some of that right here at the state tournament."

Seals success as a player has translated as a head coach. In only his first season at Booker T. Washington he led the Hornets to the state championship game.

"I've always been a big fan of Oklahoma City," said Seals.  "Being able to play in a state championship game, it's an honor."

He's come full circle first on the court and now coaching,  even some 14 years ago Seals knew there was no place like Oklahoma. 

"So far I like the support my family's given me, my teachers and my coaches have given me throughout the season," said Seals.  "I can't ask for more. I'm really happy I stayed home."

By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com Video Journalist


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