Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spanning the continent: Voreis lands in sunny Florida

Colin Voreis is getting a fresh start in a new program.

The 6-foot-7, 230 pound forward from Vermilion High School, transferred from the cold of University of Alaska-Anchorage to southwest Florida's Ave Maria University, a second-year basketball program in the sunshine state.

Ave Maria, a Division II school, is a private Roman Catholic university founded by Tom Managhan in 2003. Managhan is a philanthrophist and retired founder of Domino's Pizza. The school is located 17 miles east of Naples, Florida.This is the second year of the Gyrenes basketball program, but its first year competing in the Florida Sun Conference in the NAIA.

"I'm so excited, words can't explain how excited I am," said Voreis who is an economics major. "We have five returners and nine freshmen, so it's nice going from the younger guy to the older guy. I was named a captain, which I was pretty happy about. I think I should be getting some good minutes this season. I had the opportunity to come out here and I figured it would be a nice new start. I'm feeling great now. It feels good to not being injured anymore. I'm getting back acclimated with everything and I'm starting to get back to my full self."

Voreis heard about the school last year from one of his grandparents, who live nearby. One set of his grandparents live in nearby Naples, while his other grandparents live north of Naples in Pensagorda.

"When I was in Alaska, I really didn't have the chance to play in front of family. My mom came up once and saw me play and my dad came up when I tore my ACL. It's nice having family around. It makes me feel a little more at home. The flight to Florida is much cheaper than Alaska."

Last year, Voreis tore his ACL and couldn't play most of his sophomore season at Alaska-Anchorage, where he played as a freshman and was a part of a Seawolves team that went 29-6 and made it to the NCAA Division II Final Four. Voreis averaged about seven minutes per game while playing behind All-Americans Carl Arts and Luke Cooper.

"I learned so much there, playing under two All-Americans there my freshman year. That was probably one of the best basketball experiences I ever had, going to the final four. Those guys showed me so much, how to lead a team, how to prepare for games and all the little things that go unnoticed. That has definitely helped me a lot to get where I'm at right now."

Ave Maria's head coach Jamon Copeland, who is in his first year after three seasons as assistant coach at Texas State, is excited about Voreis.

"We are very excited to have Colin join our program," Copeland said. "He is a very physically strong forward with tremendous footwork who can play both the 4 and 5 positions for us and we expect him to have a tremendous impact in helping our interior defense and rebounding immediately. He also has good skills facing the basket, shoots well out to 15 feet, and is physically imposing around the basket. Colin is a great student who will fit in perfectly with the Gyrene community."

As a high school player at Vermilion, Voreis was twice named All-Ohio Division II Special Mention. He averaged 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game at Vermilion.He helped lead the Sailors to a West Shore Conference co-Championship — Vermilion's first league title in 16 years.

He also earned a selection to the 2007 Ohio High School Basketball Coaches North-South All-Star Game. He was also the team MVP for three years and a team captain his senior year.

Voreis likes being closer to home after being nearly 4,000 miles away in Alaska.

"The biggest difference so far has been travel. The furthest we go here is Georgia, which is not that far compared to three-hour plane rides to Seattle for every home game. School is a lot harder here, the teachers work you pretty hard. I have a former Notre Dame teacher and a few others that are pretty tough on the students."

Ave Maria is 3-2 going into Friday's Emmanuel College Classic where they'll play Truett-McConnell College in Franklin Springs, Georgia.

"The weather is absolutely a big difference, it's been over 80 degrees every day since I've been here. It's nice to be able to walk around in shorts all day. It makes me you feel better too. Especially with hurting my knee, the warm weather is helping that too."

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