FGCU players basking in their newfound celebrity - WFLA News Channel 8

FGCU players basking in their newfound celebrity

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FORT MYERS, FL (WFLA) -

Chances are by now every sports fan in the country is familiar with Florida Gulf Coast University.  The small school in Fort Myers stunned the basketball world with two historic upsets, making it to the Sweet 16.

At first glance, life seems pretty serene at Florida Gulf Coast University. The school was only formed in 1997 and it has a small student body.  For some of those students, life today was anything but normal.

Members of the Eagles basketball team became national celebrities overnight, and were congratulated everywhere they went.  FGCU Forward Marcus Blake said,"It's surreal. We went to class and we got ovations and everything. It's just a great feeling."

This past weekend, FGCU stunned the world and busted brackets at the same time, becoming the first 15-seed team to ever make it to the Sweet 16.  This school only reached Division I status two years ago, but the players don't believe for one second that this accomplishment came by chance.

FGCU Point Guard Brett Comer said, "As a team, we thought we could come out and play with anybody and beat anybody, and I think we accomplished that."  And everyone wants in on this moment in history- when fans spotted one of the team's stars, Sherwood Brown, he was forced to stay put for at least 30 minutes while he smiled for photographs.

Brown said, "I'm ecstatic right now, you see all these fans out here, I'm really shocked that they're all here right now, but I appreciate it."  And those fans brought their wallets too.

A campus official said sales of FGCU merchandise are going through the roof! The official said March merchandise are already 200% higher compared to the same period last year.

The school made a rush order of Sweet 16 merchandise on Sunday night. The merchandise won't arrive until Tuesday.  Evidently, the team's meteoric success was a surprise to many.

In sports, miracles do happen, and legends are made…but these players will tell you- it all boils down to commitment.  Brown said, "We've been building a lot of team chemistry over this past year and we all really work hard and once you get a bunch of players like that together, anything's possible."

And that's true whether you're a powerhouse in a major city or a relative unknown aspiring to greatness.

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