They're all Bearcats - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TYLER (KLTV)

They're all Bearcats

No matter what country they are from, or what language they speak, the meaning and the game are the same.

Basketball.

There are three Lon Morris Bearcats from Puerto Rico and one from Lithuania, sophomore starter Ridas Pulkauninkas.

"I got lucky, I got here to Jacksonville, Texas," Ridas said.

The names on the Bearcats roster do not just span the national border. There are seven players from Texas, one from Philadelphia, two from New York, and Alfred Davis from Gary, Indiana.

"Home of Michael Jackson!" Alfred laughed.

They are all in Jacksonville because of the hard recruiting work of coach Dale Dotson who flew for hours, many times to meet the players face to face.

"I was impressed because not too many coaches do that," Joel Gierbolini of Carolina, Puerto Rico said. "Especially from the states."

"It makes me feel that he thinks I'm a good player and he thinks I can fit in his program if he comes all the way to Indiana to recruit," Davis said.

"Really, it boils down to if they like you or not and being able to convince them that they are going to be alright," Coach Dotson said.

With the different backgrounds and cultures, it was a gamble the team would click. But, so far from home they lean on each other.

"We're just like a big family," Joel said. "Since we don't have our families here, most of the guys we are just like family."

"They took me home, introduced me to (their) families and stuff," Ridas said. "It was fun. I have fun hanging out with my teammates."

"You're lucky in that you find enough guys that get along together and we've been fortunate in that respect, these guys all really like each other," Coach Dotson said.

That is what makes them a team.

In the end, they're all Bearcats, all with one national title goal. 

Ridas smiled, "We just want to win and go to Kansas."

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