The Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) are set to host the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (3-3) in a battle to stay alive in their respective divisions as the NFL nears the midway point of the season. The Seahawks are led by IMG Academy trainee, QB Russell Wilson, who trained on campus to prepare for the 2012 NFL Draft alongside Panthers' defensive starters LB Luke Kuechly and CB Josh Norman.
The IMG Academy Basketball Program is ready to tip off the 2014-15 season following the success of last season’s boys and girls programs. The boys teams were led by the post-graduate blue team that recorded a 29-3 overall record and two national tournament titles, including a semifinal appearance in the National Prep Championship. The girls program, meanwhile, is reloading after one of the most dominant runs in program history, achieving a 77-17 (.819 win pct.) overall record over the past two seasons.
New enrollees in the boys program include:
Recent IMG Academy alumnus Chris McCullough was recently heralded as one of the top dunkers for the upcoming college basketball season. Last season, McCullough led the Post-graduate Blue team to a berth in the prestigious National Prep Championships in Connecticut. McCullough reported to Syracuse in June.
In July, IMG Academy founder and tennis legend Nick Bollettieri was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Bollettieri was honored on campus at IMG Academy during halftime of the Ascenders 28-7 victory against north Florida powerhouse Trinity Christian Academy of Jacksonville.
IMG Academy alumna Rina Hill took a big risk in making the decision to journey to the United States from Japan to continue her education and basketball training, and that decision is paying off for the LSU sophomore. Hill helped lead the Lady Tigers to a berth in the 2014 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament after upsetting West Virginia.
BRADENTON -- Whether he's auditioning for an offensive role in the future or not, there's no denying how special Saivion Smith is for the IMG Academy football program.
Smith's latest heroics came during a pivotal stretch of Thursday's nationally televised game against visiting Jacksonville Trinity Christian.
The Ascenders (7-1) reeled off three scores in a short burst at the end of the first half, thanks in large part to Smith, and held off the Conquerors 28-7.
"Saivion had a heck of a game, again," IMG head coach Chris Weinke said.
The IMG Academy football team puts the special in special teams.
Opting to put the best players on the field at all times, it is not uncommon to see defensive starters like Saivion Smith not only on the special teams unit, but making a difference.
In some cases, it is a game-changing difference.
BRADENTON -- The secondary was a question mark heading into the season opener, but IMG Academy's football team has turned it into a strength.
The key figure in that lockdown coverage is Saivion Smith.
The junior might have 16 Division I offers, but that hasn't prevented the St. Petersburg Lakewood transfer from continuing to make big plays for the 6-1 Ascenders.
The academic honors just keep rolling in for IMG Academy senior Seiya Liu, who most recently was named as one of 12 male student-athletes named to the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team. Sponsored by HP since 1988, the team consists of 12 young men and 12 young women who demonstrate the ability to excel both on the golf course and in the classroom. To be eligible to apply for the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, boys must have placed in the top 10 of an AJGA Open or Invitational.
With the 2014-15 school year underway, the IMG Academy Baseball Program welcomed Chris Sabo to the coaching staff. With his appointment, Sabo brings more than 30 years of experience, where he will serve as a varsity head coach. Sabo, drafted in the second round of the 1983 Major League Baseball First Year Player’s Draft was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2010.