JUCO Notes For December
The top team in the National JC Athletic Association? If you go by the NJCAA polls from the first half of the season it’s Salt Lake, Utah.
The Bruins in ruins? Hardly. In seven polls, released each Monday, Salt Lake was No. 1 from among 193 Division l teams. Salt Lake was No. 1 in the pre-season poll and No. 1 on Dec. 13, the last poll of 2021. The Bruins are led by Doctor Bradley, 6-8, who averages 15.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Just as important are Chase Adams, 5-8, and his 13.8 points and 4.3 assists and Jackson Last, 6-5, who averages 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds.
“We’re off to a very good start, but also well aware that it is a long season and we need to continue to improve,” said Salt Lake Coach Kyle Taylor. “The goal is to peak in mid-March. I like our group, though, and where we are at right now. We play great defense, play really hard and share the ball well. If we can keep doing that and improving in other areas we’ll have a chance to have a great season. I like our depth, I like our maturity and I like our approach to practices, jamborees and games. We need to keep that up.”
• Name you ‘gotta love: Doctor Bradley, a freshman at Salt Lake, Utah. Yes, that’s his real name. “His mother really wanted her son to be a doctor and so she thought that if she named him Doctor, he would have that reminder on a daily basis and pursue a career in medicine,” said SL Coach Kyle Taylor. “Doctor goes by Doc and he has really embraced his name. I get asked by almost every college coach that calls if that is actually his name, so the question is valid.”
• Lake Region, N.D. has an Anthony Davis on its roster but he’s no relation to the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis. The JCs’ Davis is a 6-3 sophomore guard from Hopkins high school in Minneapolis, Minn. The juco Davis can also dunk. Said Lake Region Coach Jared Marshall: “He’s a pretty dang good player.”
• A player hits a game-winning shot and it’s good news for the winning team. But hitting game-winners on back-to-back nights, well, that’s distinctive. Eastern Florida St.’s Brody Boyer (6-4) turned the trick to beat Chipola (73-71 in overtime) – then No. 4 NJCAA ranked – with a game-winner Nov 12. Then the next night his buzzer-beater took down State College of Florida (71-69). Both games came in the Florida Shootout and at home in Melbourne. Said Eastern Florida St. Coach Jeremy Shulman, who is in his 12th season there: “It’s never happened in my 25 years of coaching. It’s just incredible. And to do it against those teams, who are so good…I mean, wow!”
• So what’s happened to Coffeyville, Kans.? It is 5-8 and on a five-game losing streak as defending NJCAA Tournament champion. Coffeyville was picked No. 7 in the pre-season rankings. In short, injuries have decimated the Red Ravens. Five of Coffeyville’s top 7 players have been slowed or stopped for various injuries. “When you have that many guys out, including Blaise (Keita, 6-11), one of the best big men in the country, it is frustrating," said Coffeyville Coach Jay Herkelman. Keita has been out with a foot injury and hopes to return in January.
• The State College of Florida’s schedule is unique compared to any of the NJCAA Division I jucos. It has 30 DI NJCAA schools on its schedule. The Manatees are led by James "Pop" Weathers, who averages 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He has started every game in his two-year career at SCF. Said Coach Tom Parks: “Pop turned down multiple (NCAA) D1 offers to come back and play a second year.”
• Blinn, Texas Coach Scott Schumacher pocketed career win number 600 in late November when the Buccaneers beat Strength ‘N Motion (89-68) in Brenham. "When you reach a milestone like this, you think back to all the guys you've coached, the assistant coaches you've had, all the presidents, all the athletic directors and everybody who has helped you be successful," said Schumacher. "I'm just happy that I still get to be a basketball coach and that I get to do it at Blinn." Schumacher is in his 10th season at Blinn and is well known in Texas. Said Blinn sophomore Calvin Carpenter: "The love he has for the game is incredible."
• Three teams to watch second semester – none were ranked among the NJCAA’s Top 25 in the final poll of 2021 – with records as of mid-December: Southwestern, Ill. (12-1), Moberly, Mo. (12-4) and Triton, Ill. (10-2). SW Coach Jay Harrington is lucky to even be on the sideline. A year ago, doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of living after a bout with Covid. He now says: “My recovery has been amazing. I am almost back to normal with no fibrosis or scarring of my lungs. My doctor says it is unheard of to have this kind of comeback.”…Moberly has won 9 of its past 11 games, copping the prestigious William R. Bear Classic in Freeport, Ill. recently; it won three games in about 30 hours. Said Moberly Coach Patrick Smith: “I am very proud of this team and how much improvement they’ve made this semester. The second semester is what really counts in terms of what we want to ultimately accomplish as a team.”…Triton, coached by John Clancy, an assistant coach last season at John A. Logan, Ill., is dangerous, too. Paced by Christian Wells, 6-5, a transfer from Vincennes, Ind. who averages a team-best 12.9 points; five players are in double figures. Triton has at least eight NCAA Division I signees on its roster. Those signed: 6-8 Patrick Suemnick (West Virginia), 6-9 Deangelo Elisee (Purdue-Ft. Wayne) and 6-3 Daylan Hamilton (Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis).
EX-NATIONAL JC ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION COACHES
Coach/4-Year School/JC (Not ALL Listed)
Mark Adams/Texas Tech/Howard, Texas
Dana Altman/Oregon/Moberly, Mo.
Chris Beard /Texas/Fort Scott, Kans.
Kermit Davis/Mississippi/Chipola, Fla.
Steve Forbes/Wake Forest/Northwest Florida St.
Billy Gillispie/Tarleton St./Texas Ranger, Texas
Tim Jankovich/Southern Methodist/Hutchinson, Kans.
Chris Jans/New Mexico St./Independence, Kans.
Jay Ladner/Southern Mississippi/Jones County, Miss.
Brad Underwood/Illinois/Daytona Beach, Fla.
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