Hutch Hysteria

There's some Arkansas flavor in Hutchinson, Kan., as the Junior College National Tournament gets underway Tuesday morning with a former Razorback assistant, a former Arkansas prep standout and several recruits who could make their way to Fayetteville in the future.

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – There's a little Arkansas flavor at this season's National Junior College Tournament here at the Sports Arena.

In addition to the Razorback coaching staff getting a look at some of the recruits playing in the 16-team event, there a former Arkansas assistant coach and a former Arkansas prep standout involved.

Scott Edgar, who was an assistant coach for the Razorbacks under Nolan Richardson from 1985-1991, has led his Eastern Oklahoma University (30-3) to its first NJCAA berth since 1961.

He has taken a program that was 0-23 before he took over to competing for the national championship – helped by 6-2 sophomore guard Therone Chilton (15.2), the nephew of former Arkansas star Lee Mayberry.

"Stats are a small part of these kids going from zero wins to 30," Edgar told the Hutchinson News. "From where my career was – flat – to where the kids were…they were guys looking for an opportunity."

Former Jacksonville star Deshone McClure is a starting guard for Navarro Junior Coillege, which has a 12-player rotation that tries to smother foes with its depth.

"Every one of the 16 teams has earned its place and every one of them is capable of winning it all this week," notes Indian Hills CC head coach Barrett Peery. "We are all just trying to go out and win that first game and go from there."

Indian Hills – from Ottumwa, Iowa - features a pair of players the Razorbacks are known to be recruiting in 6-9 sophomore center D.J. Bennett and 6-8 freshman power forward Jameel McKay.

The tournament starts with Eastern Mississippi CC (23-4) taking on top-ranked and unbeaten South Plains (Texas) College (32-0) at 10 a.m.

Indian Hills (30-3) then faces Monroe (NY) College (30-3) – who finished third last season - at noon.

Defending champ College of Southern Idaho (30-3) – featuring 6-8 freshman forward and former Auburn signee Luke Cothron (14.7, 8.5) - takes on Eastern Oklahoma at 2 p.m.

Three Rivers (MO) CC battles Spartanburg Methodist (SC) College at 4:30 p.m.

The final two games Tuesday feature Columbia State (TN) CC (21-6) and Gordon (GA) College (26-7) at 6:30 p.m. with Wallace State (19-15) and Seward County CC (28-6) meeting in the nightcap at 8:30 p.m.

The first round of the false double-elimination event will conclude with a pair of games on Wednesday morning.

Otero (CO) College (29-5) and Wabash Valley (IL) CC (25-8) meet at 11 a.m. and then Navarro (Texas) College (25-9) and Northwest Florida State College (29-1) battle at 1 p.m.

Northwest Florida State features former Tennessee signee Chris Jones, a 5-10 freshman guard who averaged 18 points a game this season.

The winners will then move on in a quest to be in Saturday's championship game while the losers will try to battle back and win third place.

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