HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games.
That was the assessment of Seward County (KS) Community College head coach Bryan Zollinger about sophomore forward Daveon Boardingham's performance Tuesday night at the National Junior College Tournament.
Boardingham (6-7, 225) – a player Arkansas has interest in - had 23 points and 5 rebounds to lead the Saints over Wallace State (AL) 71-52 in the opening round of the 16-team event.
"Daveon is a very gifted athlete," Zollinger said. "He made some really big offensive plays tonight. We have worked with him for two years on some of the moves, shooting jump shots. What you see now is the culmination of a lot of work for him and the coaching staff."
Boardingham was 9-of-11 from the field, hit his only 3-pointer and was 4-of-7 from the free throw line.
His game included an array of post moves, a few jump shots and a trio of high-flying rebound slams.
"This has kind of been Daveon's M.O.," Zollinger added. "He played really big in the regional tournament last year and was kind of unstoppable there. He was really big in the regional tournament this year and the fact that he played well tonight is no surprise to me."
Boardingham had 13 of his points in the first half as Seward County took a 36-22 lead at halftime.
He then led a surge that put the game away after Wallace State pulled within 2 points in the second half.
"I tried to bring energy and a happy feeling to the court, keep my teammates smiling," Boardingham said. "You don't need to be playing with a frown."
Boardingham, a former Newark (NJ) Shabazz prep standout, is very guarded about his recruitment, but does say he has interest in Mike Anderson's Arkansas program.
"I really don't want to let my schools out right now, but I am interested in Arkansas and I feel like it would be a great fit for me if I end up playing there," Boardingham said. "I know they have a great program and have a great history.
"I believe they have a shot to be in the Final Four in the next few years with Coach Anderson," Boardingham added. "I have talked with the Arkansas coaches and I'm really looking forward to take a visit there."
Boardingham, who missed a month with a high ankle sprain this season, averaged 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds this season while playing 23 minutes per game.
"I love attacking the rim because I am a big, physical guy," Boardingham said. "I have to work on my balance and my ball-handling."
Seward moves on to face Columbia State Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
Zollinger is very happy for Broadingham.
"He is a great kid who is willing to compete, take instruction and is just a good guy, a good kid," Zollinger said. "For good things to happen to him just shows the world is a just place."
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