JuCo Nationals: First Report

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Thursday morning, the Big Dance tips. White and blue collar workers alike will suddenly develop scratchy throats or headaches as they look to find ways to escape work and get caught up in March Madness. Here at Hutch, we join the tournament in progress.

Scout.com arrived on the second day of the tournament to find plenty of noteworthy performers and guys that we'll be hearing much more about as the spring signing period approaches.

The Games

South Georgia Technical College 91 Navarro 89 (OT)

Midland 67 Allegany 50

Southwest Tennessee 87 Cape Fear 61

Chipola 82 Lamar 66

Salt Lake CC 91 North Dakota Science 55

Class of 2009 Checklist

P.J. Reyes, SG, Lamar- Some guys look the part the second they step on the floor. Then, there's guys like Reyes who win over coaches with production and effort. His jumper is a bit flat, but it goes in often enough that defenders can't afford to back off of him and dare him to shoot. Crafty off the dribble, sound in his fundamentals and capable of putting up points in a hurry. He made his mark on mid level programs in search of a steady perimeter contributor.

Greg Hill, SG, Midland- Thanks to his quick release and deep range, Hill has emerged as a priority shooter that mid level schools are hoping to keep away from the big boys. Committed to Purdue out of high school, he's got a developed mid range game and plenty of confidence. Built for contact, he's a relatively sure ball handler who is wired to score from between 15 and 22 feet.

Jeremy Williams, PF/SF, Southwest Tennessee CC- A Memphis native who started his career at Colorado, the versatile forward is a solid pickup for UTEP. His jumper wasn't clicking on Wednesday, but it's easy to see why coaches trust him facing and firing from 15 feet. Runs and jumps with the best of them and is a combo forward capable of filling all sorts of columns on a stat sheet.

Gary Flowers, SF/PF, Chipola- Is it just us, or has this guy been around forever. After bursting on the scene as an underclassmen in the Dallas Mustangs grassroots program, the lythe forward likely possesses as much natural ability as any prospect in the junior college ranks. A high major talent all the way, he dunked in traffic and buried several mid-range jumpers as Chipola overcame a sluggish start to advance to the semifinals.

Kavon Lytch, PF, Midland- Simply put, guys like this junkyard dog front liner have every opportunity to advance their recruitment a level. Ideally he'd be a little bigger, but at 6-7 (and that is likely generous), he's willing to scrape in the paint. He racked up double digit rebounds in limited minutes due to foul trouble and is an excellent passer.

Dathan Lyles, PG, Salt Lake CC- Simply looking at a stat sheet, Lyles isn't a guy who jumps off the page. But, college coaches took note of the way he ran his team with ease and efficiency. He defended, distributed and drove his way into the hearts of mid level coaches looking for a solid and tough floor general as SLCC advanced to the Final Four.

Class of 2010 Checklist

Malcolm Armstead, PG, Chipola- Over the past couple of months, our phone has been ringing off the hook as schools looking for a guy to run the show scour the country. A lefty with a strong build, Armstead is emerging as one of the most sought after floor generals in the country. He makes good decisions, bounces off defenders and is particularly dangerous in pick and roll situations. Dropped off 10 dimes while adding 12 points to only three turnovers.

D.J. Wright, SF, Salt Lake CC- After averaging nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds a game during the regular season, the Canadian import has taken his game to a new level. A dangerous shooter with deep range, he banged home deep triples and found his way to the free throw line thanks to his moxy and ability to draw contact. Cleaned the glass on both ends and was impressive as anybody in the gym during a 30 point and 11 rebound effort.

Jae Crowder, SF, South Georgia Technical College- Thanks to strong shoulders and a willingness to scrap, he finished with and through contact on a regular basis. Not the purest of shooters, he got into the lane and made plays with the game on the line. As he develops his perimeter skill set, mid to upper level mid major programs should be happy to track his progress.

Scout's Seat

Host school Hutchinson Community College announced the hiring of Steve Eck as their new men's basketball coach on Wednesday. Well known for building Wichita (KS) South high school into a national power during the late 80's and early 90's, Eck leaves the same post at Cowley County Community College to assume his duties for the Blue Dragons. Eck has also had stops as the head coach at Redlands College, Butler County Community College and an assistant stint at UMKC. … Talk about a wild ending, South Georgia Technical College's Paul Mitchell -- the small forward, not the hairdresser -- looked to have come up with a game saving and clean shot block of Navarro guard Matt Pressey's wild dash and drive the length of the court as the buzzer sounded. Instead, a trailing official ran in from halfcourt to make a controversial goaltending call to send the game to overtime. Mitchell would ultimately have his moment when his tip with just .5 seconds to go delivered SGTC's 91-89 first round win. …

It's hard not to crack a smile or two as you watch Allegany College combo guard Steven Shepp. A mad bomber from deep who can also make some plays for others, he looks to be locking himself into a division scholarship offer and perhaps playing himself onto the lower mid major level with his ability to create and hit from deep. ... As it turns out, Jeremy Williams isn't the only Southwest Tennessee player going to UTEP next season. Joining him in El Paso next season will be fellow Memphis native – and former Hamilton High standout -- Myron Strong. A 6-2 combo guard, Strong scores it around the rim and has just enough pop with his jumper to keep defenders honest. … Standing about 6-6, Jeremy Rodgers of Southwest Tennessee is a widebody bruiser. Clever in the post, he's got grown man game and strength around the rim and should be able to help somebody out next year. It's certainly hard to argue with his Wednesday production. 18 points and 14 rebounds, 10 of them on the offensive end, in just 20 minutes is getting it done on any level. …

Based on our conversations with college coaches, point guards are probably in as good a spot to help themselves out as anybody in Hutch. Countless schools are looking for floor generals and there just aren't many to be had. Because of that, a guy like DeAndre Brown of Navarro is auditioning for mid and even some high major programs. Solidly built and quick to the rim, he's got a scorer's mentality and can be a good playmaker if he stays under control. …

Considered by some to be the top player in the junior college ranks, Chipola's Casey Mitchell got off to a cold 0-6 start from the field as his future head coach Bob Huggins looked on. Thanks to a buzzer beating three to end the first half, Mitchell got it dialed in during the second half connecting on 5-7 shots en route to a 19 point and five rebound outing. A shooter by trade, he's worked hard to shave around 20 pounds off his frame and will be counted on to strip the nets from deep at West Virginia. … With several eyes focused on Malcolm Armstead, Lamar PG Odo Adelgboye earned himself some admirers. A native of London, he's a jet quick lefty who knows his strengths -- passing off the dribble and making opportunistic drives to the hoop – and doesn't try to do anything out of his comfort zone or the offense. His sideways stance on line drive jumpers is a bit awkward, but he fires in just enough of them to keep defenders honest. 16 points, five rebounds and five assists put him on the mid major radar. …

School Lists

Kavon Lytch listed Iowa State, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Kent State, St. John's, St. Bonaventure, Texas Tech and UAB among others. … Chipola's Malcolm Armstead is emerging as perhaps the most heavily recruited junior college plyaer of the spring and rattled off a list of St. John's, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Washington State and Wichita State among others. He plans to take all five visits this spring and says that Kentucky and St. John's are pretty much locks to get visits. … A teammate of Armstead's at Chipola, Justin Brownlee listed St. John's (where he's taken a visit), Oklahoma State and UNC Charlotte as the schools showing him the most interest.

Faces In The Crowd

The Hutchinson Sports Arena comfortably seats somewhere in the neighborhood of 7500 fans. Because of the arena's size, the college coaches were spread out all over but we did our best to identify some of the schools represented by staffers in Hutch. According to those on press row, the crowd had thinned a bit on Wednesday but a few laps around the arena mid-day revealed a sizeable contingent of assistant and head coaches in the house.

Among those on hand were Southern Illinois (Chris Lowery), Cincinnati (Mick Cronin), Ole Miss, North Texas, Campbell, Central Michigan (Donnie Daniels), Long Beach State, Detroit, Eastern Illinois, Wright State, Nebraska, UMKC, Missouri State (Cuonzo Martin), Colorado, Murray State, Iowa (Todd Lickliter), Georgia State (Rod Barnes), UAB, Louisiana Monroe, Kent State, Southern Utah, Utah State, Colorado State, South Alabama, Oral Roberts, Albany, TCU, Alabama (Phillip Pearson), Charlotte (Bobby Lutz), Northwestern State, Middle Tennessee State, Wichita State, South Florida, St. John's, New Orleans, Centenary, San Diego, Idaho State (Joe O'Bryan), Northern Colorado, Manhattan, UTEP (Tony Barbee), Iowa State, Nevada, George Mason, Boise State, Central Arkansas, Arkansas State, East Carolina, Towson State, UNC-Wilmington, Longwood, Winston-Salem State, Oklahoma State, Loyola Marymount, West Virginia (Bob Huggins), Southern Mississippi (Larry Eustachy), Washington State (Tony Bennett), N.C. State, Oregon, Gardner Webb, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, St. Francis, Ohio (John Groce).

Scout Hoops Top Stories