Shelton State 74 Southwestern Illinois 70
Highland 96 Mississippi Gulf Coast 85
Navarro 69 Allegany 58
Lamar 77 North Dakota State College of Science 64
Connors State 83 Garden City
Midland 95 South Georgia Technical College- 73
Chris Hines, PF, Southwestern Illinois-Signed to play at Alabama, he's a long and swift four man who scores it with efficiency around the hoop. Spins for jump hooks, sweeps the glass on either end and runs the floor well. At the end of the day, it's his quickness in the lane that makes him a problem. Whoever the Crimson Tide tabs as their next boss, they will no doubt be interested in retaining his services.
LaJay Sears, SG/PG, Shelton State- A confident kid who excels when operating off the dribble, he can get into the lane and finish. Willing to sit back and pick his spots, he's a 6-2 athlete who demonstrates exceptional body control. He contorts to finish, handles the ball a bit and generated some buzz with mid level schools.
Steven Shepp, PG, Allegany- There's no way that you can watch Shepp play and not be a fan. He shoots with range, passes with creativity and is one tough dude. Throws his body around with reckless abandon and gets the job done. Heading into Hutch, Shepp said he'd received calls from the likes of Gardner Webb, Longwood, Cleveland State and High Point. After a pair of fine outings, there will be some new area codes popping up on Shepp's caller id.
Stephon Weaver, SG/PG, Connors State- Against Garden City, this 6-3 combo guard was the deejay and he was giving opponents a healthy dose of the blues. Comfortable creating his offense off the dribble, he hits just enough shots from deep to keep defenders on their toes. Also capable of making some plays for others
Ridge McKeither, PF, North Dakota State College of Science- Athletic and quick in the lane, he's a bit undersized at 6-5. Pounds the glass on the offensive end, runs the floor and can play above the rim if needed. He can face up bigger defenders for one and two dribble drives from about 15 feet but is in his comfort zone around the rim. Went for 23 and 17 in NDSCS' tourney ending loss.
Eric Frederick, PF, Highland- Talk about an intense competitor. Stashed at Highland by the TCU staff, Frederick is a complete and total animal in the lane. He's going to try and dunk the ball every time he touches it and if you try and body him up he'll try and dunk you as well. He sprints the floor and leads teammates by example. Went for 21 and nine on 8-10 shooting from the field in 26 minutes of action.
C.J. Washington, PF, Connors State- A redshirt freshman, he's a guy who could have three years available to him on the next level with a strong finish in the classroom. Long and lean, he can score on either side of the lane, runs the floor and has terrific hands. He catches everything that goes his way and has the type of frame that could easily carry an additonal 10-15 pounds of muscle. Upper level mid majors want him now and high majors may want to check him out before it's all said and done. Finished his afternoon with 13 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.
Thomas Manzano, SG, Garden City- While he struggled (9-26) from the field, it'd be tough to quibble with the Wyoming signee's effort level. An explosively athletic lefty, you can pretty much bet that he's going to put the ball on the floor and do everything in his power to get to the rim. His right hand needs development, but he's an exceptional offensive rebounder at 6-foot-3.
Valparaiso looks to have landed themselves a nice combo guard in Highland's Brandon Wood. A good athlete who can put the ball on the floor or step outside to knock some jumpers, he does a little bit of everything in the backcourt. … For a while, it looked like Mississippi Gulf Coast was going to lose by 40 points. Trailing by over 30 and looking like they'd rather be anywhere else something final clicked with about 12 minutes to go. They came up short, but the effort displayed to cut the lead down to as few as seven points during a comeback attempt was impressive. …
We mentioned him during Wednesday's coverage, but Lamar PG Odo Adelgboye was excellent again on Thursday. A long and quick lefty with wiry strength, the 6-1 native of London projects as a mid level prospect. … We see events all over the country and the natives of Hutchinson rank pretty highly in terms of the pride they take in hosting the NJCAA tourney each March. … Finally, a special thanks goes out to media coordinator Jim Stringer. With 40 years of experience under his belt, spending a little time talking juco history with him is a must. …
Faces In The Crowd
With the NCAA tournament starting on Thursday and every team having already played at least one time, the crowd of coaches thinned out from Wednesday. There were, however, still a few head coaches in the house. Missouri State (Cuonzo Martin), Pepperdine, Montana (Wayne Tinkle), Colorado State, Southern Illinois, IPFW (Dane Fife), Wyoming (Heath Schroyer), New Orleans (Joe Pasternak), George Mason, Cleveland State, Manhattan, South Alabama, Ohio (John Groce).
Quotable "C'mon man, we just gettin into rhythm." Mississippi Gulf Coast point guard Justin Ray to his head coach after calling a timeout during a MSG run that had cut Highland's lead from 35 to 23 with 9:45 to go.