Brazil has produced its share of great athletes through the years, most notably in soccer and Formula 1 racing, with a few reaching Legend status, names like Pele', Fittipaldi, Ronaldo and Senna. But recently Brazil has become a hotbed for elite basketball talent as well, talent that has been lottery picks in the NBA draft.
J.P. Batista was selected as a 2nd team All-American by the NJCAA. Batista was a key reason the Barton County Cougars finished the season in the Region VI Championship game before ending its year with a 25-9 mark one game short of the school's 4th NJCAA Tournament appearance.
Batista led Barton with a 20.2 scoring average this season and a 9.2 rebounding average. The 6-9, 270-pound post player also hit better than 62 percent of his shots from the floor – 266-of-428 for a .621 clip. In limited efforts from beyond the arc, Batista hit 10-of-22 for .455. He also shot very well from the free throw line, hitting 145-of-188 for .771. He was able to post 15 double-doubles in Barton's 34 games.
During Jayhawk West play, Batista picked it up another notch, averaging 21.2 and 10.2 rebounds. He posted 10 of his 15 double-doubles during those 16 games, including a stretch of 7 in a row at one point. Three times this season Batista topped the 30-point, with a high of 32 at Northeastern and in the Jayhawk ShootOut against Allen County. During one stretch in conference action he scored more than 20 points in 10 of 12 games. He ended the season by making his final 29 free throws, including a 17-of-17 effort against Cowley County in the Region VI Quarterfinals that put him in the Barton County record books for most free throws made in a game without a miss. The 17 free throws made tie him for 2nd all-time in a single game at Barton.
Said Barton County CC coach Dave "Soupy" Campbell, "It is a very deserving honor for a young man that averaged a double-double in Jayhawk Conference play. He was as steady as the rock of Gibraltar. You could count on him every night. He came to work every night."
Photos courtesy of Barton County Community College.
Joao Paul (J.P.) Batista came from Brazil and went to Juco powerhouse Barton County CC in Kansas to play in the country's toughest Juco conference, the Jayhawk Conference. A big, mobile, wide-bodied power forward who scores over 20 points per game while grabbing almost 10 boards per game, Batista is a natural for filling the void in the paint left behind by Cory Violette.
A record setting free-throw shooter (17-17 in one game), a solid 3-point shooter, and a beast inside shooting over 62% from the field, with two years of American hoops under his belt, it's another brilliant "under the radar" get by the Gonzaga staff. With Ronny Turiaf likely returning, Sean Mallon returning, Josh Heytvelt and Calum MacLeod entering the GU program, there were no real bangers and only one upperclassman in Turiaf. Batista not only fills an obvious need inside but also adds experience and enough depth upfront to give the youngsters time to fully develop without being tossed into the fire too soon.
Welcome to Gonzaga, Joao Paul.