Jag Hoops Bag a Pair of Players

With only three scholarship seniors on this year's basketball team, the University of South Alabama has already gone a long way towards filling next season's needs with the commitment of two dynamic junior college players.

Traditional junior college basketball powerhouse Kankakee Community College will be helping complete USA's 2010 roster when they send power forward Anthony Young and combo guard Stefon Carson to Mobile next season. While both players offer a variety of skills for their particular positions, they both have one strength in common: The ability to score.

Young was a major part of Kankakee's 23-9 season last year with his 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game average. He shot 50.6% from the field, 37.2% on threes, and a robust 76.8% from the free throw line.

"Anthony is a very versatile player," said Kankakee head coach Joseph Lightfoot. "He's 6'6", about 260lbs, and he has the uncanny ability to be able to score in bunches on the block, he can score from the mid-rang area of the floor, and he can also step out and knock down the three with a pretty consistent percentage. He is pretty skilled, pretty gifted offensively. He uses his left and and his right hand equally well. Anthony has all of the skills and all of the tools to be an impact player offensively."

It will be interesting to see what sort of season Young has this year as last year he played at nearly 300lbs. An offseason dedicated to nutrition and conditioning enabled him to shed the weight and make himself an appealing Division 1 basketball recruit. Even with the weight loss, there are strengths and limitations at 260lbs.

"If he were a tremendous athlete, if he was about 240lbs with a 38-40" vertical leap, Anthony is skilled enough that he could get drafted," said Lightfoot. "He's not a tremendous athlete, but he rebounds well for his size. He knows how to positional rebound and he defends really well down on the block and in the paint, but obviously stepping out on the perimeter he's not as strong because being 260lbs trying to stay in front of a young man who weighs considerably less than that can be extremely challenging. But for his position as a power forward and guarding down in the trenches, he's pretty good at it."

Carson also was a significant part of Kankakee's success last year. A scoring point guard in high school, he played shooting guard for the Cavaliers last season as he averaged 14.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He shot an astounding 61.6% from the field, 65.5% from the line, and 36.7% on threes. At South Alabama he should be able to produce as either a scoring lead guard or a two guard.

"He is an awesome talent," said Coach Lightfoot. "God has tremendously blessed that kid. He's 5'11" and there is nothing offensively Stefon cannot do. He is a prolific scorer. Whenever Stefon steps on the floor you can put 20 points in the book. He's that gifted. One on one he's unguardable. This kid has every tool: He can knock the three down. He's so explosive he'll blow by you and get to the rim. He can dunk the basketball at 5'11" - in traffic. He has a mid-range game and his first step is so explosive. At the junior college level you get that quality of offensive player once every five or six years. He is an explosive offensive machine that can score in bunches and he's a pretty doggone good defender too. He's an all-Sun Belt conference guard. He'll dominate that conference." Since Coach Lightfoot was a former player at SBC member Western Kentucky, he knows what he's talking about.

With the return of veteran core and the addition of talented newcomers like Joe Lightfoot, the coach's son and one of the top prep players in Illinois last year, the Cavaliers are ranked #11 in the preseason nationally. Hopefully Carson and Young can lead Kankakee to great success in the junior college ranks this season and then do the the same for the Jaguars in the years to follow.

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