REGION V NORTH TEXAS
There were some notable coaching changes in Region V men’s basketball in the offseason.
Steve Green — a member of the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame — posted a record of 706-192 at South Plains before leaving to become an assistant coach at Texas Tech.
Taking over for Green at South Plains (21-12, 11-5) is Hayden Sowers. South Plains brings back guard Jaden Harris, center Kalifa Sakho and center Malek Abdeloward. Sakho was the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
South Plains adds DI transfers guard Ismail Habib (UTRGV), 6-6 win Muon Reath (San Diego), guard Jalen Scott (Colorado State), guard Elijah Tate (UAB) and guard Nikita Evdokimov (College of Charleston). South Plains also added 7-3 center Romaric Magnan of Togo.
“It’s good to be back in the gym,” Sowers said. “The energy is great. We have a bunch of kids that love to work and want to be coached. This is a fun group to be around. We have a good mix of veterans and rookies that are all chomping at the bit for the season to start.”
Tra Arnold returns to the junior college ranks to take over at Midland (12-17, 5-11). Arnold was at Blinn from 2005-12, serving as the head coach from 2009-12. He then posted a 159-32 record as the head coach at Odessa College. Arnold has recently served on DI staffs at Iona, Samford and Tarleton State.
“I have a young family and got tired of moving around,” Arnold said. “I also missed running my own program and dictating my own schedule. Midland is a great job, and I feel like we have a chance to be successful here.”
Among the returners for Midland are Trent Johnson, Christian Villegas and Jaden Henderson. Scott Raines left Howard College after nine seasons.
Howard (16-12, 8-8) will now be under the direction of Kyle Cooper (52-36), who is a former assistant coach at Tarleton State University and was also the head coach at Western Texas College.
Among the newcomers for Howard are guard Josiah Freeman (Western Michigan), guard Lerenzo Ford, guard Donae Horne (Eastern Oklahoma State), forward Deng Mayer, guard Kavion McClain, forward Kwo Agwa and guard Darrius Davis.
In the Region V Dallas Athletic Conference, 2021-22 NJCAA DIII Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year Tim McGraw — a recent inductee into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame — departed at North Lake to go be an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech.
Josh Mills takes over at North Lake (25-7, 9-1), which returns guard Darion Jones (13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds), forward Da’Ryan Williams, forward Terrance Sanders and guard Ori Limbrick.
Ryan Pondant, a former Hallsville High School standout, transfers in from Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Back in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference, Clarendon (8-21, 3-13) will look to move out of last place under head coach Hunter Jenkins.
Clarendon returns guard Omar Cooper (9.0 points, 4.0 assists). Clarendon adds forward Jamal West (South Alabama), guard Josiah Fuclher (Bowling Green) and 7-1 center Jeriah Coleman. Odessa (28-7, 16-0) will look to have another strong season under veteran head coach Kris Baumann.
In the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference, McLennan (25-5, 12-2) will look to repeat at the top of the conference.
Under head coach Kevin Gill (654-168 overall, 487-135 overall), the Highlanders return guard CJ Hall (9.5 points, 2.2 assists) and forward Khalif Allim. McLennan adds two players from Ranger — guard Jared Clawson and guard Jaylen Thompson.
Hill (21-10, 9-5) was in second under head coach Swede Trenkle (330-204). Hill returns guard Muhamed Kante. Hill adds 16 newcomers, including guard Isiaha Randolf, guard Gob Gob, forward Solomon Kuole, guard Deng Atak, forward Charles Okafor, forward Chuil Bayak and forward Sheer Akot.
Temple (20-11, 8-6) will look to continue to have success under head coach Clifton Ellis (25-25 at Temple, 392-158 overall). Temple returns guard Justin Collins (7.0 points, 7.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals), guard Kino Thompson (10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds), guard Jaedaun Slack (13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds) and forward Tawab Kokumo.
Newcomers for Temple include several transfers — guard Anthony Scott, guard Jordyn Arnette, 6-9 forward Desmond Green (Strength N’ Motion International), guard John Muhammad, guard Adrian Cohen, guard Braelon Seals (Blinn), forward Norman Beckford, forward Jefferson Morris and forward Ugochukwu Ejifor Jr.
Ranger (15-13, 5-9) welcomes in head coach TJ Cox, who was previously an assistant at Dodge City Community College. Ranger brings back guard Tayton Conerway (18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists). Cox brings forward Mykell Robinson (9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds) with him from Dodge City.
Weatherford (15-13, 5-9) enters year two under head coach Chris Lewis. Weatherford returns Kenyan Russell (7.2 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Yash Mattu. Weatherford adds DI transfers Joey Madimba (Tarleton State), Collin Plummer (Houston Baptist) and Jaden Kennedy (Campbell). Rodney Johnson also comes in from Panola.
In Region XIV, Kilgore (31-3, 17-2) tied for the top spot with Lee (27-6, 17-2). The Rangers earned a bye at the NJCAA Tournament and defeated South Plains 56-48 before falling to Triton 76-65 in the national quarterfinals.
For head coach Brian Hoberecht, Kilgore brings back guard DaVeon Thomas (12.0 points), guard Isaac Hoberecht (7.0 points), wing Tobias Roland and 7-1 post Mamadou Gueye. Newcomers include post Dorian Benford, forward Kingsley Ijeoma, guard CJ Luster), wing Joe Manning, wing Michael Miller, forward Terrance Dixon and forward Tyree Davis.
“We are excited about the talent, character and work ethic of this group,” Hoberecht said. “We have tremendous experience coming back in the three guards that all played in the national tournament last year.”
Panola (22-10, 12-7) welcomes in Bradley University assistant coach Mike Nesbitt as its new head coach after Aaron Smith left to join the staff at Louisiana Tech.
Panola brings in a new roster that includes transfers guard Marcus Greene and guard Kyndall Davis.
“We are excited about the group that we put together for this year,” Nesbitt said. “With 14 new players on campus, it will be important to get them gelling and on the same page quickly in the fall.”
Under head coach Lance Madison (182-126), Lamar State-Port Arthur (20-12, 11-8) brings in a new roster. The Seahawks add guard Deuce Guidry (Texas State), guard Cameron Jones), 5-10 guard Cory Ruben), guard Ray Ford Jr., guard John Gaines II and forward Avontez Ledet (Lamar).
Tyler (14-16, 9-10) is set for a new season under Hall of Fame head coach Mike Marquis (697-332). The Apaches bring back guard Corey Camper Jr. (12.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists), guard Marcus Rigsby Jr. and forward Taban Bullen. Tyler adds lMatt Wade, guard Jarren Cook (Sam Houston State), Dariyus Woodson and Jornah Nesmith.
Trinity Valley (13-17, 7-12) is under the direction of head coach Mark Leslie. The Cardinals feature Kevin Pruit, MJ Leslie, Quevian Adger, Micah Clark, 6-9 forward Devyn Franklin, guard Makhi Dorsey, 6-11 center Jarred Hall and Aliou Cisse.
Months before the season, the NJCAA announced a new partnership with ESPN to show junior college games on ESPN platforms, meaning there will be opportunities for Texas junior college programs to have games televised or shown on ESPN+ throughout the season.
“Having our games televised would be a great opportunity for our college and our student-athletes to gain more exposure,” Ranger coach Cox said. “It would also give fans the chance to see how good NJCAA basketball is and gain more fans for our colleges.”