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March 17, 2011

NJCAA national tourney recap

Hutchinson, Kan.- Not surprisingly, the headlines of the sports world are currently dominated by the NCAA Tournament. However, Rivals.com spent the last two days in Hutchinson, Kan. for the first round of the NJCAA Division One National Tournament. Under the watchful eyes of NCAA coaches and a supportive community, the nation's top junior college teams played for a chance at a national title and college scholarships. St. John's signee Nurideen Lindsey was the most high profile player in attendance while Pierre Jackson emerged as perhaps the most wanted unsigned point guard in the country.

Top performers

Pierre Jackson, PG, College of Southern Idaho- Standing around 5-foot-10 -- maybe even a little smaller -- the sophomore point guard and native of Las Vegas is a big time athlete and ferocious competitor. He gets into the lane at will, is a terrific on the ball defender. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well on Wednesday, but his 42% numbers from three and 90% free throw shooting on the year suggest that won't be an issue. In an event that didn't feature many of them, he looked like a legitimate high major prospect.

Chris Evans, SF, Wabash Valley- Kent State looks to have gotten themselves a good one in the 6-foot-6 sophomore wing. He's got a good frame, elevates quickly around the rim for slams and is a threat as a jump shooter. His ball handling looked a little shaky, but overall he's got a solid wing game.

Guy Landry, SF, Midland College- One of the more impressive looking physical specimens at the NJCAA Tourney, the 6-foot-4 wing was very effective in his minutes. He knocked down some threes, used his athleticism around the rim and made some mid-range shots. He's not a guy who uses the dribble a bunch, but he defends and rebounds his position. Missouri, Missouri State, Wichita State, and Seton Hall were among names mentioned by his coaches as recruiting him.

Latraius Mosley, SF, Chatanooga State- Before an ankle injury ended his run a little short, the rail thin 6-foot-5 wing was off to a great start. He's a very good shooter from deep, an athletic finisher on the break and has soft touch on floaters. He's not the most physical guy and is more of a catch and shoot guy.

Ty Nurse, PG, Midland- One of the most highly recruited point guards in the junior college ranks, the native of Vancouver, British Columbia was solid. He doesn't wow with athleticism or flash, but he takes care of the ball, gets his team into their offense and makes some shots when needed. He's also an excellent free throw shooter which is huge during crunch time. He reported offers from Nebraska, Creighton, Santa Clara, Rhode Island and Sam Houston State.

Josh Mendenhall, PF/SF, Waycross College- An early signee for Western Carolina, he's a string bean 6-foot-7 combo forward. He motors from one end to another is quick off the floor and can handle the ball a bit. Pull-up jumpers are his favorite offensive weapon.

Kenny Buckner, C, College of Southern Idaho- Boise State has landed themselves a classic low post grinder. He's not the most athletic guy around, but he's big, strong and works his tail off in the lane. Works the glass for rebounds, uses his width to establish position in the lane and converts around the basket.

Nurideen Lindsey, PG/SG, Redlands- The St. John's signee was a scoring machine during his day's at Overbrook High in Philly and has lit up scoreboards during junior college. Foul trouble and tremendous defensive pressure from CSI's guards got him off to a bad start but he rebounded. His first step is elite and he gets to the rim in a hurry and plays with lots of fire. There's lots of NBA talk circulating but we will have to see about that down the road. Providing he arrives in NYC, he should be an instant and major contributor for Steve Lavin.

Christian Farmer, SG, Tallahassee- One of the more impressive freshman who saw action, the 6-foot-4 lefty is a good looking offensive player. He easily creates space off of the dribble and raises quickly to knock down jumpers. Plays with confidence and should be monitored closely headed into his sophomore year.

Vernon Payne, SF, Cape Fear- A lean 6-foot-6 small forward, he was active in defeat to Tallahassee. He stepped up and knocked down long jumpers, elevated for alley-oop finishes and was active on the glass.

Orlando Sanchez, PF, Monroe College- In terms of prospects, he was probably the best big man prospect we saw in attendance. A lean, 6-foot-8 freshman who is a native of the Dominican Republic, he's a high level run and jump athlete. Around the rim he contests shots, crashes the glass and scores when given opportunity. Upper level mid-majors to high majors will monitor his progress.

Deonte Alexander, East Mississippi- Far and away the best player on his team, the 6-foot-1 sophomore probably projects as a point or combo guard when he makes the Division One transition. However, for his team he has to play off the ball because of his scoring. A tough kid with a good looking jumper and some clever maneuvers off of the dribble.

Neil Watson, Kevin Broussard, Stacy Wilson, Guards, Coffeyville- It's hard to pick just one of Coffeyville's effective guard trio that teamed up to knock off the nation's top ranked team, Missouri-State West Plains. Watson is a skinny freshman point who runs the show and pushes the tempo, while Broussard is an athletic and tough six foot combo guard who shares the ball and doesn't make many mistakes. Wilson is an athletic 6-foot-3 wing who knocks down some shots and plays defense.

Final NJCAA notes and notables

Ideally he'll continue to adjust to playing the point as a sophomore, but freshman Ian Chiles of Wabash Valley is a good looking combo guard. Has good athleticism and can score off of the dribble or catch. … Florida International pledge Myron Dempsey of Redlands College is really more undersized four man than small forward at about 6-foot-5. However, the sophomore is a big time athlete, plays with passion and makes things happen around the rim and in transition. … Tallahassee sophomore big man Richard Anderson is a guy that people have known about since he was a Saint Louis high schooler. At 6-foot-8 he's got a great frame, pretty soft hands and can score around the rim. Should be able to help on the upper mid major level. … Cape Fear guard Tavares Speaks had a rough day from the field in a loss to Tallahasee, but he looks to have talent. Mid majors in need of an aggressive driver could probably find some help from him. …

Another good looking freshman at Monroe College in New York is 5-foot-9 point guard Drimir Ferguson. He's a little smallish, but plays with heart and can knock down pull-up jumpers … Lamar State-Port Arthur sophomore point guard Vonn Jones was one of the most steady guys in Hutchinson. Coaches will like the way he takes care of the ball, gets teammates involved and pays attention on the defensive end. … His shot selection leaves a little to be desired at times, but thin point guard Jordan Aaron of Southeastern Iowa can take and make them from deep. The thin freshman is also pretty good at penetrating the lane and creating for others off of the dribble. … Finally, we had to go way into the memory banks to recall the last time we saw Western Wyoming combo forwardTrevin Harris. A 6-foot-6 freshman, Harris was actually a member of the high school class of 2007 who has been out of action the past few years after taking his Mormon mission. He's a clever player around the rim, shoots well and plays with intelligence. …


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