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They Almost Made It

Democrat File Photo by Ted Waddell

SCCC’S DANA HOLMES puts up a shot over a Westchester Community College defender during a game this past season.

SCCC Finishes
Top-Flight Year

By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE — April 15, 2003 – A few weeks ago, Chad Beeten, second year coach of the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals men’s basketball team, was tabbed by his NJCAA Region XV peers as the Coach of Year.
“It didn’t feel too good at the time, because we lost the championship,” Beeten said. “I would have gladly traded it for winning the championship.
“It felt good to be voted on by the other coaches in the region, as it was an honor from my peers,” he added. “It only means we won a lot of games, and I owe it to my players. The last place coach never gets Coach of the Year.”
Beeten said it was a great season, especially in light of having a trio of returning sophomores flanked by nine freshmen.
The Generals racked up a 23-4 record in regular season play, and were 25-4 for the year as they defeated their first two opponents in the regional championships before falling to Suffolk County Community College (32-1), a team they beat earlier in the season.
“It was an extremely tough schedule,” said Beeten. “Record-wise, we did a lot better than we anticipated, but unfortunately we lost in the regional championships.”
“It was a great game with a lot of hype, but unfortunately they were better that day than us,” SCCC Assistant Coach Chris DePew said. “It was a gut wrenching loss, it was a tearful end. I felt bad for our sophomores who were really into the game, and who gave it their all to lead us there.”
“I give tons of credit to the freshmen, because they fought to the very end,” added DePew. “They never said die.”
Polishing up his crystal ball for a peek into the hoops future, DePew thinks the 2003-2004 SCCC basketball season will be successful.
“We think it’s going to be an excellent season,” he said. “We have nine guys coming back and a couple of superstar recruits.”
On the top of the Generals’ list of high school superstars is Kyle Humphrey of Tri-Valley Central School, who recently sailed past the 1,000-point barrier on the way to eclipsing the school’s record for total points scored.
“If everything goes our way, Kyle will be with us next year,” DePew said. “He would be a fantastic addition, not only as a local player who has a serious game, but as a significant contributor . . . the kid can shoot the basketball!”
DePew said that in “thousands of conversations with coach [Chad] Beeten, we think the only reason we weren’t at the nationals was that we didn’t have a pure shooter . . . and that’s what Kyle brings to the table.”
“He can shoot it without having to think about it, he just makes the shots,” DePew said. “He’s a kid that consistently gets the three-point shot.”
After practice starts in October, it’s off to Flordia for the Generals as they have signed up for the Panhandle Conference Classic, a tourney that pits five Panhandle schools against five schools from around the country.
“It’s a big-time tourney,” DePew said. “It’s a great opportunity for these kids to get some serious exposure.”
Asked to compare the 2001-2002 team to the 2002-2003 squad, Beeten said the team of two years ago was only about six or seven deep on the bench, while this season, “we consistently went 11 deep.”
Last year, the more experienced team already had a taste of playing in championship games.
Beeten said this season’s team had more talent top to bottom.
“I think we’ll be back next year competing for the Region XV championship, and hopefully be tops in the country,” Beeten said.

The 2002-2003 Generals
• Darius Waters – sophomore tri-captain from New Utrecht High School/Monroe Community College, NJCAA Region XV All-Star Third Team.
“A great year. Played the second semester with a broken index finger of his left hand,” Beeten said. “One of our go-to guys. We designed the team so he would average a lot of points, but because a lot of our freshmen stepped up and played bigger roles than we anticipated, his stats decreased . . . but that was because he wanted to get everybody else involved and he improved as a player because of it and was still our leading scorer.”
• Dana Holmes – sophomore tri-captain from Baldwin High School.
“Came off the bench for us as the second guard. Had a very good year, but struggled a little bit and didn’t play the first two games, then came on real strong. Brought us a lot of energy off the bench.”
• Wygene McCants – sophomore tri-captain from Gompers High School.
“Started on the perimeter for us and had a tremendous year. Not the kind of guy who’s going to knock you over with his stats, but any coach worth his salt would realize he helped us become 25-5. A leader. Took all the tough jobs and did all the little things you want a guy to do. Sacrificed himself for the team.”
• Haron Hargrave – freshman from Campus Magnet High School, NJCAAA Region XV All-Star Second Team.
“Had a tremendous year. Highest vote getter on the second team . . . just missed by one point making the first team. Without a doubt, should have been on the first team. Best point guard in the region. Did everything we needed him to do. Was the backup at the beginning of the year, but when the starter [Makail Malik] got hurt in the second game of the season, stepped into that role.”
• Mikail Malik – freshman from Spingarn High School. “Out for the first semester after he got banged up in the second game of the year. Tremendous player. Ended up coming back as an off-guard starter. His point production wasn’t as good as he’s capable of, but he learned other parts of the game.”
• Darren Sykes – freshman from New Utrecht High School.
“Had an up and down year, but all in all had a very good season. His biggest goal is to be more consistent next season, especially with his shooting. Helped win a lot of big games. Brings us the ability to get to the basket against anybody.”
• Gary Jones – freshman from Boys and Girls High School, NJCAA Region XV All-Star Second Team. “Second in votes on the Second Team. Kept coming off the bench at post. Kept getting better and better, and forced us to start him. He played so well, that we just couldn’t keep him out of the starting lineup.”
• Dante Griggs – freshman from Chester High School.
“Up and down year like a lot of freshmen. Started early in the year, then came off the bench. He learned a lot and kept getting better and better. Looking to have a great season next year. Helped us win games.”
• Joseph McLeod – freshman from Pacific High School.
“#Another post guy who came off the bench. Probably going to wind up being the most improved player on the team [and] made tremendous improvement in his game. Missed the first five or six games of the seasom due to an injury. Came off the bench and did great things for us. Our toughness guy, a relentless rebounder. Should have extremely strong season next year.”
• Glenn Davis – freshman from Berkshire High School/Lee High School.
“Our sixth man for most of the second half of the year and probably should have started, but liked coming off the bench better. That just shows you his unselfishness. Brought a lot of energy off the bench. Made big plays in all the big games when it was close. Anytime we needed a big defensive play or rebound, he got it.”
• Nathaniel Jean-Baptiste – freshman from Church of God Christian Academy.
“Didn’t play a lot, was more of a practice guy. Never played high school basketball. Worked hard in practice, and brought us a lot of energy. Made the guys ahead of him better because he worked harder than everybody else. Should get some playing time next year.”
• Keith Bussey – freshman from Canarsie High School.
“Played minutes up and down. Some games he played minutes, other games not at all . . . that was just due to his being a freshman. Not quite as strong as the other guys, but has a lot of talent and ability. Should be a really good contributor for us next year if he keeps up the hard work.”

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