By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE April 6, 2004 We didnt reach our goals of winning the regional and national championships, but I cant complain about going 26 and 7 for the season, said Sullivan County Community College mens basketball Coach Chris DePew.
People are looking at it as an unsuccessful year, but it was a successful year, he said of the 2003-04 hoops season at SCCC. Just because we didnt win the national championship, doesnt necessarily mean we had a bad year.
DePew said that while the Generals fell short of winning the Region XV title and moving on up the line to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Championship Tournament at SUNY Delhi, he was pleased with the teams ability to stay with the elite considering the changes weve made in the coaching situation in the last few years.
After taking the conference title, SCCC lost to Suffolk County College 91-86 on February 28 in the semifinals of the NJCAA Region XV tournament that was hosted by the local community college Down in the Bunker at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
Suffolk CC won the Region XV title and then went on to win the NJCAA Division III national championship on March 13 at SUNY Delhi.
Sometimes you dont get what you want, DePew said.
At the start of the season, for the first time in years, Sullivan had a couple of local kids on the roster: Jon Hinton, a graduate of Fallsburg Central School, and Monticellos Geraldo Fernandez. But poor grades kept both hoopsters from making it past the first semester marking period.
On the plus side, all five SCCC sophomores are scheduled to graduate and may very well move on basketball scholarships with offers on the table. Those players are Keith Bussey, Dante Griggs, Gary Jones, Joseph McLeod and Darren Sykes.
DePew said that if all seven freshman suit up next season, the four players who sat out the season show up and recruiting goes as planned, We should be OK; were looking to reload next year.
In 2003-2004, the Generals were ranked first in the nation in points allowed, yielding an average of just 60.1 points per game. Offensively, SCCC averaged 92.6 points per contest.
Following is DePews review of the 2003-2004 Generals:
LeMichael Allen (freshman from Copiague High School) Our point guard . . . had some academic trouble this fall and wasnt with us in the spring . . . hopes he gets his studies together.
Personal stats: 12.4 points per game (ppg), 6.1 rebounds per game (rpg), 9.4 assists per game (apg) and 4.2 steals per game (spg).
Johnathan Bentley (freshman from Brooklyn) One of our most improved players . . . a very athletic kid . . . got better and better throughout the year . . . very gifted defensively and good energy . . . looking for him to get into the weight room and work on his ball handling so he can be a positive contributor next year.
Stats: 4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.6 spg.
John Bervine (freshman from Amityville High School) Hope he takes full advantage of our strength and conditioning program . . . comes from a very successful high school program . . . looking at him to continue to concentrate on improving and earning the playing time he felt he should have gotten this year.
Stats: 2.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.2 apg.
Keith Bussey (co-captain, sophomore from Brooklyn) Had a great year for us . . . always played [against] the teams best defensive player . . . role player and leader . . . a lot of interest from Division I and II schools . . . graduating with a 3.0 grade point average.
Stats: 13.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.7 spg.
Wayne Coward (freshman from Copiague High School) Our most talented freshman . . . looking for big things from him . . . came in at the end of the year and had to play out of his position because of all our injuries, a very quick learner in post play . . . a natural three-man . . . looking at him to be one of our leaders next year . . . one of our main go-to guys.
Stats: 10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.7 apg.
Daishawn Fowler (freshman from Brooklyn) One of our point guards this year; got behind the eight ball a little bit with an injury . . . worked his way into the lineup . . . a great defensive player . . . looking at him to work on his offensive game and come back to be a major contributor to our program next year.
Stats: 5.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.3 spg.
Dante Griggs (co-captain, sophomore from Chester) A good leader for us . . . has Division I interest from Buffalo State and several Division II schools interested in his services.
Stats: 12.1 ppg, 13.4 rpg.
Ghiles Jackson (freshman from Brooklyn) One of our most improved players . . . backup point guard; when LeMichael went out, he stepped into the starting role . . . ended up being a very solid point guard for us . . . if he stays focused and works on his game over the summer, looking for big things from him next summer.
Stats: 6.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 5.8 apg and 1.7 spg.
Gary Jones (sophomore from Brooklyn) Missed half the season with a broken foot . . . were going to miss his athletism and size (6 feet 7 inches).
Stats: 17.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg.
Joseph McLeod (co-captain, sophomore from Brooklyn) His physical presence will be sorely missed . . . one of our high flyers . . . one of the people we went to when we needed a big bucket . . . was always the guy who grabbed the big rebound for us . . . several Division I and II schools are looking for his services, will graduate with a 3.3 gpa.
Stats: 11.4 ppg, 15.9 rpg, 1.4 apg.
Gregory Primus (freshman from Far Rockaway) Came on midway through the year as one of our backup point guards . . . going to work really hard over the spring and summer in the conditioning programs and play in the city to improve his skills to put him in the position to make positive contributions next year.
Stats: 0.4 ppg, 1.2 apg.
Darren Sykes (sophomore from Brooklyn) Was absolutely our best offensive player . . . Mid-Hudson Conference MVP, First Team All-Region and nominated for All-American . . . has several Division I and II schools very interested in his services . . . fifth player in the history of Sullivan County Community College to score 1,000 points in his career here.
Stats: 23.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.8 apg and 5.7 spg.
The last player to break the 1,000 point plateau at SCCC was Shiron Brown. In the early 1990s, Donald Taylor, who as a member of one of the Generals NJCAA Division III national championship teams reached the milestone. According to DePew, two other players reached the 1,000- point mark back in the 1970s.