The members of the 1992 SUNY Sullivan Generals National Championship basketball team were honored on Saturday night at the NJCAA Division III National Tournament. In the front row, from left to right, are Cedric Pitt, Charles Abel, Ralph DeJesus and Donald Taylor. Back row, from left to right, Coach Dave Possinger, Elton Richardson, Derick Simmons, Reggie Nevell, Jarvis Cromedy, Terell Kelly, Steve Hooge, Will Cadiz (obscured) and Anthony Linton.
SCCC celebrates first title team
By Eli Ruiz
LOCH SHELDRAKE Twenty-plus win seasons have become the norm for the Sullivan County Community College men’s basketball team. The Generals have won four national titles, more than any other junior collegiate Division III program, and are consistently considered a contender for the NJCAA National Tournament.
If expectations are perennially high in Loch Sheldrake, it all began two decades ago with a coach named Dave Possinger, and a group of 12 young men who would win a staggering 68 consecutive games in Coach Possinger’s first two seasons, and capture the school’s first NJCAA National Championship in 1992 with a perfect 35-0 record.
At halftime of Saturday’s 2012 NJCAA National Championship game at the Paul Gerry Field House, between sixth-seeded Sandhills (North Carolina) Community College and #7 Cedar Valley (Texas) Community College, a ceremony was held to commemorate that magical 1992 season.
All 12 members of the 1992 Generals team gathered at center court with Coach Possinger to be recognized for their many achievements that championship season. Present were former players Elton Richardson, Derick Simmons, Terell Kelly, Jarvis Cromedy, Reggie Nevell, Steve Hooge, Will Cadiz, Anthony Linton, Cedric Pitt, Charles Abel, Ralph DeJesus and Donald Taylor, who was the 1993 National Junior College Player of the Year. The players were called to center court by Mike McGuire, who was SCCC Athletic Director during that perfect season.
When asked about that year’s starting five, coach Possinger said, “That team was composed more of a starting 12. We were so deep that year that I could literally pull all five of my starters, send in another five players and fully expect the same results.”
At halftime of the third-place game, another undefeated Generals squad was honored at center court, this time, the 2007 version. This team, coached by current Athletic Director and 2012 national Tournament Director, Chris DePew, won the fourth and last of SCCC’s national championships going 32-0 for the season. Representing the 2007 Sullivan County Community College Generals were Mustafa Palmer, Jamal Raphael, Hakiem Woodward and Jakar Wells, accompanied by DePew.
Where Are They Now?
Donald Taylor: After graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Taylor became a teacher at Elmont HS in Long Island for several years and is now an officer for the NYPD. He said that he will teach again when he retires from the police department.
Will Cadiz: After leaving SCCC, Cadiz played at Southern Connecticut State University, then professionally in Puerto Rico. He is currently in his 13th year as a sixth grade math teacher. Cadiz states that he travels frequently and plans on traveling the world post retirement from teaching.
Cedric Pitt: Cedric began his career as a physical education teacher at PS 75 and later worked as Dean. Currently Pitt works for the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club as director of the Sports and Arts Foundation. Pitt says that he also works as a private contractor for Merrill Lynch/Bank of America.
Terell Kelly: Kelly currently works for Big Apple Sports where he helps underprivileged youth prepare for and gain admission to college.
Anthony Linton: Lynton is currently married with three children and living in Long Island. He is currently working as a supervisor for a delivery service. Lynton states “Any success I’ve had in life all started here at Sullivan County Community College.”
Coach Dave Possinger: After leaving SCCC, Coach Possinger worked as a basketball scout for a private company, retiring after 10 years. Possinger then traveled throughout Asia and the Philippines where he met his wife of 10 years, Arlene, who he says “is the love of his life and brings me joy every single day.”
Possinger said that after retiring “for the first time in my life I had nothing to do.” It was at this time University of Alabama at Birmingham assistant coach Mike Davis asked Possinger if he wanted to volunteer as an assistant with the team. Davis also asked Possinger to lecture at his summer basketball camp.
At the camp, Possinger became acquainted with a pair of teens whose parents asked him if he would be willing to individually mentor them. Possinger said that these two children soon became four, then six, then eight and then twelve. He decided to make a business of it, founding Dave Possinger: Basketball Skills Specialist . Currently Possinger is working with four girls and eight boys.
Sandhills having just recently reinstated it’s athletic program after dropping all sports in the 1980’s dominated from the start, and went into the locker room with a comfortable 54-37 halftime lead. The second half saw much of the same with Sandhills scoring practically at will, at one point taking a 26 point lead.
Cedar Valley (2310) came to life late in the game, going on a run, to close the gap to within 9 points, but a 3 pointer by Raheem Jolliffe with 1:36 remaining in the game gave Sandhills (306) a 15-point lead and they never looked back, winning the school’s first Division III men’s basketball title title by a score of 101-86.
Tournament MVP Daquian Downs led the Flyers with 18 points and 4 assists. Sandhills coach Mike Apple took the Gary Cole Coach of the Tournament Award, leading Sandhills to 11 consecutive wins to close out their championship season.
In the tournament’s third place game between the SUNY Delhi Broncos (295) and the Bronx Community College Broncos (273), which was held prior to the championship game, Delhi defeated Bronx CC 74-63.