Region IX Champions!
The OJC men’s basketball team won the Region IX Championship in 2012!
The championship round of the men’s Region IX Tournament came down to a matchup between Otero Junior College and Casper College. In an ‘on-the-edge-of-your-seat’ championship game, the intensity of play was all that anyone could have hoped for as these two teams battled until the closing seconds for the right to advance to the national tournament. Otero led most of the game with its largest lead stretching in 14 points; however there were 10 lead changes and four ties. In the closing seconds the Rattlers widened the gap on a one point lead with a field goal to take the win with a score of 73-70.
Otero Junior College 2013 - 2014 Men’s Basketball Outlook
The Otero Junior College Men’s Basketball team is entering the 2013-14 season coming off of back-to-back NJCAA Region IX championship game appearances with a lot of new faces. The Rattlers’ appearances in the last two regional championship games were the first and second in program history.
The Rattlers will return one player that played a significant number of minutes last year and have added a few transfers to give the team some experience. The Rattlers will rely on returning players and true freshmen to help keep them at a championship level.
“This group reminds me of the team that won it when they were freshmen. We have pieces, but it’s going to be a process to get those pieces in the right places. We want to remain focused on getting better every day, fulfilling our roles, building our culture, forming our identity, and developing a solid foundation for a team-first attitude,” eighth year head coach Houston Reed commented.
Returning sophomore Chris Golden broke into the starting line-up last year, was All-Region and made the Region IX all-tournament team in his freshmen year. He is the only player with that type of experience in the program. Nick Ongarato and Derek Hillyer saw limited time last year, but are expected to have more of an impact in their sophomore campaigns. James Healy from Cibola High School in Albuquerque, N.M. will enter the roster this season after a red-shirt year.
“These guys have a lot on their plate and high expectations to fulfill. We are happy with their progress and are confident they will be ready for the challenge,” Reed stated.
The Rattlers added three transfers to add experience to their roster. Point guard Jalen Little, originally from Colorado Springs, transferred from University of Anchorage Alaska where he led the Seawolves in assists as a freshman. Sammie Elem is an athletic forward transferring from Wilbur Wright Community College out of Chicago, Ill., joining the Rattlers at mid-season last year. Jamaal Walker is a guard originally from the Bahamas and is a division one transfer from Western Illinois University.
“As transfers we expect these guys to have an impact immediately,” Reed added.
There are six incoming freshmen this year. Kain Lucero was 3A player of the year and won a state championship at Pagosa Springs High School. Post player Lamine Mbodj, originally from Senegal, prepped in Fla. where he was recognized as a top player in the state. Shun Williams is a big-bodied forward who was two–time conference player of the year from Central High School in Mo. Branden Cosby-Lee and Sam Stoveall come from two great Colo. programs in Grandview and Cherry Creek high schools. Renato Torres comes from El Paso, Texas and played with the Latino Select AAU program which has generated many high level players. Drew Matsushima, from Valley High School in Colo., gives the roster added depth after a red-shirt season.
“We feel this group embodies the foundation of the program and are great fits here at Otero,” said Reed.
“Region IX will be as competitive as ever. There are a lot of great teams in our region. We have a lot of early challenges in our nonconference and conference schedule. If we can stay focused on the right things through the course of the season we can be a fun team to watch,” said Reed.
~ Coach Houston Reed
MEET the 2013 - 2014 Rattler Basketball Team
Back Row Left to Right : James Healy, Brandon Cosby-Lee, Sammie Elem, Derek Hillyer, Lamine Mbodj; Shun Williams and Nick Ongarato.
Front Row Left to Right : Sam Stoveall, Renato Torres, Kain Lucero, Chris Golden, Jalen Little, Jamaal Walker and Drew Matsushima.
[ Back To Top ]