OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS March 18, 2005
3094 INDIAN CIRCLE
Marianna, FL 32446 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DEPTH IS KEY TO CHIPOLA’S NINTH NATIONAL TOURNEY APPEARANCE
MARIANNA—The Chipola College men’s basketball program has nine national tournament appearances—more than any other Florida community college men’s team—and first year head coach Greg Heiar thinks this year’s trip will be a memorable one.
Chipola plays Shelton State (AL) in the first round of the National NJCAA Men’s Tournament, Tuesday, March 22, at 2:30 p.m. Shelton is ranked in the top 30. Chipola beat Shelton by 7 earlier in the year.
Heiar said, “Shelton lost their first two games of the season, but they’ve only lost three times since then. They also beat South Georgia Tech to make the national tournament.”
Heiar characterizes Shelton as “up-tempo.” “They press the whole game. They like to play up and down and shoot a lot of threes. They play really a fast game.”
For his team to be successful, Heiar said the Indians must win the turnover battle and contain Shelton’s point guard, who is one of the best in the country. “We’ve also got to win the rebounding battle and limit them to one shot,” said Heiar.
Overall, Heiar is confident about his squad’s chances in the tournament. “I feel good about how we’ve been practicing since state. We’ve improved. We’re a team. Our chemistry and togetherness is as good as it’s been all year. The kids want this. That’s why I’m so excited. I can tell in their demeanor that they want something special.”
Chipola is ranked fifth in the national poll.
Chipola finished sixth at nationals in 2004, but this year’s squad may have a little more depth. Heiar said, “Number one through 13 on our roster can suit up can all play—
well. They all bring something to the table. It’s rare to have a team with so many great players that can accept their roles.”
Mario Boggan, a sophomore transfer from the University of Florida is the backbone of the Indians. “Mario is a special player because he’s a team player. He averages 20 points a game, but he’s thinking pass first. He understands the game. He’s a force on the defensive end. He averaged nearly 3 blocks a game in recent outings and he’s playing with energy on both ends of the courts,” Heiar said.
“Brent Crews and Kendaris Pelton have also begun to understand how to play as a team. They make big shots and big plays. They’re great team guys. Brent played hardest three-game stretch I’ve ever seen one man play. He has tremendous much energy and enthusiasm,” Heiar said.
Anderson Ferreira has also improved on defensive end. Coach Heair, said, “He plays with so much energy and fire. When he comes ready to play, we’re a different team, because he’s a weapon. He’s found his role—his niche on this team. He understands that it’s all about winning. When he leaves Chipola, he’s going to have unbelievable opportunities. We’re a team, and Anderson has bought in to the team concept.”
Heiar also emphasizes the team play of freshmen Gerrard Jackson, Stefhon Hannah, Ryne Hamblet, Jimmy Sloss, Akeem Hemingway, Michael Taylor and Victor Gomez. “They’ve all come into their own as players and they’ve really matured and made exceptional plays game in and game out for this team. They’ve sacrificed individual stardom for the betterment of the team and it’s paying off. Next year will be their time to shine, but for now they’re doing what we’re asking them to do to help us win.”
Heiar said that every player has a different role. “The ultimate role is to win the game. But individual roles can change game in and game out. They key is in understanding their role. If we play with an unbelievable amount of togetherness and confidence and energy it’s going to be hard for a team to beat us.”
Chipola will need four wins to bring home the national championship trophy.
The Championship game of the men’s tournament is set for Saturday, March 26, at 8 p.m. Men’s tournament information is available at http://www.njcaabbtrny.org/
All Chipola games will be broadcast on WJAQ-100.9 FM in Marianna. The broadcast may be accessed via internet through a link on www.chipola.edu
Both teams will depart Saturday, March 19, at 11 a.m. from the Milton H. Johnson Health Center. The teams will travel by bus to Atlanta where the men will practice in the Atlanta Dome, and the women will practice at Georgia Tech. The teams will fly to Witchita, KS, Sunday, and travel by van to their respective tournaments.
A Chipola Fan Bus will depart from the Milton H. Johnson Health Center, Sunday, March 20, at 8 a.m.