I am a sports and music fanatic from Farmington, CT, currently attending Saint Joseph's University in Connecticut. I am mainly interested in College Basketball, CIAC High School Basketball, and Major League Baseball, though I follow just about all sports closely.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Previewing Potential JUCO Transfers: Scenic West Conference

Something that's really interested me over the last few weeks was the impact of Junior College transfers possibly having on college basketball. Players like Darington Hobson, Bobby Maze, Darius Johnson Odom, Dwight Buycks, Derwin Kitchen, and many others have been making big impacts on their team's potential postseason runs this season. JUCO has proven to be a great outlet for players that either need to get their academic or behavior issues straightened out, or are just too raw to immediately compete at the Division 1 level. Many JUCO stars are players that already had D-1 scholarships that were lost due to academic, behavioral, or other issues, and this gives them a good way to try and give them a second chance. Therefore, I will be running through the bigtime JUCO conferences, team-by-team, trying to discover the next big impact player out of the junior college ranks.

I am starting with the Scenic West Conference, which is based of teams in the upper rocky-mountain states like Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. It has consistently produced top-10 caliber JUCO teams, and many division one prospects. Here are the teams:

College of Eastern Utah (Prince, Utah) (12-7):
Michael Glover 6'6" Forward- Bronx, NY (American Christian HS)
Mike Glover joined this Eastern Utah team this season, after not playing an organzied game of basketball since early 2007. Glover was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school in the class of 2006, and enrolled on a basketball scholarship at Seton Hall University the next year. He was projected to be the best prospect in that recruiting class. Unfortunately, before even playing a game for the Pirates, Glover was removed from his scholarship based on an NCAA investigation into the validity of his academic record. He brought his case to court, but eventually lost and left the Seton Hall campus. He's wound up at Eastern Utah and is leading the team in scoring this year. Despite receiving interest from Kansas State, Arizona and Memphis, Glover will restart his college career back home, as he will enroll at St. Francis (NY) next fall. Look for him to be a major impact player in the NEC next year.

Vander Joaquim 6'10" Center- Luanda, Angola (MSA State Academy)
Joaquim is an extremely long and athletic big man from the African country of Angola, who committed to Nebraska out of the class of 2009, but decided he needed to get some things straightened out and instead will be most likely attending Nebraska after graduating from Eastern Utah. He was at one point a top-100 prospect in high school, and has even proven to be able to occasionally step out and hit a three. Look for Joaquim to be in a D-1 uniform next year, if not at Nebraska, at another major or mid-major program like San Diego, Arizona, UCLA or Washington.

Nick Thompson 6'9" Forward- Clinton, Utah (Clearfield High School)
Thompson committed to play at Weber State out of high school, but for whatever reason wound up at Eastern Utah. He has recieved an offer to play at Colorado State next season, while other major programs like Arkansas, Georgia and LSU are still in the loop.

Colorado Northwestern CC (Rangely, CO) (1-16)
As the record shows, no bigtime D-1 prospects here.

College of Southern Idaho (Twins Falls, ID) (11-5)
Carrick Felix 6'6" Guard- Phoenix, Arizona (Millenium High School)
Felix's college stock has gone full circle over the last couple of years, as he is now considered one of the most saught after JUCO prospects in the country. Felix was considered a low to mid-major D1 prospect out of high school, recieving a rating of 78 from ESPN, and instead opted to go to one of the most well-known and successfull junior college programs in the country. Despite breaking his hand and missing last season, Felix has grown a few inches and improved almost every facet of his game since high school and has even been hearing from Duke, a school that rarely considers JUCO transfers. If he doesn't wind up in Durham, he will be potentially a star for a mid-major program such as Pepperdine, St. Mary's or San Francisco.

Ndiaye 7'0" Center- Dakar Senegal (Lake Forest Academy)
Aziz has missed the whole first half of the season due to offseason knee surgery, but is still considered by many to be a major D1 level prospect and has even been mentioned in talks of the NBA. He is considered to be a freak of nature athletically, with the ideal height, weight and speed of a superstar post player. He averaged 8.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last year for USI, and looks to improve upon those numbers if he returns this season. He only shot 38% from the free-throw line though, which could be a very important weakness. Despite that, though, Ndiaye has gotten interest from such big name schools as Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

North Idaho College (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) (18-2)
Guy Marc Michel 7'1" Center- Santa Marie, Martinique
Guy-Marc is a very raw, but incredibly athletic big-man prospect from the small French territory of Martinique, located in the Carribean. Michel is listed as having an astounding 7'6" wing span, and is supposedly excellent on the defensive end, while adequate enough offensively to dominate weaker competition. Michel is rumoured to be getting some major looks from Gonzaga, and we may see him in Spokane next year.

Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City, Utah) (16-3)
Collin Chiverton 6'4" Guard- San Jose, California (Archbishop Mitty HS)
Collin originally was a very highly touted recruit from San Jose, and signed a full scholarship to attend Saint Mary's and play on the basketball team. He did not play his first year due to a redshirt, and eventually left the team to go to Salt Lake. He is currently leading the team in scoring. No word yet on his recruiting for another D1 team, as he will probably play for SLCC next year as well.

Darian Norris 6'0" Guard- North Las Vegas, Nevada (Mojave High School)
Norris started his career as a backup guard for the MVL's Bradley Braves, and decided to transfer after his freshman year because he did not feel he was getting enough opportunity to play point guard, which is probably his natural position for the long run. Norris is having a very successful first year at SLCC, and will look to transfer back to a D1 school in the near future.

Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) (8-11)
No one real noteworthy here, either.

So there we go, some big-time prospects in this small JUCO conference.

Next Up: Panhandle Conference

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