Jets and Lady Jets preparing for 2019-2020 basketball season
The South Georgia Technical College Jets and Lady basketball teams are getting ready for the upcoming 2019 – 2020 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) basketball season which officially starts on November 1st for both squads.
The Lady Jets will host the Lady Jets Tip-Off classic and play Santa Fe College on Friday, November 1st and Chattahoochee Valley Community College at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 2nd. The Jets will travel to Wilmington, NC to participate in the Region 10/17 Tipoff Classic. They face Cape Fear Community College at 5 p.m. on November 1st and USC Salkahatchie at 5 p.m. on November 2nd and Spartanburg Methodist at 1 p.m. on November 3rd.
The three-time defending Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) champion Lady Jets are currently ranked 9th in the nation in the NJCAA “Way Too Early Top 25” rankings. The Lady Jets are the three-time GCAA regular season champions, three-time NJCAA Region 17 tournament winners, and have been to the NJCAA National Tournament for the last three seasons.
“We are excited to get another season going,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey. “Obviously we lost some very talented young ladies to graduation so we are going to count heavily on our freshman class and a couple transfers. I feel like this is the deepest team we have had in my time here at South Georgia Tech. We have some solid leadership returning as well in Anna McKendree, Yazz Wazeerud-Din, Oumy Gueye, and Amara Edeh. Unfortunately, we lost Kam Hollingshed to a torn ACL last week. She was our leading returning scorer but we will still count on her heavily to act as a coach this year and mentor to the younger ladies as they gain experience on the fly.
“We were able to add tremendous size and athleticism this recruiting cycle. I think when you look at us on paper, we will be as long and athletic as most anyone in the country. The key for us will be how quickly our freshmen can get adjusted to college basketball. It’s a lot different than anything they have ever played and experienced so it will be important for them to learn quickly and be ready to answer the tough challenges they will face right away with our schedule,” added Frey.
Coach Frey also revealed that he has a lot of confidence in this team. “I think we can be really, really good. We have been trying to get them to understand the expectations that come along with playing here and being a Lady Jet. It’s a great experience but it comes at a price. We require a lot from them. They are fighting through that right now and I know they will be excited in a few weeks when we tip-off the regular season.”
The returning sophomores for the Lady Jets include 5’ 6” guard Anna McKendree from Flowery Branch, GA; and forward’s 5’ 11” Yasriyyah Wazeerud-Din from Marietta, GA; 5’ 11” Amara Edey from Enugu State, Nigera; and 5’ 11” Oumy Gueye from Thies, Senegal. Two sophomore transfers join the Lady Jets this season and they include: 5’ 4” guard Shamari Tyson from Fort Wayne IN; and 5’ 7” guard Niya Gouderlock from Gaffney, SC. The freshmen newcomers include: 5’ 4” guard Veronica Charles from Lagos, Nigera; 5’ 6” guard Moe Shida from Hokkaido, Japan; 6’ 2” forward Flore Ngassamputu from Kinshasa, DRC; Hope Butera, a 6’ 3” center from Kigali, Rwada; 6’ 1” center Sarah Lwambo from Goma, DRC; and 6’ 5” center Fremme Sikuzani from Goma, DRC.
The Lady Jets have two new assistant coaches this season. Demetrius Colson, who played for the Jets and later coached for the Lady Jets under head coach Brandon Harrell, returns this season as the full-time assistant coach. Ciarra Edwards, who played for Shelton State and Mercer University, joins the Lady Jets as a part-time assistant coach.
Jets head coach, Travis Garrett and his team are also looking forward to the new season. This is Coach Garrett’s fifth year at the helm of the Jets. His team is currently ranked third behind Central Georgia Tech and Georgia Highlands in a preseason GCAA coaches poll.
“We finished the regular season in third place last year. Central Georgia Technical College and Georgia Highlands always have very strong teams so we know to win the regular season and the conference championship, we will have to go through them. We are excited about our prospects,” said Coach Garrett. “The preseason program has been good thus far. The players have been working extremely hard in the weight room, conditioning, and now transitioning to pre-season practice.
“The first week has been an adjustment for the new guys but they are starting to turn the corner which has been a positive. I have four returners from last season’s team and they have all improved during the off season and I expect them to have a great year for us from a leadership standpoint,” said Garratt, who added that the Jets will play a Jamboree at the JUCO All-American Showcase in Orlando and face Santa Fe, Palm Beach, and Eastern Florida. “We will have a chance to play against other teams to see where we stand and have some game film so I can evaluate and possibly change some things as we prepare for our season opener vs. Cape Fear in November.
Returning this season for the Jets includes four guards. Toriano Lewis at 6’ 1” returns along with Brice Paster at 6’ 3” from Macon, GA; Justin Johnson, 6’ 7” guard from Ft. Lauderdale, and 5’ 9” guard Jaylan McKinney from Swainsboro, GA. Justin Johnson has been named to the Street’s and Smith pre-season Junior College All American second team.
Transferring in as sophomores for the Jets this season include: Jarius Carroll, a 6’ 4” guard from Annapolis, MD; Merdy Bata, 7’ 0” power from Kinshasa, Congo; and Eric Walker a 6’ 4” guard from Birmingham, AL. The freshmen include: 6’ 0” guard Lamont Sanders from Baltimore, MD; 6’ 7” guard/forward Denari Garrett from Tampa, FL; 5’ 9” guard Christian De Leon from Tampa, FL; 6’ 3” guard Austin Hadden from Charlotte, NC; 6’ 7’ forward Jalen Reynolds from Darien, GA; 6’ 5” guard Jordan Stephens from Macon, GA; 6’ 6” guard/forward Tabais Long from Conyers, GA; 6’ 9” forward Emmanuel Nwaneri from Imo, Nigeria; and 6’ 9” forward Jonathan Kanyanga from Kinshasa, Congo.