SGTC’s Lady Jets Nieves, Hill sign with D1 universities
“A bittersweet day for me,” was the way South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey described the signing day for graduating Lady Jets Alyssa Nieves and Mari Hill. Nieves and Hill both signed Division I scholarships to continue their academic and athletic careers.
Nieves signed a letter of intent to play her junior and senior seasons at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, and Mari Hill, a transfer from Tallahassee Community College, inked a letter to continue her career on the court at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.
“I am very happy for both of these young ladies as well as our other four sophomores who have all signed scholarships to continue their education and playing careers. But I am going to miss them,” said Coach Frey, as he choked back emotions. “Anytime you have all five starters sign at the Division I level and then our sixth sophomore, who was injured and red-shirted this season, signed with Wesleyan College (NCAA Division III – USA South), you know you had a good group of players and people. There are probably less than one or two junior colleges who had all five starters from a single season receive scholarships with Division I universities.”
Alyssa Nieves, a 5’ 7” guard from Tampa, FL, played two years at South Georgia Technical College under head coach James Frey and Assistant Coach Kezia Conyers. Nieves is joining a program that has won the second-most games in the Ohio Valley Conference since 2016 and qualified for the Women’s NIT twice, which includes an opening round win over Ohio State in the 2019 WNIT.
The All-American guard led the Lady Jets to 59 wins in her two seasons at South Georgia Tech and set multiple records on the court. The Tampa, FL, native improved her game from her freshman season to her sophomore year in nearly all facets of the game, going from 8.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game to 15.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. During her sophomore season, Nieves set records for points in a game (41) and three-point makes in a game (11). Nieves’ increase in scoring numbers was due in-large part to her improved three-point shooting which rose from 32-percent to 43-percent. She earned NJCAA All-American honors following her sophomore season.
“Our staff is very excited to add Alyssa to our program,” said head coach Greg Todd. “We feel like we have a player who can come in and make an impact on our team right away in Alyssa. She’s a proven winner and has shown her ability to improve her game. We believe she can be a great combo guard and run both guard positions in our offense and be a great contributor for us,” added Coach Todd.
Mari Hill, a 5’ 6” point guard from Aichi, Japan, arrived at South Georgia Technical College as a sophomore after helping Tallahassee Community College win a national champion as a freshman. She earned the Most Valuable Player of the Year honors for the Lady Jets this past year and helped lead the team to their best record ever at 30 – 4 overall. She will have two years of eligibility at Bowling Green State University.
“We are so excited to welcome Mari to our Bowling Green women’s basketball family,” said BGSU head women’s basketball coach Robyn Fralick. “She brings great experience and success to our program. She does a great job of creating for others and has a high feel for the game. We are thrilled to have her join us.”
As a sophomore, Hill led the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) and ranked third in the nation in assists per game, while also finishing ninth nationally in steals per game for the Lady Jets. Hill averaged 5.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 3.7 steals per game for South Georgia Tech in a season with a perfect 18 – 0 conference record to go with the 30 – 4 overall performance.
Hill was the MVP of the NJCAA Region XVII Tournament and helped her team earn a spot in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. As a freshman, Hill guided the Tallahassee Community College Eagles to win the NJCAAA Division I National Championship. She played in 34 games and started 19, helping TCC to an overall record of 29- 6.
South Georgia Technical College head coach James Frey believes that each of his sophomore players will have a tremendous impact on their new homes. “Alyssa had a fantastic career with us and I think she will excel in the Ohio Valley Conference. But I am most excited that she has been able to make basketball work for her. She earned an associate degree and now has the opportunity to earn her bachelor’s degree. In the end, being able to take advantage of basketball to get the degree is what matters and I am very pleased that all six sophomores have the chance to do this.”
In addition to Nieves and Hill, three other South Georgia Technical College starters will continue their academic and athletic careers at the Division I level. Ricka “Maka” Jackson, a 5’ 10” forward from Ewa Beach, HI, signed with Texas Tech University (Big 12); Fatou Pouye, 6’ 0” forward from Kaolack, Senegal, will play at the University of Illinois (Big Ten); and Bigue Sarr, 6’ 3” center from Kaolack, Senegal, will play for Oklahoma State University (Big 12.) Aubrey Maulden, who was red shirted this season after an injury, signed to play with Wesleyan College (NCAA Division III (USA South).
“I am proud of each and every one of these young ladies,” said SGTC Coach Frey. They have made an impact on our program and I feel confident they will do the same thing at the next level. Coach Conyers and I wish each of them the best and I look forward to attending their next graduation.”