PARAGOULD – Crowley’s Ridge College Men’s Basketball has released their schedule for the upcoming season. There are 14 home dates on this years schedule with 13 games away and three games on neutral courts. The Pioneers will compete in seven games this season against teams that saw NAIA Post Season Action last year.
CRC will open the season at home October 28 as they play host to Brescia University from Owensboro, Kentucky. They will conclude the regular season schedule on February 22 as the host Welch College for Homecoming Weekend.
Seven games this season will feature match ups with teams that competed in the NAIA National Championship Tournament last season. Two of those games will be against conference opponent College of the Ozarks who finished last season 22-11. The Pioneers and Bobcats will face off January 21 in Branson, MO and then again February 4 with a game in Paragould. CRC will also face John Brown University twice after the Golden Eagles made their post season trip last season. CRC will also face Tournament teams Missouri Baptist University at home and Bethel University and Central Baptist College on the road.
CRC will travel to face NCAA Division One University of Missouri-Kansas City of the Western Athletic Conference on January 27 with a 7:00 tip off. The Kangaroos will be under the direction of first year Head Coach Billy Donlon.
Eleven Conference games are also featured through January and February. The Pioneers will begin their second season in the Association of Independent Institutions. The Pioneers will be in the Central States Alliance with seven other teams.
MAGNOLIA – Coming on the heels of an NCAA Era-best record in the program’s 24-year Division II membership, Southern Arkansas University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Andy Sharpe has announced the signing of eight student-athletes for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
“A lot of credit goes to former associate head coach, David Anderson, for putting together this class,” noted Sharpe. He added “We worked tirelessly to continue to sign quality, local high school student-athletes in our geographic region who will represent our program the right way, embrace our culture, and continue to advance our program to state, conference, and national relevance.”
Eight new recruits, seven true freshman and one transfer, reported to campus earlier this month. “We’ve completely sold out to staying young and continuing to build our program with high school guys that will be in our program for 4-5 years,” noted Sharpe.
The seven true freshmen include two Arkansans in Logan Bradley (Booneville) and Connor Harvey (Mena), two Louisianans in Jessie Davis, Jr. and Deven Melancon from Shreveport, two Texans in Dodge Brown (Commerce) and Josh Ukpe (Bonham), and finally Zak-Blue Shagouire with the longest commute of 4,500 miles from East London, England. Dru Smith of state Fair Community College joins the program as the only transfer after two successful years as a roadrunner.
The eight newcomers will join six letter winners with First Team All-GAC selection Devante Brooks leading the charge. Also retuning is speedy point guard Aaron Lucas, sharp-shooting guard Gabe Gilliam, former Magnolia Panther and Mulerider defensive stopper Trey Davis, GAC Freshmen of the Year Jalen Brooks, and finally back in the fold is a healthy Charlie Thomas. “Those six guys will be looked to by our staff to provide incredible leadership as expectations for our program continue to rise on a yearly basis. They’ve all played some huge roles for us previously as freshmen and sophomores and now it is their team and I’m excited to see how they move us forward”, commented Sharpe.
Three red-shirt freshmen will also make their debuts this season in point guard Ray Fresh, shooting guard Kam Roelke, and swingman Trent Ivy. “I am excited to see Kam, Ray, and Trent be activated after a very rewarding and beneficial red-shirt season”, remarked, Sharpe. “All three of those guys approached their redshirt year the right way and all three have grown tremendously and are ready to compete for roles this coming season”, continued, Sharpe.
Zakeus-Blue Shagourie – Forward, 6’8 Hometown / Previous School: East London, England / Sunlive Basketball Academy Notable Stats: 7ppg/11rpg/ 2bpg
Accomplishments: – Two time selection to Loul Deng UK Top 50 Camp – Selected to Pau Gasol Rising Star Camp in Barcelona, Spain – 2018 National Basketball Cup Winner – Selected to HOOPSFIX.com All Star Classic
Coach Sharpe on Shagourie: “Zak is our first international recruit in my seven years at SAU. I’ve gotten to know Zak’s coach, Josh Merrington, over the years who is now at Sunlive Academy in Portugal and through his work with the British National Team and he highly recommended Zak as a long, active, athletic forward who is ready to play immediately. Losing Wes Nosakhare to graduation will give Zak the opportunity to come in and compete for a major role in our rotation. Zak has played at a high level internationally for several years highlighted by an appearance in the invitation-only 24 man HOOPSFIX All Star Classic. I’m excited Zak is a Mulerider and looking forward to getting him on the floor!”
Josh Ukpe – Guard, 6’2 Hometown / Previous School: Bonham, TX / Bonham High School Notable Stats: 29 ppg / 8 rpg during the 2019-2019 season
Accomplishments: – TABC All-Region Class 3A Region 2 Selection – District 10 – 3A MVP – All Texomaland – 2nd Team Selection – Led the 18-19 Bonham Warriors to a program best 26-7 record – Recorded most points in a single season in Bonham history with 902.
Coach Sharpe on Ukpe: “Josh is a guy we have really high hopes for. He had a highly decorated career at Bonham where they had a ton of success largely due to Josh and his ability to score the ball. Josh is an athletic playmaker and has shown he’s a potent scorer at the high school level. I’m excited to see Josh continue to grow here at SAU. Like with any freshmen, he’s going to experience some growing pains, but Josh has unlimited potential and we are excited to see him take some big strides in the weight room. We feel in our strength and conditioning program we can help take Josh to another level. I’m really excited to see Josh blossom here at SAU.
Logan Bradley – Forward, 6’8 Hometown / Previous School: Booneville, AR / Booneville High School Notable Stats: 14.2 ppg / 6.9 rpg / 3.6 bpg during the 2018-2019 season
Accomplishments: – 3 Year Starter and Co-Captain as a SR for the 29-4 Booneville Bearcats – 2nd All Time Leading Scorer and Rebounder in Booneville High history – Back to Back All-Conference selection – Selected to 2019 All-State and All-State Tournament team – Honor graduate and National Beta Club Member
Coach Sharpe on Bradley: “Logan was an early signee and we are excited to get him plugged into our program. Logan is a big-bodied forward with an unexpected shooting stroke to the 3pt line. Logan will be really good in pick & pop actions with his ability to shoot the ball. There are not many true freshmen that are able to physically play right away in our league, so we are also excited to get Logan into our strength and conditioning program and see him make the jump from high school to our physical style of play.”
Connor Harvey – Guard, 6’1 Hometown / Previous School: Mena, AR / Mena High School Notable Stats: 23.6 ppg / 2.6 apg / 5.2 rpg during the 2018-2019 season
Accomplishments: – Three time All-Conference selection – Two time All-State honoree – Polk County Player of the Year – Selected to 42 Sports Super Team – Tallied 1,427 career points while sinking 114 three pointers his SR season at 41%
Coach Sharpe on Harvey: “Connor is a guy I think we were fortunate to snag. There is such a premium put on being able to extend the defense and efficiently knock down three pointers and Connor does that very, very well. Any time a guy can make over 40% of his three point attempts at the volume Connor was getting is impressive. When we signed Connor he said he’d like to know the all-time marks for three pointers made in a season, a career, and three point percentage that those were marks he planned on taking aim at over the course of his career. I think Connor is going to make a run at some of those records for one simple reason, he’s a gym rat and he’s going to put in the time. We are excited to have Connor in the fold at SAU!”
Dodge Brown – Guard, 6′ Hometown / Previous School: Commerce, TX / Commerce High School Notable Stats: 22 ppg / 6 apg during the 2018-2019 season
Accomplishments: – Texas 3A State Player of the Year – Back to Back All State Selection – Back to Back District MVP – Selected to TABC All Star Game – Tallied 2,349 career points while sinking 364 career three pointers
Coach Sharpe on Brown: “Dodge the epitome of what we are looking for in a recruit. His high school accolades speak for themselves … he was the Texas 3A State Player of the Year, scored over 2,000 career points, and the list goes on and on, but it’s the other stuff that really drew me to Dodge. He is a gym rat … played for his dad, Roger Brown at Commerce, he graduated with a 3.97 GPA, was the student body president at Commerce High, and is going to start day one here at SAU with a ton of college credit already under his belt. Dodge is self-made and a high achiever and we are excited he is a Mulerider!”
Dru Smith – Guard, 6’3 Hometown / Previous School: Kansas City, MO / State Fair Community College Notable Stats: 11.5 ppg / 2.8 apg / 3.5 rpg during the 2018-2019 season
Accomplishments: – Career 10.1 ppg scorer at State Fair Community College – Broke the 20 point plateau three times over the course of the 2018-2019 season – Scored a season high 21 points against nationally ranked Northwest FL on 8-14 shooting – State Fair Community College 3rd leading scorer – State Fair Community College team leader in three point makes and percentage
Coach Sharpe on Smith: “Dru is our only transfer. We felt like we have a great core of guys returning to the program that have played big roles over the past couple years and some guys coming up that red-shirted last year that will also be pushing for meaningful roles and while we do plan on sustaining our success, the next couple years are big for our program. We feel like Dru gives us another older guy that can play multiple positions, has the ability to shoot the three and plays extremely hard. He played for a very well-respected program at State Fair and we feel Dru will fit in well with our culture and how we expect to do things. I’m excited to throw Dru in mix and create even more competition than we currently have … it should make for some intense workouts and practices.”
Jessie Davis, Jr. – Forward, 6’7 Hometown / Previous School: Shreveport, LA / Red River High School Notable Stats: 18ppg / 11 rpg / 5 bpg during the 2018-2019 season
Accomplishments: – Three time First Team All-District Selection – 2nd Team All Area and Honorable Mention All-State as a JR – 2nd Team All Area and 2nd Team All-State Selection as a SR – Louisiana High School Athletic Association All Star Selection – Slam Dunk Champion
Coach Sharpe on Davis: “Jessie is a guy we targeted early last summer and have built a fantastic relationship with over the past year. Jessie is a rugged post player and is physically ready to play and we are expecting him to step in and contribute immediately. As strong as Jessie is, he is also that athletic and has the ability to be an immediate impact guy defensively with his ability to block and alter shots.
Deven Melancon – Guard, 6’4 Hometown / Previous School: Shreveport, LA / Loyola Prep Notable Stats: 20 ppg / 5 rpg during the 2018-2019 season
Accomplishments: – 1st Team All-District – 1st Team All-City – Honorable Mention All-State – Selected to the I-20 Classic All Star Game
Coach Sharpe on Deven: “One of the areas we really wanted to focus in on with this class is targeting guys with high skill levels, particularly shooting the ball. We got a taste of how hard it is to score when you are limited in your team’s ability to shoot the three many times last year. If you look back to our hot start last year, we were really shooting the three ball well and at a 40% clip as a team. We were really difficult to guard when we spread the floor out and could keep teams honest. Deven gives us another guy that can really shoot it. I told him on his visit that I can hear the sound his ball makes when it goes through the net and it is an unmistakable sound of a dead three shooter as we call them. Deven is one of those guys when he lets it go, you think it’s going in no matter where he shoots it from. Deven will also really benefit from structured strength program and we are excited to watch him continue to get better and better!”