The Central Christian College men's basketball team enters the 2011-12 season with high expectations and a desire to continue the program's upward swing. For seven straight years the Tigers have improved their record including back to back 20 win seasons, culminating in 2010-11 season that produced a school-record 22 wins, a brief spot in the national rankings, and the school's second ever trip to the MCAC conference tournament. Third year head coach Tony Romero saw the departure of the school's winningest group of seniors - Christian Goolsby, Jaren Ford, Terrance Guillory and two-time All-MCAC performer and Honorable Mention NAIA All-American, Don Gavin - but believes this current Tiger group won't rest on their laurels, and has the ability to match or exceed the accomplishments of last season's decorated group. Romero says "last year was another step in the right direction for the vision of our basketball program. Our present focus is to build on that success and continue to improve in all areas of our program. Our coaching staff is extremely excited about the potential of this year's group."
Central welcomes back Honorable Mention NAIA All-American, Junior, Chris Jones, All-MCAC performer Senior, Randall Conley, Junior stat filler Kaelon Gary and Senior, double digit scorer Sean Posey who headline a talented group of returners that will bring experience to a versatile group of 33 players - a group that includes four exciting transfers and several promising freshman - that is sure to embrace all expectations and continue the school's recent winning ways.
This season, the Tigers have maximized their junior varsity roster, which will be led by fourth year coach Louis Collins and graduate assistant Kyle Hatfield. They will play a total of 21 games, where their opponents will consist of mostly other NAIA junior varsity programs, as well as junior college teams. The coaching staff feels that their tough schedule will lead to improvement, which will give them the best opportunity to advance to the varsity level.
The Tigers will have a few changes to this year's coaching staff. Returning will be, Louis Collins entering his fourth season as an assistant coach. Along with heading up the JV program, Coach Collins continues to take on more responsibility with the varsity program which includes assisting with recruiting and serving as the strength and conditioning coach. After spending the last two seasons as a student assistant-Kyle Hatfield rejoins the Tiger staff taking on the role of graduate assistant. Kyle will assist with the JV program and assist Coach Romero with day to day basketball operations. Justin Mart is the new addition to the Tiger Basketball staff this season. Coach Mart is a graduate of CCC class of '05, he brings a lot basketball knowledge to our staff, having played at CCC for four years and recently serving as an assistant coach as part of the University of Oregon's women's basketball program for the last four seasons. Coach Mart will serve as the Tigers director of opponent scouting and will specialize in coaching point guards and perimeter players.
The Tigers compete in one of the toughest NAIA II conferences in the country, with powerhouses Oklahoma Wesleyan, College of the Ozarks and Bellevue University-all three making it to the NAIA national tournament last season, Oklahoma Wesleyan and Bellevue University advancing to the Elite Eight, and College of the Ozarks all the way to the Final Four. The Tigers have also beefed up their non-conference schedule this season with the addition of games against perennial NAIA II championship contender Embry Riddle University and NAIA I contender McKendree University. The Tigers will be tested early on with Exhibition games versus NCAA DII Fort Hays State University (KS) and Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OK).
Konner Bergstrom, a 6'2" forward from Courtland, Kansas, started 5 games last season and 22 games as a junior, he played a big role as a key reserve to the 2010-11 team. Konner has continued to impress the Tigers' coaching staff with his work ethic, leadership, and mental toughness and has been named a team captain this year. He will be counted on to take a larger role this season on both ends of the floor.
Jared Cotton, a 5'10" guard from Wagoner, Oklahoma, saw action in 25 games last season-starting 23 of those. At only 5'10", Jared is one of the best rebounding guards this year's team has, and he will also bring toughness, experience and vocal leadership to the guard position. The coaching staff has been extremely impressed with the way Jared is pressuring the ball and are looking to him as a tone setter on the defensive side of the ball.
Robert Walker, a 6'2" guard from Payson, Arizona, really has improved in the off season and has been named as a team captain this season. Robert saw action in 17 games last season, he has proved he has the ability to be a versatile defender and great rebounder.
Sean Posey, a 6'1'' guard from Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the team's leading returning scorer's. Posey averaged 13.0points last season. Along with his ability on the offensive side of the ball, Sean is a glue guy for our team and has a great knowledge of the game.
Antione Norris, a 6'9'' forward/center from Akron, Ohio. Norris brings length, shot-blocking ability, and a presence to the middle. Antione saw action in 25 games last season, averaging 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Randall Conley, a 5'10'' guard from Wichita, Kansas, had an impressive junior campaign for CCC being named honorable mention All-MCAC while coming off the bench for the Tigers. Conley appeared in 31 games for the Tigers last season, averaging 11.4 points per game and led the team with 65 made 3's.
Chris Lockwood will red shirt this season.
Chris Jones, a 6'5'' forward from Oklahoma City, OK, surpassed all expectations last season. Chris returns for his junior year after being named 1st team All-MCAC, honorable mention NAIA All-American. He led the Tigers in rebounding and blocks last season averaging 9.4 and 1.5 respectively, and was second on the team in scoring, averaging 16.4 points. Chris continues to improve and will be counted on for his presence inside.
Kaelon Gary, a 6'0'' guard from Wichita, Kansas, is entering his third season in the Central program. Gary, a physical guard capable of playing multiple positions, showed immense improvement from his freshman to sophomore year. Kaelon is a stat sheet filler, coming off a sophomore season where he averaged 12.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assissts, 1.5 steals per game. Kaelon started 28 games last season and continues to improve all aspects of his game.
Jeff Jackson, a 6'5" forward from Chicago, Illinois, is a transfer from Morton College in Cicero, Illinois. Jackson averaged 9.5 points, 6.6 rebounds per game. Jackson helped lead Morton College to back to back undefeated Illinois Skyway championships while starting all 31 games for the Panthers. Jackson, will bring some toughness to both ends of the floor, he is great rebounder and capable scorer from the perimeter and paint.
Aaron Cannon, a 6'5" forward from Washington D.C, is a transfer from Morton College in Cicero, Illinois. Cannon averaged 5.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. Cannon also helped lead Morton College to back to back undefeated Illinois Skyway championships. Cannon is a very versatile player, he will add some length and athleticism to the wing position.
Adrian Sims, a 6'2" guard from Wichita, KS, is a transfer from South Alabama University. Sims red-shirted last season at SAU. His last season of competition was played a year prior at Neosho County CC (KS) where he averaged 8.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, while leading Neosho in made 3's with 58. Sims is an outstanding shooter and should bring an added punch of offense to the Tigers.
Scott Brooks, a 6'2" guard from Vancouver, Washington is entering his second season in the Tiger basketball program. The coaching staff believes Scott is one of the most improved players coming into the year. Scott will be counted on for his ability to shoot the basketball from the perimeter.
Kris Quant, a 5'9" guard from Los Angeles, California is entering his second season in the Tiger basketball program. Kris is another player that has made some huge strides from his freshman year to his sophomore year. Kris continues to prove himself as a very capable perimeter scorer and will make a push for playing time in the back court.
Grant Proctor, a 5'11" guard from Henryetta, Oklahoma is entering his second in the Tiger basketball program. Grant showed immense improvement towards the end of last season and comes into this year with high expectations. Grant continues to show his ability to control the basketball on both ends of the floor and should being in the mix for minutes at the point guard position.
Michael Lyons, a 5'11" guard from Orlando, Florida is a transfer from St. Louis Christian College. Lyons averaged 21.4 points, 5.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds per game. Mike is a playmaker and has the ability to make others around him better. Mike is an incredible passer and will bring some needed depth to the point guard position.
Ayuk Riak will red shirt this season.
Chris Quincy, a 6'4" forward from McKinney, TX, joins the Tigers from McKinney High School. Quincy averaged 14 points per game. Quincy has been a surprise to the Tiger coaching staff early in the year with his ability to pick up concepts. Quincy could make a push for playing time at the forward position, he is a smart and controlled player with excellent fundamentals and will be counted on for years to come.