South Plains College is no stranger to being ranked #1 in the NJCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Poll. They have been ranked #1 at some point during the season over the last three years. South Plains has also had plenty of success in the post-season, winning the 2008 and 2012 NJCAA D1 National Championships. In the latest NJCAA Top 25 Poll, South Plains jumped back on top of the rankings and is now sitting at #1 again. They are 20-1 on the season while playing in one of the toughest regions in the NJCAA.
Head Coach Steve Green is no stranger to winning either. He is currently three wins away from 500 in his career. He has won nearly 79% of his games and has a record of 497-135 as a head coach. Green and assistant coach Hank Plona have not only won plenty of games, they have also moved players on to the next level. South Plains has 15 former players currently playing on NCAA D1 rosters this season.
This year’s team has found success with a balanced attack coming from some quality sophomore leadership as well as a few high level freshman. All eight of South Plain’s sophomores are unsigned and will sign during the NCAA signing period in April. Many of their sophomores will continue to see their recruitment heat up as the season progresses.
Rod Lawrence, a 6-4 sophomore guard out of Orlando, is having a very good season for the Texans. He is averaging 13.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Lawrence has the ability to mix it up offensively and rebounds the ball very well from the perimeter. He has offers from Rhode Island, UTEP, Pepperdine, Bradley and Cal Poly as well as interest from Creighton.
Billydee Williams, who is also from Orlando, FL, has shown that he has the ability to shoot the ball with range all season. Williams, a 6-5 sophomore guard with a great frame, isn’t just a shooter though. He uses his size and strength to get to the rim as well and hits the glass on both ends. He is averaging 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season. He has interest from Penn State, Georgia State, Virginia Tech, Auburn and Ole Miss.
Ryan Martin, a 6-8 sophomore forward out of London, England, is having a very productive year so far. He is averaging 14.2 points and 8 rebounds per game this year. Martin is very productive around the rim and shoots the ball at a high percentage (55%) from the field. Martin has interest from Arizona State, Gonzaga, VCU, Utah State and Louisiana Lafayette.
South Plains other sophomores include starting point guard Sekou Harris, who is a Farleigh Dickinson transfer. He leads them in minutes played and does a nice job of running the team. Cedrick McAfee, an Auburn transfer, is an athletic wing who can get to the rim. Michael Karena, 6-10 forward, has interest from Hawaii, Portland State, Missouri State and Wright State. Malik Nichols, a 6-6 guard who has visited Hofstra, also has interest from Fordham and TCU.
While South Plains has plenty of quality players in the 2014 class, their leading scorer is a guard in the 2015 class. Andre Spight, a former UTEP signee out of California, is averaging 16 points per game. Spight is one of the better freshman in the country and will draw plenty of high major interest before his career at South Plains is over. Another freshman who is having a solid year is former Robert Morris singee Emmanuel Omogbo. Omogbo is a 6-7 forward who is averaging 6 points and 5 rebounds per game while shooting 70% from the field.
South Plains will take on the nation’s leading scorer (Josh Gray/36.8ppg) Monday when they travel to Odessa College. The game tips at 7:45pm CST.