NPCC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Start Practice

npcc-knightsThe North Platte Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams started practice Tuesday to kick off the 2013-14 season.

The North Platte Community College Knights men’s basketball team starts their defense of the Region IX Tournament title and opening round win at the NJCAA National Tournament. The Knights return their leading scorer and rebounder in Ethan Montalvo (15.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) who was an All-Region IX Second-Team selection a year ago along with starter Tim Simmons (10.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and top reserve Jake Maslo (4.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg). The Knights also welcome back Tre’Vaun Hymer who redshirted at North Platte during the spring semester after playing at New Mexico Junior College in the fall, Jimma Lew who appeared in 19 games a year ago and Marcus Linson who redshirted last season for the Knights.

The Knights welcome 12 freshmen to the program. Cameron Williams of Omaha, Luke Pittle of Deception Bay, Australia, Kenyon Gist of Chicago, Xavier Hall of Woodbury, Minnesota, James Kirksey of Strasburg, Virginia, Aireon Porter of Omaha, Brandon Pressley of Stephens City, Virginia, Abraham Branch of Baltimore, Maryland, Akau Deng of Sunshine, Australia, Marco Pascolo of Udine, Italy, Riley Rice of Mullen and Dazeshawn Crim of Detroit, Michigan are all freshman for the Knights.

The Knights are led by head coach Kevin O’Connor who is entering his 29th season at the helm. Coach O’Connor has compiled 567 wins at North Platte, including a school-record 30 wins a year ago. He is assisted by Nathan Wieseler who is entering his second season.

The Knights play their first home game on November 12 at 7 p.m. against York College JV after traveling to McCook for the McCook Community College Classic and to Garden City for the Garden City Classic to start their season.

“The guys have been ready for this day since they stepped on campus,” said coach O’Connor. “We are ready to get things going.”

The North Platte Community College Lady Knights women’s basketball team starts their defense of their Region IX Division II Tournament title and District F championship. The Lady Knights return their second leading scorer and rebounder in DeVontaye Merritt (12.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg) who was an All-Region IX Division II selection a year ago. Courtney Widick (9.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Jordan Dickerson (7.7 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Samantha Hyatt (2.2 ppg) also return as sophomore for the Lady Knights.

The Lady Knights add nine new freshmen.  The new freshman include Aliyah Brown of Omaha, Elisha Coleman of Omaha, Briana Dickerson of Westminster, Colorado, Kirra Hall-Carter of Maribyrnong, Australia, Stephanie Casteel of Gillette, Wyoming, NaShawn Williams of Omaha, Kristian Roth of Beaver Crossing, Alleyah Evans of McKinney, Texas and April Stull of Sweeny, Texas.

The Lady Knights are led by head coach Richard Thurin who is entering his 13th season at North Platte. Coach Thurin has won 164 games in his career at North Platte. Nolan Collins is the assistant for the Lady Knights and enters his second year.

The Lady Knights open up the regular season on November 1 at home as part of the Hampton Inn Classic. The Lady Knights will also play an exhibition game at home on October 26 at 7 p.m. against NPCC Alumni.

“I am very excited to get started,” said coach Thurin. “I think we have more overall depth, speed and height than we did a year ago.”