North Platte – Three North Platte Community College Knights sophomore basketball players, Diontae Champion, Mike Amius, and Jordan Mills have signed letters of intent to play at four year colleges in the 2017-18 season.
Champion, a 6’ 6” small forward from Arlington, Texas, signed with the University of New Orleans.
Champion led the Knights in scoring the past two seasons, averaging 15.2 points per game his freshman and 14.8 ppg his sophomore season. During his freshman season he was selected to the All-Region IX Tournament team. He averaged 26.5 ppg in two games in the tournament. After his sophomore season, Champion was named to the All-Region IX team and was the Most Valuable Player of the Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference.
Champion said, “I’ve been away from home, so it is closer to home, between my Mississippi family and my Texas family, so they can see me play and come to more games.”
In his two years at North Platte, Champion had 137 assists, 368 rebounds and 121 steals.
“Diontae was probably considered our best player the past couple of years. He transformed himself from an excellent athlete who played basketball to a guy that worked hard on his basketball skills.” Knights Head Coach Kevin O’Connor said, “Because of injuries and the death of Sampson Charles, we had to play Diontae at the power forward position. Once he gets to New Orleans, and able to play his natural wing position, they are going to see a very good player there with a good program.”
The University of New Orleans Privateers is a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I program and is a member of the Southland Conference. This past season the Privateers were 20-12 overall and 13-5 in the conference. The Privateers received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for winning the Southland Conference Tournament, losing in the play-in game to Mount St. Marys.
Amius, a 6’ 7” post player from Lake Worth Fla., played two seasons for the Knights signed to play for the Western Carolina University Catamounts.
Amius led the Knights in rebounding with six rebounds per game and blocked shots at 1.1 blocks per game. Amius averaged 11.8 points per game. He had a 70.1 percent field goal percentage, which was sixth in the nation among National Junior College Athletic Association Division I players. His field goal percentage of 68.0 percent for his two-year career with the Knights broke the career field goal percentage mark set by Bill Kuhl from 1988-1990.
Amius said, “I liked the opportunity they presented compared to a lot of the other teams. They made me feel like I was home and the university is really close to my close relatives.”
The Catamounts are a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One program and are a member of the Southern conference. They finished the 2016-2017 season with a 9-23 overall record and 4-14 in the conference.
O’Connor said, “I’m real pleased for the opportunity Western Carolina is giving Mike. Mike was raw in terms of skill and talent but very tremendous athletic ability, very good character. He is a smart basketball player and a smart student. I think Mike’s best basketball is going to be ahead of him, he is going to improve in leaps and bounds once he gets more skilled at the game to go along with his athletic ability.
Mills, a 6’ 2” guard from Alliance, Neb., signed with the Chadron State College Eagles.
Mills was forced to sit out his sophomore season because of a knee injury he suffered during his freshman season in February.
“One of the unfortunate things about sports is the injury. While we didn’t get to see the best of Jordan, hopefully Chadron will get a very good player for three years.” O’Connor said, “When he got hurt in February of last year, he was playing better than most of our guards and made improvements in leaps and bounds offensively and added pull up jump shots, and defensively. He learned to play at the pace you have to play in college basketball”
During his freshman season, Mills averaged 9.3 points per game, had 27 assists, eight steals, and 37 rebounds. Mills shot 38.4 percent from three-point range.
Mills said, “I got hurt last season and Coach Reed told me he was going to give me a chance to prove myself.”
Houston Reed, the head coach of the Eagles, previously coached for Region IX opponent Otero Junior College.
The Eagles are a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II program and is in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. They finished with a 3-23 overall record and 3-19 in the conference.
The Knights finished this season at 22- 8 and the sophomores had a two-year total of 41-21 record with the Knights.