October 30, 2012
By Barbara Baker
NJC Alumni board member and NJC Advisory Committee Member Carol Keil (second from left) hands out a token gift item to alumni players who returned home for the 2012 Alumni games. Pictured with Keil are (l to r) Christy Long, current head coach Darrel Parker, Lynnae Cox, Amy Marin, Nichole Burns and Jill Laybourn. (Courtesy Photo)
This past weekend alumni basketball players from Northeastern Junior College, both men and women, were back on the hard court in Jackson Edwards Arena at the Bank of Colorado Event Center on campus to take on the current teams. The annual ritual gives fans an opportunity to see some past talent still in action and to get a sneak peek at our current teams. As usual, the young, current teams easily beat the alumni teams.
Coming back for the women’s team were Paula Krutschun Brown (’01), Kristy Long (’03), Dawn Wattley (’10), Amy Marin (’10); Lynnae Cox (’11) and Nichole Burns (’11). Finishing out the women’s alumni team were current players Cinamon Lockett and Katie Combs who were good sports and offered to play opposite their teammates for this showcase and NJC faculty member Jill Laybourn who played college ball at Adams State College. NJC varsity golfers Pete Lambrecht and Brent Avila were practice players on the women’s alumni team and did their share to add points to the board for the older, more experienced teammates.
The men’s team had three past power houses and some old favorites. Former NJC point guard and NJCAA All-American Omar Leary of Portland, OR looked good back in the black and gold. After being at NJC for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Oleary went to the University of Oklahoma. He landed in Norman thanks in most part to his stellar performance in the 2007 National Junior College Athletic Association’s tournament where the Oklahoma coaching staff watched him score 86 points in four games and finish as the tourney’s second leading scorer. During the regular season under Head Coach Eddie Trenkle at NJC, Leary led the Plainsmen in scoring with 14 points a game. He hit 44 percent from three-point range and drained 80 percent of his free throws. Leary also led the Plainsmen in assists with 203 (six per game) while grabbing 56 steals. He led this year’s alumni team with this same impressive performance, being the high scorer this year.
Former NJC Plainsman standout and All American Omar Leary (#11) who played at NJC 2005-2007 showed that he still has what it takes to move the ball down the court during the 2012 Alumni games. Leary, who now lives in Portland, OR enjoyed being back in Sterling for a weekend. (Courtesy Photo)
Leary, who currently runs and Boys and Girls Club in Portland, played a huge role in getting current player Alexander Sattley, a 6’3” guard from Portland, to sign with NJC this year. “It feels really good to be back at NJC,” Leary said during a game time out. “I’m glad Alex came here and I will forever be sending any players that I think have good potential to NJC,” he added.
Also returning to NJC this year was Will Bell. Bell played at NJC from 2008 to 2010. He was selected a Region IX All Conference and All Tournament player and went on to be a Ram at Colorado State University after NJC. Another big gun on this year’s alumni team was Jarvis Jackson, originally from Winston Salem Prep Academy (North Carolina), a 6’5” guard who played one season at NJC in 2006-2007 and then bypassed his sophomore season of eligibility as a Plainsmen to play his final three seasons on scholarship at Kansas Newman University in Wichita. Jackson signed with the NAIA school after a season where he contributed key minutes off the bench for Trenkle’s team. Jackson played in 29 games as a backup guard in the NJC system. He scored two points a game while dishing out 28 total assists. Jackson also recorded 19 steals and hit 69 percent of his free throws.
Finishing out the NJC Men’s Alumni 2012 Team were: Adam Rabih who played at NJC in 2008 and 2009 and then went on to Metro State University; Gabe Tounche; Luke Whitty, Weston Cocheran, Shane Gertner, Trevor Brady, Chris Mastes and Brad Saleda.
The Plainsmen’s first home game will be November 30th against Air Force Prep in a tournament to be held here. They will also play Region IX powerhouse Casper College at this same tournament. The NJC women will host the Ramada Classis on November 9-10th and will play Central Nebraska and Casper College here at home.
Both teams have come up against some of the top ranked juco programs in the nation during pre-season tournament play and should be more than ready to compete in Region IX this year.