A beginner’s guide to the NJCAA Division II National Championship

Photo illustration by Brando Jessip, The Campus Ledger.

Steven Abramo

Staff reporter


For only the sixth time in its history, the college’s men’s basketball team will participate in the NJCAA Division II National Championship in Danville, Ill. from March 19-23.

The Cavs enter their March 19 contest as the tournament’s No. 2 seed. They play against 15-seed Pitt Community College at 3 p.m. CDT

To learn more about all the teams represented in this year’s field, here’s a quick scout:

No. 1 seed Kirkwood Community College (IA)

Team overview: Kirkwood enters Danville at 27-4 with an average margin of victory of 18.2 points per game. The Eagles are allowing opponents to shoot just 39.2 percent from the field and 28.8 percent behind the arc. Both marks are in the top 5 nationally.

Players to know:

  • Doug Wilson, forward: 20.8 points per game (PPG), 8.6 rebounds per game (RPG)
  • Allante Pickens, guard: 11.2 PPG, 41.4 3-point percentage
  • Connor Kasperbauer, guard: 10.1 PPG, 42.7 3-point percentage

No. 2 seed Johnson County Community College (KS)

Team overview: The Cavaliers (28-4) reached the National Championship with wins over Labette in the District V semifinals and Highlands Community College in the District finals. Throughout the playoffs, they are averaging 85.5 points per game on 58-of-106 (54.7 percent) shooting from the field and 17-of-33 (51.5 percent) from behind the arc.

Players to know: 

  • Nick Larkin, guard: 13.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 6.4 assists per game (APG), 1.9 steals per game (SPG), 52 field-goal percentage
  • David Turner, forward: 13.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.9 blocks per game (BPG), 65.4 field-goal percentage, 38.5 3-point percentage
  • General Williams, guard: 9.7 PPG, 49.4 field-goal percentage, 45.7 3-point percentage

No. 3 seed Pima Community College (AZ)

Team overview: Pima (26-6) is playing in the National Championship for the third consecutive season; they fell to Triton Community College in last year’s title game. Through 32 games, Pima is averaging 97.3 points per game (sixth most in Division II), to go along with the fifth-best field goal shooting (50.9 percent) and fifth most 3-pointers (331) in the nation.

Players to know: 

  • Abram Carrasco, guard: 20.5 PPG, 51.7 field-goal percentage, 42.9 3-point percentage
  • Kennedy Koehler, forward: 18.5 PPG, 10 RPG, 49.6 field-goal percentage, 38 3-point percentage
  • Robert Wilson, forward: 14.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 56.8 field-goal percentage, 48.9 3-point percentage

No. 4 seed Erie Community College (NY)

Team overview: At 25-4, Erie looks to avenge a loss in last year’s National Championship with a better showing this season. The Kats pose an efficient offense which averages 94.5 points per game.

Players to know:

  • Michael Motley, guard: 14.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 59.7 field-goal percentage, 47.2 3-point percentage
  • Jonathan McDonald, forward: 9.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.4 blocks per 40 minutes

No. 5 seed Milwaukee Area Technical College (WI)

Team overview: Milwaukee Area Tech enters the National Championship with 28 wins, tying Johnson County for the most out of all the remaining schools in the tournament. The Stormers are first in all of Division II in points (101.7 per game), field goals (38.6) and steals (18).

Players to know: 

  • Shannon Sanford Jr., guard: 21.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 55.7 field-goal percentage, 37 3-point percentage
  • D’Angelo Young-Prior, forward: 13.5 PPG, 7 RPG 59.7 field-goal percentage, 40 3-point percentage
  • Nakell Martin, guard: 13.1 PPG, four steals per game (SPG), 46.5 field-goal percentage

No. 6 seed St. Clair County Community College (MI)

Team overview: St. Clair (27-6) ended the regular season on a three-game skid before stringing together three wins to get to this point. They are averaging 84.5 points per game and are holding opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent from the perimeter.

Players to know: 

  • Omari Duncan, forward: 18.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG
  • Jalen Miller, forward: 15.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 43.5 3-point percentage

No. 7 seed Dakota County Technical College (MN) 

Team overview: Winners of seven in a row, Dakota County Tech is making their fourth straight appearance in the National Championship. The Blue Knights (25-5) average 86.6 points per game. Not to mention, five different players have led the team in scoring this season: Cody Sticha, Jeremiah Coddon, Dashawn Walker, Termaine Daniels and Amitri Collins-Westlund

Players to know:

  • Cody Sticha, forward: 14.7 PPG and 1.2 BPG
  • Jeremiah Coddon, guard: 13.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.3 APG
  • Dashawn Walker, forward: 13.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 60 field-goal percentage, 36 3-point percentage

No. 8 seed Wake Technical Community College (NC)

Team overview: Just like Dakota County, Wake Technical also rides into the National Championship on a seven-game win streak. Wake has reached this point because of their all-around stingy defense, which bolsters a 39.7 percent field-goal defense and a 32 percent three-point defense. Additionally, the Eagles are No. 1 in the nation in total rebounds, defensive rebounds and free-throw rate, attempting 30 free throws per game.

Players to know: 

  • Koraan Clemons, guard: 19.9 PPG, 6.8 APG, 3.9 RPG
  • Christian Anumihe, forward: 9.3 PPG, 14.6 RPG, 9.9 defensive rebounds per game

No. 9 seed Niagara County Community College (NY)

Team overview: It has been a banner year for Niagara. They’re not only participating in the National Championship for the second time in three years, but they also hold the most wins (26) in the program’s last seven seasons. Niagara enters this year’s field with the highest points per game allowed mark (79.5) than any team left in the tournament. However, the Thunder Wolves go to the free-throw line at a high-rate; the sixth-most in Division II in fact (26.7 attempts per game).

Players to know:

  • Fode Camara, guard: 13.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 52 field-goal percentage
  • Najee Scott, guard: 10.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 38.6 3-point percentage

No. 10 seed Lakeland Community College (OH)

Team overview: Following a season in which they went 5-21, Lakeland achieved the program’s first 20-win season in five years. While the Lakers don’t excel in one area, ranking outside the top 30 nationally in field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, rebounds, blocks and points per game, they do feature four double-digit scorers: Tyreke Johnson, John Dawson, Rob Brown and Isaiah Washington.

Players to know: 

  • Tyreke Johnson, forward: 16.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 49.8 field-goal percentage, 37 3-point percentage
  • John Dawson, guard: 15.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.4 APG, 38 3-point percentage
  • Chandler Fointo, guard: 9.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.8 SPG

No. 11 seed John Wood Community College (IL)

Team overview: John Wood (19-13) enters the National Championship allowing 71.2 points per game, the 15th lowest in all of Division II. In addition, they pose two players, Gentry Whiteman and Cory Miller Jr., who both are shooting better than 43 percent from the perimeter.

Players to know: 

  • Cory Miller Jr., guard: 20.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 43.4 3-point percentage
  • Gentry Whiteman, forward: 11 PPG, 43.5 3-point percentage

No. 12 seed Ancilla Domini College (IN) 

Team overview: Ancilla reached the National Championship Semifinal last season by winning 29 games. Despite a drop-off in wins (22), there’s a lot to admire about this year’s team. The Chargers are averaging 91.6 points per game and are in the top 8 nationally in total rebounds, offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds per game. Not to mention they possess the third lowest 3-point percentage defense in Division II (28.2 percent).

Players to know:

  • Ty’Sean Sheppard, guard: 21.2 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.1 SPG
  • Mike Green, guard: 16.3 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.1 SPG

No. 13 seed Morton College (IL)

Team overview: Morton (21-12) enters the National Championship on a nine-game streak. Another interesting tidbit is they feature insane offensive and defensive splits. For example, they rank 100th in points per game (73.3) but are as high as ninth in points allowed per game (68.8).

Players to know: 

  • Tyrone Rhivers, guard: 16.1 PPG, 4.4 APG, 1.2 SPG
  • Shawn Marlow, guard: 14.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 40 3-point percentage
  • Tyric Edwards, center: 8.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG

No. 14 seed Cecil College (MD)

Team overview: Cecil (21-11) is appearing in their first National Championship since 2016. A run this late into the season looked uncertain months ago when they started 5-8. The Seahawks rely on their defense more than most teams left in the tournament, in part because of their low shooting numbers: 43.9 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from three. On the season they are holding opponents to 42 percent on two-pointers and a shade above 30 percent on perimeter shots.

Players to know: 

  • Cornell Corbin, guard: 13.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2 SPG, 51.9 field-goal percentage
  • Jacob Falko, guard: 12.5 PPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 50.7 field-goal percentage, 36.7 3-point percentage
  • Hassan Corbin, guard: 10.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.6 SPG

No. 15 seed Pitt Community College (NC)

Team overview: With their best winning percentage in seven years, Pitt looks to make noise in the National Championship behind a defense that’s sixth nationally in steals (11.5 per game) and 18th in blocks (4.5). They are also the only team in the tournament that doesn’t have a player who makes at least one three-pointer per game.

Players to know: 

  • Reginal Clark, forward: 13.7 PPG. 7.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG
  • Ben Cox, forward: 12.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 58.6 field-goal percentage

No. 16 seed North Central Missouri (MO) 

Team overview: Despite going 7-10 from December through February, the Pirates of North Central Missouri stayed together in the latter months of the season, finishing the district playoffs at 18-12. They are the tournament’s lone team who sits outside the top 100 nationally in both field-goal percentage defense and three-point defense.

Players to know: 

  • Soloman Thomas, guard: 13.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 38.5 3-point percentage
  • Cameron Lockett, guard: 13.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 61.7 field-goal percentage, 40 3-point percentage
  • Marty Jackson, forward: 10 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 53.7 field-goal percentage


The entire bracket and division winners are listed below:



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