University Center, MI-
When the NJCAA put their Division II pre-season rankings out earlier this week, the Delta College Men's basketball team found themselves sitting at number fourteen in the country. After a very successful 2017-2018 season and a run to the final four, the Pioneers are getting the recognition at the national level and have put themselves back on the map.
"When Coach Gray and I took over the program four years ago, we made it a point that we wanted to get back to the national tournament and compete for a national championship. We have instilled several key values in this program and that has served as our foundation," said head Coach Carlos McMath. "Every player that comes through this program knows that they are a pivotal part of our brotherhood and we will never turn our back on them. Building that sense of brotherhood and companionship on and off the court has really allowed us to get the guys to buy into our offensive and defensive schemes."
Heading into the 2018-2019 season, the Pioneers have high expectations to get back to the national tournament. They will lean on the leadership of seven returners that were members of last year's national tournament team. Those sophomores include Brandon Brackett, Peyton Miller, Jordan Martinus, Torandis Mack, Evan Anderson, Justin Strbenac, and Joshua Simms. The Pioneers will also welcome back sophomore Trey Newsham. Trey was a member of the 2016-2017 Delta men's team and sat out last season.
"We graduated six guys off last year's team that played key roles in our tournament run. We are fortunate to return a lot of talented guys that have been working hard in the off season. When you add Trey back into the mix, we have a very special group of returners," said McMath.
The Pioneers will round out their roster with a talented group of freshman. Aaron Collins (Arthur Hill HS), Justin Fox (Grand Rapids Union HS), and Chaz Woods (Saginaw HS) will look to dictate the offense from the point guard position. Goliath Mitchell (Grand Blanc HS) and Taylor McCaskill (Troy Athens HS) will be scoring threats from the two guard position. Jackarus Smith (Grand Blanc) and Anthony Sanders (Saginaw HS) will be counted on to attack from the wing. Jaivon Felton (Flint NW HS) will add much needed depth at the center position.
"Our freshman group is extremely talented and athletic," said McMath. "We have had some injuries early on this season so we are going to count on these guys to step up and play major minutes."
The Pioneers will open up their regular season on November 1st when they host the Rochester College Junior Varsity team. Game time is set for 7:00 at Pioneer Gymnasium.