A couple of local high school products wrapped up their season recently as members of the Southern State Community College men’s basketball team.
Blanchester High School graduates Alec Richardson and Cam Carroll were freshmen players on the Patriots squad. Southern State was 7-19 this season.
“It’s difficult to expect freshman to come in and play consistently at this level right away,” SSCC coach Kelvin Gaines said of all the freshmen on his squad. “I demanded so much out of these guys and they really grew up over the season.”
Richardson was the third leading scorer for Southern State at 12.3 points per game. He was 98 for 117 (83.8 percent) from the free throw line and 33 for 107 beyond the 3-point line.
A starter at guard for SSCC, Richardson also averaged 3.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
Carroll average 7 points per game this season, fourth best on the team. He was 33 for 101 beyond the arc and 48 for 66 (72.7 percent) at the free throw line.
The top player off the Patriots’ bench, Carroll also averaged 2 rebounds a game.
Gaines said Jakarr Frey was given honorable mention USCAA All-America status this season.
“The Southern State Men’s basketball program made a lot of strides and has laid the foundation for future optimism,” SSCC coach Kelvin Gaines said. “This was a noticeable increase from the recent seasons on record and they also played very competitively in many others. The lack pure lack of depth and size contributed to the overall limitations of what could be done on the floor but some building blocks were created.”
Gaines said with a full off-season to recruit and condition his squad, good things are on the horizon for the Patriots. Assistant coach Dashawn Woods has implemented his skill development and conditioning program that will be huge for this coming off season, Gaines said.
“Woods is right at home when it comes to getting athletes bodies in tip top form,” the SSCC head coach said. “I’m expecting his conditioning program to really boost our new recruits and returning sophomores.”
The staff has been really hitting the recruiting trail hard and wants to continue the philosophy of having a balance between the best players from the local counties and the immediate metropolitan cities. The men’s team traveled to play a very competitive schedule and plans to play a schedule next season that will consist of a few more recognizable NJCAA, NCCAA, and USCAA schools.
“I’m satisfied about the steps that we’ve taken this year but I am excited about what’s in store next (year),” said Gaines. “I hope to continue to grow a relationship between the program and the community and look to see a lot more faces in the stands next season. I want to create a vibrant atmosphere that is welcoming. We will continue my philosophy of educating young men and building winners in the process.”