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Fridley duo signs with Spartans

April 21, 2014

Minnesota State Community and Technical College men's basketball coach Brandon Colvin has announced the signing of a pair of players from Fridley High School.

Chany Pal is a 6-4 versatile forward who can play inside or outside. He was named to the North Suburban All-Conference Team and was the Fridley High School team MVP. He averaged 11.3 points, seven rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Overall, he shot 45 percent from the field, including 38 percent from three.

"Chany is a player who is still growing and has a high basketball IQ. I believe his best basketball is still well ahead of him," Colvin said.

Teammate Ahmed Ismail is a 6-1 shooting guard with a deadly outside shot. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and shot 43 percent from the field, including 40 percent from three. He has the ability to play the two or step in at the point if needed.

"Ahmed is a player who really knows how to score the ball," Colvin said. "He fills a role that we were desperately lacking last season in that he can hit the three at a consistently high rate."

Chany and Ahmed join a class that so far includes local standouts Blake Ohren of Ashby, Dakotah Kashmark of West Central Area Schools and Adam Creek of Underwood. The five newcomers will join four returning players, including the top two scorers from last season in Ja'Vonte Johnson and JJ Morris.

 

Trio of local standouts to play for Spartans

April 21, 2014

Spartan men's basketball coach Brandon Colvin has announced that a trio of local athletes have signed letters of intent to continue their athletic careers at Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

Dakotah Kashmark, a 6-0 guard from West Central Area Schools, will bring much-needed depth to the point guard position along with a deft scoring touch. As a senior he averaged 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds per game. He was named to the Minnesota Academic All-State and Prairie Conference All-Conference teams as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was a two-year captain and finished his career as the all-time leading scorer at West Central with 1,298 points. "I believe Dakotah has a chance to be a great player for us," Colvin said. "He has a high basketball IQ and a great touch both on passes and shooting."

Adam Creek, a 5-8 point guard who played for the Underwood Rockets, is a two-sport standout, excelling on the gridiron and on the court. The Little 8 All-Conference Team member averaged 14 points, 2.1 assists and two steals a game this past season. "Adam is the kind of kid every program needs," Colvin said. "He's a hard-nosed, blue collar player who is not afraid of contact. He is exceptional in the open court and can consistently hit the three. I believe he fills a spot we needed to fill at the point position."

The third local standout to sign is Ashby High School's Blake Ohren. The 6-3 forward, like Creek, is also a standout on the football field and will play football for Steve King's Spartans in the fall. As a two-year captain, Ohren averaged 18.7 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. Like Kashmark he is a three time All-Conference Team member in the Little 8. He also will graduate as Ashby's all-time leading scorer with 1,405 points. "Blake is a kid that I believe will be able to play not only the traditional wing position, but also the hybrid position of a stretch four. His physical abilities will allow him to guard a bigger player on defense while taking advantage of a mismatch offensively. I look for big things from him," Colvin said.

The Spartans finished 13-14 in Colvin's first season and look to improve on this mark and make a return appearance to the MCAC playoffs in 2014-15.

 

Pokorney to continue career in the MIAC

April 16, 2014

Spartan sophomore Devin Pokorney will take his game to the MIAC next season when he suits up for Bethel University in St. Paul. Pokorney, of Spring Valley, plans on majoring in bio-kinetics at Bethel.

This season Devin, a 6-4 forward, averaged 5.5 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. He also shot 76 percent from the free-throw line in 23 games. He scored a season-high 27 points against Riverland Community College, hitting nine of 10 free throws and grabbing a season-high eight rebounds.

"I am extremely happy for Devin. I believe Bethel is a great fit for him basketball-wise and especially academically as it is highly regarded in his major of study," said Spartan Coach Brandon Colvin. "We will miss Devin's work ethic and what he brought to us with his shooting touch. I have no doubt he will be successful at his next stop."

 

Ford to continue career at Waldorf College

April 1, 2014

Redshirt freshman Thomas Ford, a 6-3 forward, has signed a letter of intent to Waldorf College, an NAIA program in Forest City, Iowa, which this season compiled a 16-10 record under third-year head coach Nigel Jenkins.

"I'm very happy to have Thomas join our program," Jenkins said. "He is a great young man whose best basketball is still ahead of him. His defense, rebounding and athletic ability will be a huge asset to us."

Ford, a Minneapolis native and graduate of South High School, started 21 of 27 games for the Spartans this season. He averaged 7.5 points and 6 rebounds, shooting 46 percent from the field and 69 percent from the free-throw line.

Spartan head coach Brandon Colvin said, "I am extremely happy for Thomas, he worked hard on and off the court, and I believe he will be a great addition for Coach Jenkins, just as he was for us. It will be hard to replace not only the stats that show up, but the intangibles such as how hard he played the game."


 

Morris named to All MCAC – South team

March 3, 2014

Freshman JJ Morris has been named to the All-MCAC South team for the 2013-14 season. The Plymouth, Minn., native led the Spartans in scoring at 20 points per game, while shooting 43 percent from the field overall, 40 percent from three and 78 percent from the line. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals.


 

Morris named player of week

March 3, 2014

Spartan freshman guard JJ Morris was named the MCAC - South player of the week for the final week of the season. The Plymouth, Minn., native averaged 25 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists for the week while shooting 17-32 (53 percent) from the field, including 9-17 (53 percent) from three. Spartan Ja'Vonte Johnson received player of the week honors earlier this season.


 

Ja'Vonte Johnson earns MCAC player of the week honor

Dec. 12, 2013

M State freshman guard Ja'Vonte Johnson is the MCAC Southern Division player of the week.

Johnson led the Spartans with 25.5 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and 3 assists per game while making 17 of 31 field goal attempts (55 percent). Johnson connected on 10 of 19 shots from beyond the arc (53 percent). He is a freshman from New Iberia, La.

 

Spartan basketball begins practice with four returners and 10 newcomers

October 1 is the day circled in all NJCAA coaches' calendars - the day that practice officially begins across the country. The M State Spartans men's team is no different, having begun practices and welcoming 10 freshmen/transfers and four returning players.

Leading the returners is Pelican Rapids native Luke Halbakken. Luke was the center of last season's team and is expected to be a leader for the young team. The 6-7 sophomore played in 25 games a season ago, averaging 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Bertha native Gavin Dettwiler is a second returning player who saw significant minutes last season. The 6-3 guard saw action in all 25 games a year ago and averaged 2.8 points and 3.6 rebounds.

A third returning player who is expected to see a spike in his playing time is 6-1 guard Derek Cofield, who is from Lancaster. He saw action in 19 games last season.

A fourth returner who used his redshirt last year is Cole Riley. The Morris-area product at 6-6 is expected to add depth to the front court, a mismatch for most posts due to their perimeter game. He averaged 15.5 points and 8 rebounds per game. He was named Team MVP and was an All-Conference selection for Mark Togerson's Morris program.

A player making a return to the court after being cleared by doctors is Perham's Zach Gabbard, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a game his junior year in high school. After two years he is cleared to hit the court again. As a junior, Zach averaged 25 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds for the state champions. He was named All-State and All-Conference while playing for Coach Dave Cresap's Yellowjackets.

Coming to the Spartans from Enderlin, N.D., is Thomas Lindgren, a 6-2 guard who was home schooled and played his prep basketball for Enderlin High School. As a senior he averaged 15 points per game and was named All-Conference.

A player expected to be a major contributor to the Spartan front court is 6-5 post Lee Gaines of Minneapolis, who played for Mike Shelton at North High School. As a senior he averaged 14.5 points and 6 rebounds a game. As a team, North made it to the second game of playoffs.

After spending a semester redshirting at South Suburban College in Illinois, Thomas Ford joins the Spartans. The 6-3 forward graduated from South High School in Minneapolis, where he played for Joe Hyser. As a senior he averaged 10.5 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. Thomas was team captain as a senior and a two-time All-Conference selection. As a team, South High School was second in the Minneapolis City Conference.

Refreshed after taking a year off from basketball, 6-4 Kingsland High School forward Devin Pokorney will be adding depth to M State's rotation. Playing for Paul Eckheart, Devin averaged 12 points as a senior. He was named All-County for his efforts. The team finished second in conference as well as the section.

Coming out of Maple Grove and Robbindale Armstrong high schools, 6-0 guard James "JJ" Morris will be one of the players in line to run the point this season. As a senior at Armstrong, Morris averaged 9 points per game. Prior to transferring, he averaged 18 points and 8 assists while earning All-Conference as a junior. He also set the record for three-pointers made in a season.

Coming out of Minneapolis via Chicago, 6-3 forward Alfonzo Jones will add an athletic presence to the M State front court. He was not able to play a full season at Metro Tech Academy due to transfer restrictions. As a sophomore and junior playing in Chicago, he saw major minutes and averaged 6 points and 8 rebounds per game.

Six-foot guard William Taylor comes to M State from Houston, Texas. He played for Jeff Dunford at Alief Taylor High School, starting at point and helping to lead them to a 25-6 record. He averaged 15.5 points, 7 assists and a rebound per game. He was named to the Houston Area All-Star Team, as well as the All-Region and All-Conference teams. The Alief Taylor High School squad fell in the third round of the playoffs.

Coming out of the Bayou is 6-0 shooting guard Ja'Vonte Johnson. He played for Todd Russ at New Iberia High School in New Iberia, La. As a senior he averaged 17 points, 9 assists and 2 rebounds per game. He was named to the All-District Team. As a team New Iberia finished in the quarterfinals of 5A.

The final out-of-state player is a transfer from Jamestown College in North Dakota. Omar Boumerzoug is originally from Chandler, Ariz., where he played for Killy Mims at Precision High School. As a senior he averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

"I believe we have a good mix of guys coming in who can do a little bit of everything. We will be able to play an up-tempo style and will be able to slow it down when we need to," said Coach Brandon Colvin. "Luke and Gavin as returners will give us experience and leadership that this young group needs both on and off the court."

 

Colvin named Spartan men's basketball coach

Minnesota State Community and Technical College announces the hiring of Brandon Colvin as the Spartan men's basketball head coach.

Colvin comes to M State with nearly a decade of coaching experience, both in the United States and abroad. Most recently, he coached with the Manama Club in Manama, Bahrain, and with the Haderslev Basketball Club in Haderslev, Denmark. He has also coached youth basketball overseas in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

From 2008-2010 he was the assistant basketball coach at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton after stints in the assistant position at Western Texas College and Southwestern Community College in Iowa. Gary Henrickson, M State's dean of academic affairs, said the college is excited about the depth of experience that Colvin brings to the Spartan basketball program.

"I hope to continue the success that the M State program has had and carry on the proud tradition of Spartan basketball both on and off the court," said Colvin, who earned a master's degree in sports management from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and a bachelor's degree in business computer systems from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

Last modified: April 21st, 2014 at 03:14pm