Southwest Tennessee Community College

March 19, 2006

For More Information, Contact: Keith Gentry (901) 333-4114/ (901) 619-1899 / Kimberly Kreider (901) 333-4023

SOUTHWEST OPENS NJCAA TOURNEY AGAINST 4TH-RANKED TEAM
Release written by Keith Gentry


The Southwest men’s basketball team will take on Highland (IL) Community College in an opening round game of the NJCAA National Tournament at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21 in the Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kansas. The winner of this game will play the winner of Southwestern Illinois vs. Southern Idaho on Wednesday, March 22 while the losers of the two games will play on Thursday, March 23 at 10 a.m.

The Saluqis, under the direction of head coach Verties Sails Jr., enter the tournament with an overall record of 23-6 and were ranked 16th in the final NJCAA poll. Highland was ranked 4th in the final poll and is currently 31-1 on the season. Sails, who was named the TJCCAA Coach of the Year for the eleventh time, has compiled a coaching record of 584-231 in 27 seasons at the College. The Saluqis are competing in the national tournament for the ninth time including a runner-up finish in 1998.

Southwest, one of the nation’s top scoring teams at 96.6 points per game, is led by a trio of sophomores. The first is 6’3” guard Lester Hudson, who was a first team All-TJCCAA performer and runner-up for conference Player of the Year. Hudson was named Most Valuable Player of the Region VII Tournament after scoring 22 points in the Saluqis’ 92-73 victory over Columbia State in the championship game. He is the team’s leading scorer with a 17.6 average and is also among team leaders with 163 rebounds, 87 assists and 66 steals.

Moraye Ivy, a high school teammate of Hudson at Memphis Central High School, was selected second team all-conference and was also named to the all-tournament team. On the season, the 6’6” Ivy is averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds and leads the team with 68 steals. The third player is Anthony Pigram, who was a third-team All-TJCCAA pick. Pigram, a 6’1” guard who has signed with Tennessee State University, is the team’s second leading scorer with a 14.2 average and leads the Saluqis with 81 three-point field goals and a .872 free throw percentage.

Freshmen starters for Southwest are forwards Greg Grimes and Chris Evans and point guard Nathan Walton. The 6’7” Grimes, who came to Southwest from Laurinburg Institute after playing at Louisville Ballard High School, is averaging 9.9 points per game and a team-leading 6.1 rebounds. In addition, he was named to the Region VII all-tournament team. Evans, a 6’7” post player from Ft. Worth (TX) Dunbar High School, is averaging 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Walton, a graduate of Memphis Westwood High School, is averaging 3.6 points per game and leads the team with 106 assists.

Other top contributors for the Saluqis are freshman forward Donald Boone (Hamilton High School), sophomore forwards Darius Simmons (Gary, IN) and Anthony Barbee (Ripley High School), and freshman guard Maurice Mickens (Middle College High School).