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MCC Men’s Basketball to open season in Wyoming Friday

MCC Men’s Basketball to open season in Wyoming Friday

The McCook Community College men's basketball team opens the season on the road Friday and Saturday in Wyoming against Laramie County Community College and Eastern Wyoming, with the first home game set for 7 p.m. Nov. 15 against Dodge City.

MCC returns just one player who saw consistent minutes one year ago, but the team adds several transfers with experience in the NJCAA National Tournament, and two redshirt posts (6-8 and 7-0) who've spent the past year around the program and are ready to make an impact.

Jacob Brandl, in his third year at MCC, said there were two main things he wanted to improve after an 11-20 record last year: adding size to every position, and being better shooters.

Last year the team shot 40.4 percent from the field and just 31.0 percent from the 3-point line. That field goal percentage ranked 179 out of 194 Division 1 schools and the 3-point clip ranked 149th.

Last year the MCC roster had just one player taller than 6-8. This year there will be five.

"We wanted to recruit shooters to stretch the floor because we knew we were going to have some size underneath, and I thought we did a nice job filling the roles we needed to fill," Brandl said.


THE TWO PLAYERS who saw the court last year are sophomores Trey Summers and Cameron Nyarko.

Summers is a 6-3 guard from Greeley, Colo., who played in 31 games and averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He had five games of double-digit scoring -- all coming in the second semester. That included a season-best 13 points in the regular-season finale at home against Otero. For the season, he made 27.9 percent of his 86 shots from beyond the 3-point line.

"He was a regular part of our rotation last year and started a couple games, and he's been a calming factor for our group, in practices and scrimmages," said Brandl.

Summers was voted a team captain and has won back-to-back "Juice Man" awards – an award the team gives out in the preseason to someone who shows the most energy in practice and workouts.

"He had a great summer, showed up in great shape and we're expecting a lot out of him this year," Brandl said.

Nyarko, a 6-7 wing from London, England saw action in 12 games and scored 13 points with 12 rebounds. He transferred to MCC last year after spending a year at Casper College.

"He saw limited time, but as a returner he knows our system, understands what we want to do," Brandl said. "As an athletic wing, we're looking for him to give us some solid minutes defensively, rebound, guard multiple spots and initiate our transition game."


TWO POST PLAYERS arrived in McCook for the second semester last year and redshirted, but the coach is looking for key contributions from Thabo Manyere, 6-8, from Auckland, New Zealand, and Noah Boyd, 7-0, from Castries St. Lucia,

Manyere was previously at Moberly Area Community College (Missouri) in 2018-2019, a team that went 28-8 and played in the national tournament.

"He played some minutes for that team and we're looking for his leadership and it's been felt as he was also voted a team captain," Brandl said.

Boyd is still learning to play and hasn't had the level of exposure as others, according to his coach, but at 7-0, 230 pounds, and with his ability to run the court, his impact has been evident this fall.

"Noah is an absolute monster in there and will be looked to not only guard in the post but get some rebounds and easy buckets around the rim," Brandl said.

Boyd spent the summer in McCook and went to various camps including one in Lincoln by Isaiah Roby, the former Nebraska player who is with the San Antonio Spurs this season.

"So Noah going there and getting some NBA tutelage was huge," Brandl said. "He was able to learn from pros, learn some different skillset, and new moves and being here in the summer allowed him to get in the gym and weightroom and you can see a jump in his skillset just from last spring."


THE NEW GUYS: With just four guys coming back on a 16-man roster, that leaves a lot of new guys, but Brandl likes the group of newcomers.

"I think the thing I've been most pleased about with this group and bringing in 11 or 12 newcomers is just how quickly they bought into the team culture and what we're all about from top to bottom. This is a group of great teammates," said Brandl.

Incoming guards include, Martel Evans, 6-1, Omaha Creighton Prep; Zeki Cavil, 6-3, Bodrum, Turkey via Myerscough College in England; and sophomore transfers Madit Lueeth, 6-3, Edmond Alberta, Canada, and Ghared Boyce, 6-1, Brockton, Mass

"With our guards it's been very competitive in practice, Martel and Zeki – our freshmen at point guard -- have been good," said Brandl.

Lueeth is a 6-3 sophomore transfer from College of Southern Idaho. The guard played in 15 games in his second season with the Golden Eagles averaging 4.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

"He's been a good player for us, being a third-year Covid-19 sophomore and coming from such great program in Southern Idaho, they're the winningest program in JUCO history," Brandl said. Lueeth started in Eagles' opening-round loss in the National Tournament, scored five points in played 26 minutes and led the team with three assists.

"It's good to have that national tournament experience and his voice has been heard every day in practice, the guys respect him, and his game elevates us by knowing what 'big boy basketball' looks like," Brandl said.

Ghared Boyce is a 6-1 sophomore guard who last played in the 2020-21 season at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he averaged 19.8 points, and 3.4 rebounds per game.

He shot 46.2 percent from the floor, 43.3 percent from the 3-point line and 81.8 from the free throw line. His last game came April 8, 2021, when he scored 27 points off the bench in an 89-82 loss to McCook in the semi-finals of the Region IX Tournament. (He also scored 27 points in a 90-86 loss to MCC to start that Covid-19-delayed season.)

"He hurt us those couple games he played against us so it's nice having him on our side," Brandl said. "He makes an immediate impact on improving our shooting. Ghared is a scorer in every sense of the word and his presence as a knock-down shooter has been felt and I think will be felt throughout our season."


INCOMING WINGS ARE: Kolton Hager, 6-4, Wallace; Sacha Biozette, 6-7, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada; and sophomore transfers Alec Eugene, 6-4, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Simon Akena, 6-6, Stockholm, Sweden; and Jah-Keish Demby, 6-6, Wilmington, Del.

"Sacha gives us size at 6-7. He's long, can stretch the floor, and shoot it," Brandl said. "And Hagar has been nothing but solid for us. He is 'Mr. Consistency' showing up at practice every day, working hard, making open jump shots, and he's smart."

The coach has been pleased with the collective IQ of the team and quickly picking up the motion offense.

"That's something we want to do, spread the floor, move fast, play fast and get up the floor and go but in order to do that you need guys with high basketball IQs and Kolton's been one of those guys who's off the charts in that regard as a freshman," Brandl said.

Eugene was at Laramie County CC in 2020, then transferred to Cerro Coso Community College (California) and saw limited minutes in 13 games for the Coyotes.

"Alec Eugene is a really athletic player for us and gives us the athleticism we wanted and gives us length at the 2-guard spot," Brandl said.

Simon Akena is a 6-6 sophomore transfer from Three Rivers College (Poplar Bluff, Mo.). The wing saw limited time in 14 games.

"Simon's very athletic, a "3-and-D' guy who's been consistent for us, he's got a great shot but the thing I'm really impressed with is his play on the defensive side," Brand said. "He's established himself as the lock-down defender for us, and at his size he can guard a lot of positions."

Demby transferred from Division 2 North Central Missouri, has dealt with health issues so may have two years of eligibility remaining.

"He can play multiple spots as well and I've been really impressed with him in practice and is becoming more of a knock-down shooter and he can play at three positions on the floor," said Brandl. "And he interacts well with everyone. He's another one who was voted team captain unanimously by his teammates."


INCOMING POSTS INCLUDE: William Humer, 6-10, Sollentuna, Sweden; Lamine Ndione, 6-8, Marselle, France; and Brandon Kabuya Mpoyi, 6-9, Paris, France, who will join the team in the second semester.

"We felt pretty good having Noah and Thabo coming back in the post, even though they didn't play last year, but then we added Lamine Ndione and William Humer, and Brandon Mpoyi at semester."

"Will's got a high skill set and arguably is our best passer, and that helps us stretch the floor too," Brandl said. "He can play the four spot, so we can get big pretty fast playing him and Noah together at the four and five being 6-10 and 7-0." And even though Humer is a freshman he already holds four Division 1 offers.

Ndione transfers from Lee College, is another player who played in the national tournament last year.

"Ndione has a really long frame and knows how to play," Brandl said. "He's a really smart player too and gives us just a little different dynamic than our other bigs."

Brandon Kabuya Mpoyi, Paris France is a 6-9 post who will transfer in January. Originally at Walters State Community College (Morristown, Tenn.), he appeared in 29 games and averaged 4.7 points and 4-3 rebounds per game. He shot 56.9 percent from the field.


LAST SEASON the team struggled in the opening month of the season. Much of that was due to a grueling schedule that included eight of the first 12 games they played were against teams ranked in the NJCAA Top 25 polls. After falling to 1-11 on Nov. 27 and 4-17 on Jan. 25, the team went 6-2 down the stretch, capped by a 68-65 win over No. 22 Otero Junior College to close out the regular season.

MCC went 10-19 overall and 5-7 in Region IX South play and traveled to North Platte and began post-season play with a 91-84 win before falling in the second round to Laramie County.

MCC's non-conference schedule won't include eight ranked teams in the first 12 games like last year, but the pre-holiday schedule does include No. 3 Indian Hills (at Ottumwa, Iowa Nov. 18) and No. 17 Southern Idaho (at Twin Falls, Idaho on Nov. 26) as well as a pair of games against Dodge City, a team that received pre-season votes for the Top 25. MCC's second November home game is a Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference matchup with Central Community College at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 22.

After weekend home games Dec. 2-3 against Laramie County and Eastern Wyoming, MCC closes out the pre-holiday break with a pair of games at the Northeastern Junior College tournament Dec. 9-10.


THE SEASON RESUMES Jan. 8 in Lamar, Colo., for the first Region IX south-division games. MCC will play four home games in January and four in February with the final regular-season home game Feb. 14 against North Platte (7:30 p.m.).

"You have to get a good start and protect home court so when you're later in the season and you're on the road, you can set yourself up to be in a pretty good spot," Brandl said.

Brandl believes the Region IX schedule will once again be a tough one.

"I think the region is going to be pretty new as far as players," Brandl said. "I think most of the teams lost more than they are returning." Ditto for the Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference. Brandl believes all four team will be competitive.

For all the up-to-date information on MCC men's basketball this season and all sports including schedules, statistics, rosters and photos, please visit the official website of MCC Athletics at