Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

July 8, 2013

NJCAA Basketball: Best signees should be yet to come for Jaguars/Lady Jaguars

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — With the Fall Semester at Jacksonville College scheduled to start in just over six weeks — yes, the summer has flown by, thus far — and the school having signed commitments from just nine (seven women and a pair of men) basketball players, concern amongst Jaguar and Lady Jaguar backers would not be unfounded.

Especially given the fact that the most teams in NJCAA Region XIV have completed the bulk of their recruiting work — on average schools in the Texas Eastern Conference have signed pacts with 9.6 women and nine men at this time.

And while it can be perceived that the JC clubs are lagging behind their conference counterparts in garnering commitments, JC Academic Dean Lynn Nabi, who is continuing to work closely with the college's head coaches, says this occurrence is more by design than anything else.

“I think these numbers in past years are pretty typical for us,” Nabi said. “Given our philosophy, we tend to do more recruiting late in the (recruiting) period and less early on.

“Some schools do things differently. The coaches want to get the recruiting done so that they can enjoy their summers and not have to worry about anything.”

On the womens side, Angelina College and Blinn College lead the way, having National Letters of Intent from 14 young ladies each, according to the NJCAA website.

Tyler Junior College has sewed up agreements from a dozen ladies, while Trinity Valley Community College, Paris Junior College and San Jacinto have deals with 10 women each on the books.

Navarro College is the only team in the league with positively no room at the inn as the Bulldogs have  15 men on scholarship, which is the maximum number allowed by the NJCAA.  

Other schools ranking near the top include Blinn (13), Tyler (12), Coastal Bend College (12) and Angelina (11).

Bossier (La.) Parish Community College joins JC as schools having final agreements in hand from just two players each.

The key word in the last sentence is final, with JC having partial paperwork on as many as seven men at this time.

“We are waiting to get everything totally in order on six or seven players now,” Jody Bailey, head men's basketball coach at JC said recently. “Once their paperwork is 100-percent complete we can list them with the NJCAA. The sooner the better as far as I am concerned.”

An old saying alludes to the fact that the early bird gets the worm. Despite this notion, Nabi said that there are gems awaiting those schools who tend to do most of their recruiting late.

“Ideally you strive for balance, a good mix of kids that you sign early on and then some others that you play the waiting game with,” Nabi explained. “There are a lot of men and women out there that don't find out until late June or early July that they want be academically eligible to play (NCAA) Division I and/or Division II basketball ball and that they are going to have to go the junior college route, regardless of their skill level on the court. These are the kids that we pursue late. There are often some very talented players in that bunch, kids that have the skills to play D-1, so it becomes a positive thing for us if our coaches have made the right contacts and have stayed in touch with these kids.”