Three Northeast Mississippi Community College’s men’s basketball players are scheduled to get their sophomore years underway early at a highly renowned preseason competition.
Conner McKay, Bryce Smith and Darius Williams recently accepted invitations to participate in the 2017 JucoReport Elite 150 showcase on Saturday, July 15 in suburban Atlanta at Carlton J. Kell (Ga.) High School.
“This is a great event for all three of these guys to enhance their recruiting,” said Tigers head coach Cord Wright. “All three are already being recruited by four-year schools, but playing in a national event like this in the summer time will give them a great chance to continue to showcase their individual game.”
McKay is an elite shooter with a special touch at the free throw line. He led Northeast with an outstanding 96-percent clip from the charity stripe, which included just one miss during the entire campaign.
The Baldwyn High School graduate also topped the Tigers with a 40.2-percent mark from three-point range. His 1.8 made treys per game was also tied for the most on the team with Kendall Stafford.
The 6-0, 160-pound guard tied a career-high with 22 points in home victories over Bethel (Tenn.) University’s junior varsity unit and Holmes Community College. He tallied 6.7 points per contest overall as a freshman.
McKay started in every postseason matchup for Northeast and had 13 points in a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament quarterfinal triumph versus East Central Community College.
Smith bolstered the Tigers as a true post presence with his 6-8, 225-pound frame. He is the top returning rebounder for the reigning MACJC North Division champions with an average of five each outing.
He accumulated his inaugural double-double during a rivalry contest at Northwest Mississippi Community College with 13 points and 11 boards, which were both season-highs as well.
Smith recorded his second double-digit rebounding performance in a thrilling overtime win at Mississippi Delta Community College, which included a career-best six offensive boards.
The Powder Springs, Ga., product had the third highest shooting percentage among Northeast’s regular lineup rotation at 47.2. His yearly averages also included 4.9 points and 17.2 minutes of action.
Williams was an everyday starter for the Tigers during his inaugural campaign in the City of Hospitality. He finished fifth on the squad and second among freshmen in scoring with 9.6 points per game.
The Lexington, Ky., native twice set a career-high with 20 points in victories over Coahoma Community College and Bethel. Williams reached double figures on 12 separate occasions last year, including three times in the playoffs.
Williams tied a personal best with nine rebounds during back-to-back triumphs versus East Central and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Tournament in Clinton.
The 6-4, 190-pound guard was a 44.2-percent shooter overall with a 36-percent ledger from beyond the arc. Williams also posted 4.3 boards, 1.2 assists and 0.8 steals for Northeast.
The JucoReport Elite 150 has developed an outstanding reputation across the country as one of the most elite invitation only events for rising freshmen and sophomores at the two-year level.
Hundreds of coaches from NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA institutions are expected to attend the competition, which begins at approximately 10:30 a.m. EDT and continues into the evening hours.