Basketball, track athletes ink with NCAA Division I programs


With achieved goals, hard work and dedication come bright futures.

Twelve South Plains College track and basketball athletes recently made their commitments to four-year universities after they signed scholarships agreements on Nov. 9 and Nov. 16.

With the SPC men’s basketall team cruising through the regular season, several Texans have announced their intentions to compete for universities to continue their athletic endeavors.

Men’s basketball players signing were: Jordan Brangers, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard from Radcliffe, Kentucky; Josh Webster, a 6-3 sophomore guard from St. Louis, Missouri; Raquan Mitchell, 6-3 sophomore guard from Miami, Florida; and Shawntrez Davis, a 6-9 sophomore forward from Atlanta, Georgia.

Brangers has chosen to continue his college career at Texas Tech University next season.

For Brangers, being a part of a Big 12 basketball team was one of the biggest factors in choosing a university.

“Having a chance to play for a Big 12 team is a great opportunity for me, and the coaches and players there are great,” explained Brangers.

Washington State, West Virginia, New Mexico and New Mexico State were among other universities to reach out to Brangers. Another reason he gave for choosing to become a Red Raider is the relationship he has built with Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard.

“My brother had a chance to play for Coach Beard before he left Arkansas Little-Rock,” explained Brangers, “and I enjoyed watching his style of coaching and seeing the love he shows towards his players.”

Webster also be joining Brangers at Texas Tech next season.

“Coach Beard and I get along real well, and he has influenced my style of play for a long time,” explained Webster.

Webster said that he understands how big the opportunity to play in the Big 12 Conference is and does not want to take anything for granted.

“This is a chance for me to expand my game and become an overall better player,” said Webster, whose overall goal is playing in the NBA.

Mitchell expressed his gratitude to join the team at Colorado State University.

“I had the opportunity to join the big-name universities, but Colorado State has treated me like family the entire time they talked to me,” said Mitchell. “It feels great to know they are behind me 100 percent.”

While looking forward to joining Colorado State, Mitchell also is anticipating what the university has to offer.

“It is a really great environment at Colorado State,” said Mitchell. “The city really appreciates the basketball program. The overall love is what gets me excited.”

He will be seeing a familiar face at Colorado State, former Texan, Che Bob.

“It will be good to get to see him again and be able to play on the court with him,” said Mitchell.

Davis will continue playing basketball at Nevada University next season.

“I am a big fan of the overall school,” Davis explained. “Academics are important to me mostly, but the environment of the university is great.”

While playing basketball for Nevada, Davis wants to keep his grades and studies up in order to stay on track in the classroom.

“Being able to be great on the court is one of my top goals,” said Davis “but I know how much my grades mean to my future as well.”

Davis feels that the type of style Nevada runs on the court best suits him, and he can be comfortable learning the system.

I have been able to spend time and talk to the coaching staff, along with the players,” Davis said, “and it feels great to receive a warm welcome. They have treated me well, and I look forward to playing for Nevada.”

Two members of the SPC women’s basketball team also have signed early. Yanina Inkina, a 6-1 sophomore guard from Belarus, Russia, will continue her basketball career at Arkansas-Little Rock next season. Inkina has become a multi-talented player, as she has become an offensive threat on the inside while pushing her limits outside of the 3-point line.

“Being able to play for Little Rock is a great chance to be a part of a winning tradition,” explained Inkina.

She said she feels that the university will suit her best in order to improve her skills and overall game.

“This will be a great chance to help me develop my game and allow me to reach my goals,” explained Inkina.

Jasauen Beard, a 6-1 sophomore guard from Midewst City, Okla., will be playing for UT- Rio Grande Valley next season.

“I have been able to get a warm feeling from the coaching staff, players and overall program,” explained Beard.

Along with choosing where to play, one of Beard’s decisions to join the Rio Grande Valley was having the opportunity to be a difference maker for the program.

“I am looking forward to get on the court and make a difference for the team,” explained Beard. “Being able to make a big impact for my team is a top goal of mine.”

Before the track season kicks off, several SPC athletes signed scholarship agreements  as well. Saahir Bethea, a long jumper and a triple jumper from Elkins Park, Pennsylvainia, Okeen Williams, a hurdler and sprinter from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, Kwame McGee, a high jumper from Shreveport, Louisiana, Maurice Prieto, a sprinter from Trinidad & Tobago, and Joi Gill, a sprinter from Houston, Texas, all will be competing at universities next year.

Bethea chose to continue his career at the University of Kentucky.

When asked why he chose to go to Kentucky, Bethea responded, “because of my visit, it felt like a second home.”

“Coach Floreal is a top long jump coach in the country,” he added.

Williams chose to continue his athletic career at the University of Alabama, competing in hurdles.

Williams chose to go to Alabama because “Alabama feels like home and is the place to be.” He added that he has a strong respect for Alabama assistant coach Blaine Wiley, who previously coached at SPC.

Kwame McGee chose to continue his career at Louisiana Tech University, because “it was one of the schools that I looked up before I came here. It was close to home.”

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