Posts Tagged ‘Blue Dragons basketball’

Defending champs are back

Monday, March 12th, 2018

By The Collegian staff

The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team, which won last year’s NJCAA national championship, will be given the chance to defend its title.

The Blue Dragons were granted one of eight at-large bids by the NJCAA on Monday during a live tournament selection show. The Blue Dragons finished the regular season 28-6, and runner-up in Region 6 and the Jayhawk Conference. Coffeyville earned Region 6’s automatic bid with a thrilling 82-80 win the championship game Wednesday.

The Blue Dragons are the No. 11 seed and will play Cape Fear at noon on March 20 at the Sports Arena.

This will be Hutchinson’s 21st NJCAA Tournament appearance and will be there for the fourth time in five years. Hutchinson has reached the last two national-championship games, losing to Salt Lake in 2016 and beating Eastern Florida State last season.

Men return some talented players in effort to defend title

Friday, October 27th, 2017

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

Only eight months ago, the Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team won a national championship, just the third in school history.

The team accumulated a near-perfect 35-2 record, led by NJCAA Player of the Year, Shakur Juiston. The Blue Dragons beat St. Petersburg, Odessa and Northwest Florida State to advance to the finals. They then handled Eastern Florida State 84-58 en route to a championship.

This season marks Steve Eck’s ninth as coach, and he looks to improve his younger players.

“Our goal is to practice hard, get better everyday, and become as good as we can be,” Eck said.
Eck’s team returns six players in all, but only one starter. He believes returning players, J.J. Rhymes (16 ppg.) and Devonte Bandoo (13.5 ppg.), will be a couple players to lead the Blue Dragon squad.

As practices have been underway for just about a month, Eck looks to build his team in time for the first game.

“We’ll need to establish a good defense, and build an offensive that encourages teamwork,” Eck said. “Forming chemistry and getting the team to play as hard as they can is the most important.”

As defending national champions and back-to-back conference champs, the Blue Dragons are favorites to win the conference for a third time in a row, according to the Jayhawk Conference preseason coaches poll.

“Every team wants to beat us,” Eck said. “We are a rival to everyone and we have a big target on our chest. Each game is important and it’s going to be tough.”

The Blue Dragons open regular-season play as they host Friends University JV on Nov. 1. They begin conference play on Nov.11, when they take on Seward County Community College.