Trio led Neosho to first postseason

trip since 2005

JOHN GIFFIN

Sports editor

Editor’s note: Because of National Junior College Athletic Association sanctions, the Panthers can not record a conference record and had to vacate several wins. The current official record for the Neosho County Commuity College Panthers is 14-11. These three players were not responsible for the actions leading to the sanctions but are being punished for circumstances out of their control.

Big three trios have usually been a key to success in basketball. Three star combinations from Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy for the Los Angeles Lakers to the former Miami Heat’s LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh have been the backbone for winning basketball.

For Neosho County Community College (6-2 KJCCC East, 21-4 overall, on the court), the key to success is sophomores Joseph Acuil, sharp shooter Brett Frantz and point guard BJ Jenkins. 

That trio led the Panthers to the first NJCAA postseason trip since 2005 last season. 

“We’ve had good teams the past two years,” Frantz said. “We’ve had height that not many teams can handle. that’s allowed us to be pretty successful and makes it easier for the guards to play.”

“Between this year and last year, there’s really not much of a difference,” Jenkins said. “These are probably two of the best teams I’ve ever played on in my entire life, because I’ve had weapons in every category you can think of.”

From the time all three student athletes have arrived in Chanute, there has been a lot of growth, Head Coach Jeremy Coombs said.

“It’s been fun to watch them grow up,” Coombs said. “When they came to me Brett had some offers, but not a ton. It’s kind of the same with BJ. Jo was kind of in the same boat. Jo has really worked on his game and obviously it paid off. Brett and BJ have both really improved on their game but also matured and became leaders. It’s really shown this year.” 

The three Panthers can not return to the postseason in their junior college careers, but all have bright futures ahead of them at four-year colleges. 

Acuil signed to play for Head Coach Scott Drew at Baylor University in November after verbally committing this summer. Jenkins and Frantz have not signed  Letters of Intent as of yet but are receiving attention from coaches.

“They take up a lot of my day because I’m constantly on the phone talking to coaches about them,” Coombs said. “It’s just rewarding and it’s huge for them to be able to come in this season and improve their game and become better basketball players and get the accolades and things that they want to move on.”

Frantz and Jenkins want to finish their college careers at a university and go from there.

“I’d like to sign to a school after this and we’ll just see what happens after this season,” Frantz said,

I’d also like to sign somewhere to a four-year school and just see what happens after that,” Jenkins said. “Hopefully God takes the wheel.”

With the sanctions, Neosho can not reach the lofty goals it set at the beginning of the season but the big three has new goals in mind. Finishing with the best record (even though it’s unofficial) in the Jayhawk East is one of them.

“To win conference,” Acuil said.

“We just want to win every game that we play,” Frantz said. “We don’t want to lose any more games.”

“Win conference and hopefully we get some type of publicity,” Jenkins said. “Or they’ll let us do something. I honestly hope we get ranked even after everything that has happened.”

The big three and the rest of the Panthers (0-0, 14-11) will complete the first round of KJCCC Div. 1 round robin play against Cowley Community College (6-2, 10-15) tonight at 7:30 p.m.

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