Thursday, October 26, 2005
Dawkins leads Matadors
Arizona Western College is proud to announce that the men’s basketball team, fresh off their second straight appearance at the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament last March, is ranked fourth in the nation in the NJCAA Preseason Poll.
It’s the fourth time in this decade that the Matadors’ men’s basketball team has been ranked in the preseason poll, and it’s the second time in the last three years that the Mats are a preseason top 10 selection. The announcement comes just a short time before the Matadors begin the 2006-07 regular season November 3 in Utah at the Salt Lake Tournament.
The Matadors lost five sophomores from last season’s Region I championship squad that made their second straight trip to ‘Hutch’, and won an NJCAA Tournament game for the first time since 1991. However, despite losing NJCAA All-American forward Engen Nurumbi to the University of Minnesota, All-Region I selection Phillip Woods, and Region I Tournament Most Valuable Player Knowledge Miller to West Texas A&M, the coaches in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference gave AWC nine of the 11 possible first-place votes in the Coaches’ Preseason Poll and officially chose the Matadors to win the conference this season.
The national pollsters followed the lead of the coaches, respecting the fact that returning for the Matadors this season are All-Region I selection and one of the top point guards in the nation, Kenny Dawkins, as well as fellow returning starters Edvaldo Lima, Matt Gonzales and Vitor Zoppa.
“It’s very nice that we’re getting national recognition, said AWC Men’s Head Basketball Coach Kelly Green. “It’s definitely a good honor for our sophomores, our athletic program and our school. But at the same time, if we get caught up in the honor itself, then the ranking will fall very quickly.”
The number four ranking is the second time in the last three years that the national pollsters gave AWC a top-10 ranking in the preseason after ranking AWC seventh in the 2004-05 NJCAA Preseason Poll.
The Matadors are actually the only ACCAC team to be ranked in the NJCAA Preseason Poll.
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