RTC Conference Primers: #23 – Southland Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 12th, 2010

Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish

East Division

  1. Southeastern Louisiana (13-3)
  2. Nicholls State (10-6)
  3. Lamar (9-7)
  4. Northwestern State (6-10)
  5. McNeese State (5-11)
  6. Central Arkansas (3-13)

West Division

  1. Stephen F. Austin (13-3)
  2. Sam Houston State (12-4)
  3. Texas State (9-7)
  4. UTSA (7-9)
  5. A&M-Corpus Christi (6-10)
  6. Texas-Arlington (3-13)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • Anatoly Bose (F) – Nicholls State (21.1 ppg, 86 three-pointers made)
  • Gilberto Clavell (F) – Sam Houston (17.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
  • A.J. Stewart (C) – Texas State (5.7 PPG in 2008-09 for Kentucky)
  • Anthony Miles (G) – Lamar (14 ppg, 3.0 apg)
  • Devin Gibson (G) – UT-San Antonio (12.5 ppg, 4.4 apg)

Sixth Man

  • Cameron Johnson (F) – Texas State (14.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg)

Impact Newcomer

  • A.J. Stewart (F) – Texas State pulled in several transfers, but none bigger than the 6’9 Kentucky transfer. Having played in 29 games for the Wildcats as a sophomore, Stewart could have a big impact in a league not known for fielding a plethora of big men. Stewart led Arlington Country Day (Fla.) High School to three straight state championships.

A.J. Stewart, formerly a bench player with Kentucky, hopes to celebrate an expanded role with Texas State. (ukwildcatcountry.com)

What You Need to Know

  • The Southland is a two-division league and made a change during the offseason. Stephen F. Austin moved from the East Division to the West and Lamar jumped from the West to the East.
  • The Merrell Center in Katy is the site of the 2011 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament. This is the third straight year the tournament has been played at a neutral site.
  • The five-year transition process for Central Arkansas‘ athletic department is over. The school has now gained Division I active membership and will be eligible for postseason play in the Southland Conference and at the national level.
  • There was a shake-up on the coaching front of a couple of teams in the offseason. Central Arkansas hired former Razorback great Corliss Williamson as its head coach, while Sam Houston State promoted assistant Jason Hooten after longtime coach Bob Marlin took over the helm at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Predicted Champion

Stephen F. Austin (NCAA seed: #15). The Lumberjacks were beaten in the tournament championship game by rival Sam Houston State last year. Head Coach Danny Kaspar always has his team in contention and this year his team-oriented style of play could reap benefits as the conference is void of any big-time NBA caliber talent. It could be a toss-up with Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, but both teams should come out of the West bloodied, but not beaten.

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    Summer School in the Southland Conference

    Posted by Brian Goodman on August 14th, 2010


    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    Around The SLC:

    • Back To School: Former NBA lottery pick Corliss Williamson was hired as head coach of the University of Central Arkansas on March 12. Williamson was an NCAA All-American at the University of Arkansas and an NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons. Williamson coached the last three years at Arkansas Baptist.
    • Out With The Old, In With The New: Sam Houston State University hired assistant coach Jason Hooten to run the Bearkats’ operation after long-time head coach Bob Marlin fled to greener pastures as he accepted the job at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. ULL hired Marlin after he led SHSU to the NCAA Tournament, where the Kats lost a close game to Baylor. Marlin coached the Bearkats for 12 years.
    • UTSA Sticks With Thompson: The University of Texas-San Antonio decided its program is in good hands with Brooks Thompson at the helm and gave him a three-year contract extension through the 2014-15 season. Thompson has coached the Roadrunners for four years and checks in with a career mark of 37-51, but posted a winning campaign of 17-12 in 2009-10.
    • Called Up: The wait is finally over for Central Arkansas, which was notified in mid-July by the NCAA that the school achieved Division-I active membership after a five-year transition process.
    • Latching On: After concluding their basketball careers, former SLC players Patrick Sullivan (Southeastern Louisiana) and Kevin Palmer (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) both found their way onto NBA Summer League rosters in July. Sullivan played for the Memphis Grizzlies, while Palmer ran the court for the Washington Wizards.
    • Parlez Vous Francais: Former UT-Arlington guard Marquez Haynes signed a contract with Chalon in the French First Division to begin playing in 2010-11. Haynes averaged 22.6 points per game last year.

    Corliss Williamson takes the reins at UCA, but is he ready for the challenge? (ucasports.com)

    Power Rankings:

    EAST

    1. Nicholls State (11-19, 7-9): The Colonels had an up-and-down season, but finished strong with a close 62-57 loss to SLC champion SHSU in the conference tournament. The big news for the Colonels is that they didn’t have a single senior on the roster, therefore, all five starters return, including first-team all-SLC pick Anatoly Bose (21.1 PPG). This will be a big jump for Nicholls, but they definitely have the offensive firepower to make a run.
    2. Southeastern Louisiana (19-12, 10-6): The Lions only lost one star player, but Patrick Sullivan is a huge loss. The 6’9 Sullivan led SELA with 15.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last season and could find himself on an NBA roster when the season begins. The Lions will have their next six top scorers returning, but will have to find someone to man the middle. Read the rest of this entry »
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    Southland Tournament Preview

    Posted by rtmsf on March 9th, 2010

    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    FINAL STANDINGS

    EAST

    1. Stephen F. Austin 21-8, 11-5 (pre-season pick #1) First-round opponent – UT-Arlington
    2. SE Louisiana 18-11, 10-6 (pre-season pick #3) First-round opponent – Texas State
    3. Nicholls State 11-18, 7-9 (pre-season pick #2) First-round opponent – Sam Houston State
    4. Northwestern State 10-9, 5-11 (pre-season pick #4) Did not qualify for tournament
    5. McNeese State 10-20, 5-11 (pre-season pick #5) Did not qualify for tournament
    6. Central Arkansas 9-21, 3-13 (pre-season pick #6) Did not qualify for tournament

    WEST

    1. Sam Houston State 22-7, 14-2 (pre-season pick #1) First-round opponent – Nicholls State
    2. Texas A&M-CC 15-14, 10-6 (pre-seasoan pick #2) First-round opponent – UTSA
    3. UT-San Antonio 19-10, 9-7 (pre-season pick #3) First-round opponent – A&M-CC
    4. Texas State 15-15, 9-7 (pre-season pick #6) First-round opponent – SE Louisiana
    5. Texas-Arlington 16-13, 8-8 (pre-season pick #4) First-round opponent – SFA
    6. Lamar 14-18, 5-11 (pre-season pick #5) Did not qualify for tournament

    SEASON IN REVIEW

    The prognosticators were nearly right on target with their preseason polls and selections. Texas State threw a curveball into the mix as both the coaches and sports information directors picked the Bobcats to finish last in the SLC West. Not only did the Bobcats finish in fourth place in the tough West Division, but they also earned a No. 5 seed in the Southland Tournament.

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    Checking in on… the Southland

    Posted by jstevrtc on February 13th, 2010

    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    Current Standings as of Feb. 12, 2010:

    EAST

    1. Stephen F. Austin 17-6 (7-3)
    2. SE Louisiana 13-9 (5-4)
    3. McNeese State 8-15 (3-6)
    4. Nicholls State 7-16 (3-7)
    5. Northwestern State 7-15(2-7)
    6. Central Arkansas 8-16 (2-8)

    WEST

    1. Sam Houston State 17-5 (9-0)
    2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 13-10 (7-2)
    3. Texas-Arlington 13-9 (5-4)
    4. Lamar 13-11 (5-4)
    5. Texas State 11-13 (5-5)
    6. UT-San Antonio 13-9 (3-6)

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    UT-Arlington senior Marquez Haynes has been named the Southland Conference men’s basketball player of the week for the fourth time this season after averaging 26 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in wins over A&M-Corpus Christi and Northwestern State.

    TEAM UPDATES

    EAST

    SFA – The Lumberjacks were seemingly on cruise control in the SLC East until it hit a bump in the road with a 49-46 loss to Lamar. SFA faces two Louisiana schools in McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana.

    SELA – Despite playing without their second- (Damon Forest) and fifth- (Gary Dixon) leading scorers, the Lions have managed to stay in second place in the SLC East. The two players have been suspended indefinitely since Jan. 28. SELA faces Nicholls State and UTA this week.

    MCNEESE STATE – Struggling with several other teams to make the SLC tourney, the Cowboys lost both games last week to UTA and Texas State. McNeese has a tough road game against SFA, then it hosts NW State.

    NICHOLLS STATE - Was crushed 71-46 by A&M-CC, then fell to SHSU 75-69 on Feb. 10 for their fourth straight SLC loss. The Colonels will attempt to right the ship with a road game against SELA and a home date with Texas State.

    NORTHWESTERN STATE – Three straight SLC losses places the Demons at the bottom of the food chain in the conference. NW State lost a heartbreaker to UTA on a last-second shot, then fell to SFA by 10. The Demons could get back into the thick of the East Divison with games against Central Arkansas and McNeese State this week.

    UCA – Snapped a five-game conference losing streak with a 72-64 victory over UTSA. Also played undefeated SHSU close in a 75-70 loss. The Bears try to draw even with Northwestern State, then host Texas-Arlington on Feb. 20.

    WEST

    SHSU - Sam Houston State remained undefeated in Southland Conference play with a 75-69 win at Nicholls on Wednesday night. The Bearkats climbed to No. 76 in the RPI and are ranked No. 23 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll. Another big week awaits the Kats as they face second-place A&M-CC and rival Lamar this week.

    A&M-CC - Got back on the winning track after suffering two straight setbacks. The Islanders defeated Nicholls State (71-46) and Texas State (63-60) last week. A&M-Corpus Christi can inch a step closer to first-place SHSU as the two teams face off Saturday.

    UTA - Started the SLC slate by losing four of its first five games, but has responded by reeling off four straight wins. The Mavericks face two tough tests as they hit the road to play UTSA, then host Southeastern Louisiana.

    LAMAR - Three straight wins (UTSA, UCA, SFA) vaulted the Cardinals back into the mix for a Southland Conference tourney berth after starting league play 2-4. Lamar is at pesky Texas State, then hosts Sam Houston State this week.

    TEXAS STATE - Has surprised a few prognosticators with its 5-5 mark in SLC play. The Bobcats split this week, beating McNeese State and falling by three to A&M-Corpus. This week will be interesting as TSU hosts Lamar, who is one game up on them in the standings, and travels to Nicholls State.

    UTSA – The Roadrunners broke a five-game conference losing streak by besting SELA on Feb. 6, but the euphoria was short-lived as they fell to cellar-dweller Central Arkansas four nights later. Two tough games await in UTA and A&M-CC.

    BOXSCORE BREAKDOWN

    Lately, SELA center Patrick Sullivan is setting season-highs left and right. The 6’9 center made and attempted (9 of 16) season-highs in free throws on Feb. 3, then set a season-high with eight blocks in the same game against Texas State.

    Nicholls State’s Anatoly Bose cooled down considerably this week. The 6’6 Australian averaged 32.7 PPG in his last four games before scoring 11 and 19 points in two games this week.

    Marquez Haynes made the game-winning shot with 4.3 seconds remaining to lift the UTA Mavericks to an 81-80 victory over Northwestern State, and finished with 32 points.

    This is the third time in the past four seasons SHSU has had at least a 6-0 start to league play, but haven’t won a league title since 2003, when it started 9-0.

    Central Arkansas’ Mitch Reuter has been on a scoring binge. The 6’6 senior had a season-high 31 points in a loss to SHSU and is averaging 20.2 PPG in the last five contests.

    Kevin Palmer’s streak of scoring in double figures came to an end in A&M-CC’s lopsided victory over Nicholls State. Palmer scored six points to snap a streak of 21 games with double-digit points.

    Texas State junior forward Cameron Johnson continued his scoring onslaught with 29 and 21 points, respectively, last week. Johnson has increased his scoring average to 14 PPG.

    In UTA’s win over Northwestern State, the two teams combined to shoot 77 free throws. The Demons made 27 of 45 and the Mavs converted 24 of 32.

    Justin Nabors (12 points) scored nearly 25% of his teams points in a low-scoring 49-46 victory over Stephen F. Austin. The Cardinals didn’t have another player in double figures. Nabors had 11 rebounds to go with his 12 points and has recorded a double-double in three straight games.

    After scoring in double figures in only four of the first 19 games, UTSA center Demarco Stepter has hit for at least 10 points in three straight games with 11, 15 and 14 points.

    Walt Harris (18) and Jereal Scott (14) were the only SFA players to score more than four points in a 49-46 loss to Lamar on Feb. 6.

    Northwestern State shot better from the field, free-throw line and beyond the arc, but was outrebounded by 20 caroms in a loss to SFA on Feb. 10.

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    Checking in on… the Southland

    Posted by rtmsf on January 2nd, 2010

    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    Current Standings (as of Dec. 30, 2009)

    EAST

    1. Stephen F. Austin 9-3
    2. SE Louisiana 7-4
    3. Northwestern St. 5-6
    4. McNeese State 5-7
    5. Central Arkansas 5-7
    6. Nicholls State 4-9

    WEST

    1. UTSA 8-3
    2. Sam Houston 8-4
    3. UTA 5-5
    4. Lamar 6-7
    5. A&M Corpus 5-6
    6. Texas State 4-8

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK.  UT-Arlington guard Marquez Haynes scored 31 points and grabbed seven boards in a 101-85 win over Texas Wesleyan. This is the second POW honor for Haynes this year.

    NON-CONFERENCE.  With Southland Conference action slated to begin the second week of the New Year, let’s take a look at the games, players and statistics from non-conference play in 2009:

    GAMES

    • Sam Houston State University set several Rupp Arena records as they lost to the nation’s fourth-ranked team, Kentucky, 102-92, then hammered fellow SEC member Auburn 107-89 a month later.
    • The Nicholls State Colonels began the season losing their first eight games after being picked second in the SLC East in the preseason polls. Included in the 0-8 start was a 72-58 loss to Division II Alaska.
    • Texas A&M Corpus Christi started the season off with a bang by downing Oregon State, of the Pac-10, 67-43, in Lubbock of all places. The Islanders were led by Kevin Palmer’s 23 points.
    • In its first contest of the year in Ames, Iowa, UTSA bested Iowa 62-50. The loss snapped Iowa’s 46-game winning streak in home openers.
    • The Southland Conference has battled numerous Top 25 teams in non-conference thus far, including teams ranked No. 1 (Kansas), 2 (Texas), 3 (Kentucky).

    PLAYERS

    • One of the biggest surprises has been the improvement of Lamar’s Anthony Miles. The 6’1 sophomore guard from Clear Brook High School is seventh in the league in scoring (15.2) after averaging 6.3 ppg as a freshman last year. Miles has doubled his stats in nearly every statistical category this year.
    • UTA’s Haynes, a senior transfer from Boston College, has lived up to his billing as a preseason All-Southland Conference selection. Haynes has scored in double figures in all 11 Maverick games and has posted 30 or more points four times. He leads the conference in scoring at 24.7 ppg.
    • Another All-SLC preseason pick, SHSU’s Corey Allmond, has been streaky thus far. The senior guard from Maryland torched Kentucky and Auburn for 37 and 25 points, respectively. He hit 11 of 16 three-pointers against Kentucky, which is a Rupp Arena record. The 37 points are a career high.
    • Nicholls State’s Anatoly Bose is on a tear. The 6’6 junior from Australia has scored more than 20 points in five consecutive games with a season-high of 27 points coming against Southern-New Orleans. It’s no coincidence that the Colonels have won four of their last five games as Bose has heated up.
    • Kevin Palmer, a 6’6 senior at A&M CC, has scored at least 20 points in six of the Islanders’ 11 games this year. He is second in the SLC in scoring at 20.2 ppg.
    • Lamar’s Justin Nabors continues to lead the SLC in rebounding. His 9.2 boards a game is nearly three more than the 6’7 senior averaged two years ago. Nabors pulled down a league-high 24 rebounds against Louisiana College.
    • SLC newcomer and junior college transfer Gilberto Clavell has helped SHSU to an 8-4 mark. Clavell averaged 25.2 points per game during a four-game stretch. His 34 points against Auburn are a season and career high.
    • Stephen F. Austin’s Jordan Glynn had a stretch where notched a double-double in five straight games, averaging 13.8 points and 11.2 rebounds a game during that span.

    TEAM BREAKDOWNS

    EAST

    • Stephen F. Austin – Put together winning streaks of three and four games to start the year 9-3. Nearly missed on big wins against Texas Tech and Arkansas. Won the SLC West last year with a 12-4 mark. Looks to start the New Year and SLC season off right when they play arch-rival Sam Houston State in Huntsville on Saturday, Jan. 9.
    • Southeastern Louisiana – Might be a little of an unknown quantity in the SLC this year. Picked to finish third in the East, SELA played Mississippi State and LSU relatively well, but has played a relatively weak non-conference schedule with three non-Division games. Senior center Patrick Sullivan (15 ppg, 8.4 rpg) will need to play big as conference play begins.
    • Northwestern State – Looking to improve after a dismal season last year, the Demons are streaky at best. They are last in the SLC in free-throw percentage (61 percent) and in the middle of the pack in field goal and 3-point percentage. The Demons have no real go-to player, but senior guard Damon Jones tries to fit that bill, having scored in double figures in six of the last seven games.
    • McNeese State – Led by senior Diego Kapelan and sophomore Patrick Richard, the Cowboys played eight of their 12 games on the road thus far. Kapelan has increased his scoring average each year, and after scoring five points a game as a freshman last year, Richard is now throwing in 12 ppg.as a sophomore. McNeese closes out the non-conference schedule with Texas Tech and LSU before playing three tough SLC games to open the season.
    • Central Arkansas – Picked by most to finish last in the SLC East, the Bears lost four of their first five games, then went on a four-game winning streak and sit at 5-7. UCA boasts a balanced scoring attack with five players netting double figures. Junior guard Chris Poellnitz leads the way with 13.8 points a game. The play of JC transfer Tadre Sheppard (11 ppg.) has the Bears optimistic they can better last year’s 3-13 mark in the SLC.
    • Nicholls State – The Colonels were picked to finish second in the rough and tumble SLC East, but began the 2009 campaign by losing their first eight games. NSU rebounded by winning four of its next five, but the Colonels have an 18-day layoff until their SLC season begins. Forward Anatoly Bose has been a beast of late, but NSU will need more production from Fred Hunter and Maurice Foster if they want to start the SLC off the right way.

    WEST

    • UTSA – Junior point guard Devin Gibson (13.7 ppg.) from Cy-Falls in Houston has led an experienced group of Roadrunners to an SLC West best 8-3 mark. Of UTSA’s eight leading scorers, six of the players are either a junior or senior. The Roadrunners played in the championship game of the SLC Tournament last year, losing to SFA. UTSA begins SLC play on the road in two of its first three games.
    • SHSU – Year in and year out the Bearkats are one of the teams to beat in the SLC. Picked to finish first in the West, SHSU has played well in non-conference, but four of its eights wins have come against non-Division I teams. JC transfer Gilberto Clavell has been labeled by his coach as a “beast” and he brings toughness down low to the Kats, who rely heavily on their guard play. SHSU tips off conference play at home against bitter rival Stephen F. Austin.
    • UTA – The Mavericks have one of the best scorers in college basketball on their side. Senior guard Marquez Haynes has scored in double figures every time he has stepped on the court, and along with fellow senior Brandon Long (16.6 ppg.) make up a troublesome duo for teams in the SLC. Things could be rough for the Mavs without senior guard Tommy Moffitt, who broke his foot in early December. UTA opens with Texas State in Arlington on Saturday, Jan. 9.
    • Lamar – Had a stretch of six of seven games on the road, but has won three of its last four to stand at 6-7. Senior forward Ashton Hall (9 points, four rebounds a year ago) has only played one minute this year due to a knee injury. The Cardinals are picked to finish second-to-last in the West after finishing in last place a year ago. Look for guard Anthony Miles and senior Justin Nabors to carry the load.
    • TAMU-CC -The Islanders are picked to finish right behind SHSU in the West, and have played some stiff competition in non-conference to check in with a 5-6 mark. Mr. Everything Kevin Palmer was an All-SLC pick a year ago and he hasn’t disappointed thus far. Palmer scores 20 points per game to go with 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists and 3 steals. The Islanders start conference play with Central Arkansas, Texas State, Northwestern State and Lamar and could be 4-0 on Jan. 20.
    • Texas State – After finishing fifth in the West last year, the Bobcats are picked to be the team in the cellar this season. TSU has losing streaks of five and three games this year and open the SLC campaign against two strong opponents in UTA and A&M-CC. The Bobcats have three players scoring 10 points each – John Rybak (10.9), Cameron Johnson (10.9) and J.B. Conley (10.2). One of these players will need to step up for Texas State to be competitive in 2009-10.

    LOOKING AHEAD

    Saturday, Jan. 9

    • Stephen F. Austin at Sam Houston State, 2 p.m.

    Wednesday, Jan. 13

    • Southeastern Louisiana at Northwestern State, 7 p.m.
    • Nicholls State at UTSA, 7 p.m.
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    2009-10 Conference Primers: #18 – Southland

    Posted by jstevrtc on October 19th, 2009

    seasonpreview

    Predicted Order of Finish:

    East

    1.      Southeastern Louisiana (12-4)
    2.      Nicholls State (11-5)
    3.      Stephen F. Austin (10-6)
    4.      Northwestern State (7-9)
    5.      McNeese State (5-11)
    6.      Central Arkansas (4-12)

    West

    1.      Sam Houston State (13-3)
    2.      Texas-San Antonio (11-5)
    3.      Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (10-6)
    4.      Texas-Arlington (9-7)
    5.      Lamar (7-9)
    6.      Texas State (6-10)

    All-Conference Team:

    •    Marquez Haynes (G), Sr, Texas-Arlington
    •    Ashton Mitchell (G), Sr, Sam Houston State
    •    Anatoly Bose (F), Jr, Nicholls State
    •    Kevin Palmer (F), Sr, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
    •    Corey Allmond (G), Sr, Sam Houston State

    6th Man. Devin Gibson (G), Jr, Texas-San Antonio

    Impact Newcomer. Rodney Jones (G), Jr, Southeastern Louisiana

    What You Need To Know.  The Southland is comprised of twelve schools over three states (you can probably figure them out from the schools’ names).  The conventional wisdom says that the league is “West-heavy,” though we feel that’s giving Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State a little less credit than they deserve.  Stephen F. Austin was last year’s representative in the NCAA Tournament but they lost their two best players from last year (actually, the conference’s last two Players-Of-The-Year!), Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley.  And, with transfers and new freshmen, half of their personnel are totally new.  Since the 1985 NCAA Tournament, the Southland’s tournament representatives have logged only two wins in the Big Dance, both by Northwestern State:  2001’s play-in game against Winthrop, and that thriller against #3-seed Iowa in 2006.

    Predicted Champion.  Sam Houston State (NCAA Seed: #14).  Ashton Mitchell and Corey Allmond are a formidable guard combo who blend together seamlessly; Mitchell was 8th in the nation in assists (6.5 APG) last season and averaged 12.5 PPG as well, while Allmond is more than happy to accept those dimes from Mitchell as the leading returning scorer (15.3 PPG) on the team and ranking 4th in the conference in 3FG% (43.4).  Senior forward Preston Brown will see a rise in minutes and touches as the main inside scoring threat though he’ll be partnered with Gilberto Clavell, a promising junior college transfer.

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