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Despite Unsettled Season, Men’s Basketball Team Shows Steady Improvement

Basketball Alumni Making Their Mark


West Windsor, N.J. – Members of the men’s basketball team hung tough through numerous trials this year and never lost sight of the importance of supporting each other and of being good representatives of Mercer County Community College athletics.

According to Howard Levy, who completes his eighth year as head coach, the lineup for the 2015-16 season never quite settled down. Due in part to injuries and the ineligibility of several players after the fall season, the Vikings failed to establish a fully working game plan.

The Vikings started off the year trying different combinations.  “As always happens, by the end of the fall semester, players were steadily improving,” Levy said.

But by the end of January, the already reduced eight-man squad became a six-man squad, and players who were never expected to be team leaders were stepping up in a big way. Still, according to Levy, “We had a nice little run with those six.  They delivered on the court and academically.”

This year, the Vikings’ Region 19 competition proved especially challenging, with Essex, Harcum and Manor all having very strong teams. (Essex advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament, losing in the semifinal round.)

Levy can live with the team’s 8-18 record, in part because, despite the lopsided win-loss numbers, he saw substantial improvement as the players progressed through the season.  He is especially proud of his sophomores, Dean Blank, Daquan Hargrove, Salam Simon, D’Andre Parmley and Ezren Bell. “Each and every one worked hard and was a better player than when he started the season,” Levy said.  Parmley was named to the All-Garden State Athletic Association First Team.

Three sophomores who played key roles, from left, Daquan Hargrove, Ezren Bell and D'Andre Parmley.
Despite adversity, the Vikings continued to play hard in every game.

“That kind of development doesn’t happen everywhere, but it consistently happens at Mercer,” he observed.

Levy was ably assisted by alumnus Stanley Tuchez and Rich Brennan. According to Levy, Tuchez has been a real asset as he completes his second year. “Stan has been very effective in the way he relates to the players and the effort he is making in recruiting. He is recruiting players who will be a good match for Mercer basketball,” Levy said.

With only three freshmen expected to return – Devon Adams, John Armstead and Kevin Avent – recruiting is very much part of the game plan for next year. “If we get 40 or 50 percent of the players we are talking to now, we will have a solid season,” Levy predicts.

If Levy is looking for other positive news about the basketball program at Mercer, there is plenty. Five former players were key contributors at their transfer schools this season – Jonathan Jernigan at Rutgers Camden, Gary Carthan at Rowan, David Johnson at Lycoming College, and Barry Brockington and Tyliek Kimbrough at Delaware Valley University.  Brockington, Kimbrough and Johnson led their teams to the Division 3 NCAA Tournament.

There is also lots of good news to report on the coaching side, as numerous MCCC grads have moved on to work as basketball coaches and as physical education teachers. MCCC grad and former Assistant Coach Miles Smith (’07) is the assistant athletics director at his four-year college alma mater, Johnson State College, and has turned around the men’s basketball program in his very first year as head coach. This season the Spartans advanced to the North Atlantic Conference championship game and Johnson earned Coach of the Year honors.

Jordan Ingram, who was an assistant coach at Mercer for two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15) completed a successful first season as an assistant coach at Rosemont College, where he helped advance his team to the Colonial States Athletic Conference semifinal.

Former player and Felician College grad Anthony Obery (’11) became the head coach at County College of Morris mid-season and will lead the team next year. He was ably assisted by former MCCC teammate and FDU-Madison graduate Arlington Rowley (’11).  Rowley is a physical education teacher at St. Joseph School in East Orange.

Former player and William Patterson University graduate Marcus Jimenez (’11) is also teaching and coaching, now in his second year as a physical education teacher and middle school basketball coach at School 18 in Paterson, NJ.  Jimenez brought his team to a practice at Mercer in February and his passion for the game and his students was very much in evidence.

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