Pre-Season Poll, NJCAA All-Region Honorees, and Roster Released
(Rossville, GA) – When the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats tip off the 2011-12 season on November 3 against Hiwassee College, they’ll be doing it with the most credentialed roster in the school’s history. Add to that a pair of NJCAA All-Region nominees and motivation from pre-season polls and you have basketball that will have the attention of the entire region.
“This team is loaded with best of prep stars, region scoring champs, and a group of student-athletes who appear to like their chances,” said Georgia Northwestern Sports Information representative Don Foley. It’s a combination that should be interesting in NJCAA’s Region XVII. A region which coaches voted Georgia Northwestern to finish fourth out of five colleges. Emory-Oxford College was selected as the regions’ pre-season number one program.
Sophomores Matt Woods and Ben Patton, both Dade County High School products, return with Second Team All-Region honors going into their schedule. The teams’ other returning student-athlete, sophomore Treas Jackson (Heritage Catoosa), will redshirt this season while he helps this talented line-up make waves in their newfound home in the NJCAA.
Woods and Patton both hold Bobcat records for steals (5) and three-pointers (6) in a game, respectively. Georgia Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer is Kyle Wilson (Armuchee, Georgia). Wilson graduated from GNTC this past spring and is now a junior on the Viking varsity basketball squad at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.
The remaining Bobcats have given much of their time this offseason to not only rebuilding the roster, but rebuilding and renovating some of their home facilities. “We’ve been doing a lot of painting in both locker rooms and repair or replacement of some of the locker space available,” said Stephenson of he and his teams’ efforts at The R.A.C., (Rossville Athletic Complex), which serves as the home of the GNTC Bobcat Men’s Basketball program.
“We’ve seen it all over the past five seasons,” said Stephenson. “For the first time, I really feel like we have all the pieces in place on the court. Size, speed, and depth.” Just last season, varying circumstances saw the Cats Country line-up get cut in half by mid-season. “We had seven guys going down the stretch. With these 12 we are putting on the floor to start 2011, there are real possibilities.”
Among the new ‘Cats in the den is Chattanooga prep star Randy Boyd. The 6-foot-5 Business Management major averaged impressive double-double numbers in high school (Chattanooga Hixson), earned best of prep honors from regional media, and provided many “posterizing” moments as he flew above the competition across the Tennessee Valley.
Leading his region in scoring last season, freshman Bobcat Corey Fuleki was just months away from hitting the collegiate gridiron. Although he was the only all-region player to emerge from the Adairsville High School roster after the 2010 prep football season, Fuleki also averaged nearly 20 points a game in GHSA’s 7-AA for the Tiger Basketball team. And at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, the first-year big man will likely have his presence felt early and often in the NJCAA regular season.
The leading scorer of the modern era from Georgia’s Model High School brings an imposing presence to the Georgia Northwestern hardwood for the 2011-12 season. Fernando Limus, Jr. is an all-region player from Blue Devil country. At 5-foot-9, the freshman point guard is as thick as he is fast. Weighing in at a muscular 190 pounds, it’s the strength of Limus that will get the attention of competition. Limus was the player of the game in the Georgia/Tennessee Prep All-Star Game one year ago.
It’s only fitting that Robbie Chitwood (Dade County) is a criminal justice major given he may have provided Georgia Northwestern with the steal of the recruiting season. A leader on his high school squad, Chitwood barely stood at 6-foot-4 only six months ago at his signing. Since then, the freshman forward has grown two inches taller making the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Chitwood a name that opponents will have to target starting this November.
“Coach (Glen) Hicks has always generated solid young men,” said Stephenson of Dade County’s Boy’s High School Head Basketball Coach Glen Hicks. Dade alum Houston Moon is another that has made his way on to this competitive roster. The 6-foot-1, 160 pound Medical Assisting major may be just what the doctor ordered. “Houston is fast and can play from outside, but also has no problem slicing inside and getting above the rim.”
Depth on this roster is quickly found by way of five other Bobcats who bring their size and skill to this program and appear to be making their place in the rotation a solid one. Gordon Central’s top gun from 2010, Alex Miller, brings his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame to Georgia Northwestern in 2011.
A trio of non-traditional student-athletes made their way on the roster with raw talent and hustle this summer. In what started as a just an opportunity to start their collegiate careers in the classroom and on the court has turned into something else. “They have the opportunity to bring a special level of experience to the team,” said Stephenson.
Twenty-three-year-old Justin Dempsey, 25-year-old Ray Hill, Jr., and 32-year-old Andre Towns are expected to provide solid depth at key spots for the Bobcats. Dempsey (Ruleville HS, MS), Hill (Soddy-Daisy HS, TN), and Towns (Dalton HS, GA) size in at 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, and 6-foot-5, respectively.
Rounding out the roster is 6-foot-5 Bud Todd (Trion). Todd’s name may sound familiar to those who have followed the program. The Bobcat forward played as a member of the college’s first team ever just four seasons ago. After one year of play, Todd made the decision to leave college in 2008. But education is important to this Early Childhood Education major and he has found his way back into the classroom and the line-up.
The regular season tips-off on November 3 at home versus Hiwassee College. However, the first region play begins on December 10 at The R.A.C
The season wraps-up in February with the NJCAA Region XVII post-season tournament being held at Emory-Oxford College March 1-3. The winner moves on to NJCAA District play with a chance for a birth into the NJCAA National Tournament in Loch Sheldrake, New York beginning March 15, 2012.
For more information on Bobcat and Lady Cats Athletics at Georgia Northwestern, contact the Office of Sports Information at 706-764-3813. You may also e-mail Don Foley in the Office of Sports Information at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Georgia Northwestern Technical College, visit their website at GNTC.edu.