Two More Flyers Moving On
The commitments by Daquain Towns and Michael Collins bring to four the members of the 2012 Sandhills Community College NJCAA Division III national championship team that will be playing basketball at four-year schools next season.
Towns, a 6-foot guard, joins former Pinecrest and SCC teammate Phillip Moultrie at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C. The MVP of the Division III national tournament held at Sullivan County CC in New York in March averaged 14.8 points per game during the Flyers’ 30-6 season.
It was a buzzer beater by Towns in the national tournament opener against Brookdale CC (N.J.) that kept Flyer hopes alive. He earned conference player of the year honors as a senior at Pinecrest playing under Flyers’ coach Mike Apple.
Michael Collins, a 6-3 shooting guard for the Flyers, has committed to play at Virginia Intermont, an NAIA school located in Bristol, Va. He made 41 percent of his three-point attempts during the Flyers’ 7-0 postseason run.
A tough defender, and good rebounder for a guard, Collins finished second on the team in threes for the season with 61. He led the state in that department as a senior at Bunn High School.
NJCAA All-American Markell Lotharp, who will be attending Johnson C. Smith, and Fayetteville State-bound Louis Craft, are the Flyers that previously made commitments. At least two more members of the title team are expected to join the group before the summer is over.
On a Thursday that many of the players came in to pick up their national championship rings, Flyers’ coach Mike Apple talked about the opportunities that have developed through the basketball program at SCC.
Members of the 2010-11 team coached by his predecessor, athletic director Aaron Denton, expected to be completing their college careers at four-year schools next season include Moultrie and Johnny Elliott and Aaron Toney at Division II University of Northwestern Ohio.
“There are a lot of reasons to have a basketball program at a junior college,” the NJCAA Division III Coach of the Year said. “Like Coach Denton, our mission is to get the players prepared for a four-year school. I think we’ve done that.”
Last month, Apple was a co-coach of the East team, and Lotharp was one of his players, at the NJCAA All-Star game held at New Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The West won the game 123-103, but it was a great experience for coach and player.
Apple attended a Nike clinic for coaches headlined by Bobby Knight that also included Jay Wright of Villanova and Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth.
“It was an honor being in the company of such legendary people,” Apple said. “Markell had a great time and made a lot of friends. It was his first plane trip. Las Vegas was an experience by itself.”
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