Former Gillette College basketball player signs on with Dutch Basketball League
August 16, 2012
Former Gillette College shooting guard DeJuan Wright has signed a one-year contract to play professional basketball with EiffelTowers Den Bosch in the Dutch Basketball League.
Wright, who played one season for the Pronghorns in 2009-10, will fly from Detroit on Saturday to join the team in Den Bosch, Netherlands.
“It’s exciting to get paid to do what you love and be able to cross over into the professional world after college,” said Wright, who ranks fourth on the Gillette College all-time single-game scoring list and second in single-game rebounding.
“I had the option to go the NBA Developmental League after some NBA workouts this summer. But I chose to go a different route.”
Wright, who had tryouts with the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers, led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring during his final season at Florida International University in Miami, averaging 16.4 points a game. He also was a second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection as a senior.
Now, he will play in the Dutch Basketball League, which is the highest professional basketball league in the Netherlands.
“It’s a great situation. They won a championship last year and that was appealing to me,” said Wright, who played for 12-time NBA All-Star Isiah Thomas at Florida International. “It was a long process trying to find the right team and the right fit. It reminded me of trying to decide which college to go to.”
Wright hasn’t given up on his dream of playing in the NBA, he’s just going to season his game in Europe, much as he did playing a year in highly competitive Region IX before jumping to the NCAA.
“That decision to go to Gillette was one of the best of his life,” he said. “Playing a year in junior college really, really prepared me for my next move and my professional career.
“(Pronghorn) Coach (Shawn) Neary played an intricate role in my development and getting me to this point.”
In Gillette, Wright had a career-high 37 points against Casper College. He also hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds against Lake Region State College of Devil’s Lake, N.D.
At Florida International, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard finished the regular season with six double-doubles and had five games with 20-or-more points as a senior. His 35-point scoring night against South Alabama put him No. 2 on Florida International’s all-time scoring list.
European style of basketball
“Basketball is basketball, but the Europeans play it a little different than the way we play it over here,” Wright said. “They don’t bang around like the Bad Boys (the 1979-1994 Detroit Pistons). I think they’re a little more of a finesse style.
“But if you can play in Detroit, you can play anywhere in the world and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Wright said he will be expected to shoot 3-pointers and give EiffelTowers, which won Dutch Basketball League championships in 1997, 2006, 2007 and again in 2012, “a better outside shooting presence.”
His decision to play in the southern Netherlands city south of Amsterdam is a real cultural experience for a guy that’s never traveled outside of the United States.
“I’ve never even had a passport before,” Wright said with a laugh. “It’s definitely going to be a great opportunity for me to travel.
“London is an hour and a half away. Paris is right up the way, so I can’t wait to travel around Europe and really see the world.”
Wright will join Americans Brad Tinsley (Vanderbilt), Andre Young (Clemson) and Will Carter (San Jose State), who are also on EiffelTowers roster.
Aaron is first All-American in Gillette College hoops
August 11, 2011
In just its second year, the Gillette College men’s basketball team has its first All-American.
Pronghorn guard Ryan Aaron was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s third team Wednesday afternoon after one of the most successful season by the more than 2,000 players in Division I.
Aaron, 19, was one of 10 players named to the third-team and one of 50 Division I junior college players to earn an All-American status this past season.
“It’s a big honor,” Aaron said after he heard about the award. “It was definitely a tough road to go down. I’m just glad I was just able to impress the coaches in the nation that voted me in. ... It was my team, my coaches and my family, of course, that got me to this point.”
The Madison Heights, Mich., native led Gillette College to its best record in school history this year at 23-8.
In addition to being a solid contributor for the Pronghorns, Aaron also made an impact at the national level.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore was the top scorer in junior college ball this season with an average of 26.9 points per game.
Aaron owned the No. 1 spot for almost the entire season and averaged 1.1 points per game more than the nation’s second leading scorer, Widgett Washington of Northeastern Junior College.
“Twenty-seven points per game is impressive,” Gillette coach Shawn Neary said. “Without question, it’s hard to score 27 points and to do it for 31 games.
“Plus, this team was 23-8. It wasn’t just a one-man show. He did it with his teammates.”
Aaron, who became the first All-American Neary has coached in 15 years, is no stranger to national honors.
He won the National Junior College Association Division I player of the week award twice this season and during the postseason, Aaron made the All-Region IX first team.
“I put in a lot of hard work over the previous summer,” he said. “Neary asked a lot from me, being a leader, and we had a great group of freshmen. I just tried to put the team on my back and do the best I could. I guess I lucked out and got the award.”
Aaron now plans to extend his college career on the hardwood. He has been contacted by several universities and hopes to make an impact at the next level.
He said he’ll make his decision on where to go to next in about two weeks.
“I think for a team to go after a (junior college) player ... they’re looking for experience, and I think I can contribute experience and leadership to a team,” he said.
Here’s a look at some of the school records Ryan Aaron owns:
• Single-game scoring: He set the mark with two 40-point performances this season. .
• Single-game rebounding: His 13 rebounds in a single game is No. 2 on the list behind Wright. He also holds the record for most offensive and defensive rebounds in a game with nine and 10, respectively.
• Other single-game records: He holds the top nine spots in the record books and the No. 1 spot with 12 2-point field goals in a game. He also is also holds the top spot in the free-throws made category with 14. He also owns the No. 1 spot for steals in a game with six.
• Season scoring: Aaron’s 834 points this season smashed the record of 608 set last season by Wright. He also tops the average per game with 26.9 points.
• Other season records: Aaron holds the single-season school records for most made field goals (293), highest field goal percentage (62.8 percent), most 2-point field goals (269), most free-throws made (224), most rebounds (217), most offensive rebounds (76), most defensive rebounds (141), best rebound average (seven per game) and most steals (73).
Gillette star gets noticed
January 19, 2011
Just hours after the Gillette College men's basketball team received national recognition by getting votes in the National Junior College Athletic Association's top-25 poll, the squad learned one of its players was also turning heads at the national level.
Sophomore Ryan Aaron was one of three players to win the NJCAA player of the week award Wednesday afternoon.
The award went to the Madison Heights, Mich., native after his three-game offensive outburst last week. The 6-foot-2 forward logged 97 points in three wins and recorded a double-double for the Pronghorns.
Gillette College runner earns national title; men's and women's teams place 4th
November 22, 2009
Gillette College has its first national champion.
Sophomore Kipkorir ‘Kip’ Mutai of Bomet, Kenya, won the National Junior College half-marathon on Saturday in Overland, Kan.
Mutai ran the 13-mile course in 1 hour, 7 minutes and 49.8 seconds, turning in a pace of 5 minutes per mile through 10 miles.
With three miles to go, Mutai picked up his pace even more, finishing 50 seconds ahead of Tallam Kiproto of South Plains College, the top team among the men. The Gillette College men’s and women’s teams each finished fourth on Saturday as well.
And both Mutai and teammate Maggie Warner of Newberg, Ore., earned All-American honors for the second straight week. Warner finished fourth overall at 1:26:02.2.
“He looked strong,” coach Chris Kozlowski said of Mutai, who broke the school, course and championship records with his effort. The previous championship record time was 1:08:21.
“My prediction for him was 1:08:23,” Kozlowski said. “His pace, it was ridiculous. At 10 miles, there was one guy with him and with 5K to go and he picked it up even more. “Every time I saw him, he was smiling.”
Both Mutai, who placed seventh overall a year earlier at 1:14:00.0 in this same event, and Kozlowski had aimed for the win with his training, the coach said. And it happened, just as they hoped.
“It’s just amazing,” Kozlowski said as the team traveled home from the event Saturday night. “I’m still smiling. Wow. We’ve got a national champion at Gillette College in just our second year.”
And the Pronghorns all improved from their races a year ago in the half marathon, with all of those sophomores earning better times and their best team finishes in the event.
For the men, who finished with 39 points, Nic Penning of Hulett was 17th, 1:15:33.1; Robert Palmer of Gillette, 22nd, 1:16:25.4; Joe Mead of Rawlins, 40th, 1:19:43.1; and Chase Beattie of Gillette, 54th, 1:22:13.8.
A total of 83 men ran in the event.
Mutai took seven minutes off his time a year ago, while Beattie improved by four minutes, Jeptoo improved by a minute and Warner by 10 minutes.
Sixty-four women competed, with Jeptoo of Kapsabet, Kenya, placing 10th in 1:30:18.1, followed by Stormy Sharp of Thermopolis, 29th, 1:37:07.6; Raven Ruger of Gillette, 31st, 1:37:54.2; and Kelsie Dellos of Ranchester, 42nd, 1:42:23.1.
Florence Ngetich of the second-place team from El Paso Community College, won the women’s title. Cowley College won the team title.
But there was no disappointment for Kozlowski. He knew the three teams who placed ahead of the women were the challenge for Gillette College.
“It’s definitely surprising,” he said. “It was a great day for us.”
As for the men, he had no idea how the Pronghorns would finish as he watched the race take place.
“Even at 10 miles, I was trying to tell, and I just didn’t know,” Kozlowski said. “The second through fifth-place teams all finished within five points of each other.”
Gillette College finished fourth with 39 points. Cowley College was third with 38 and the third-place squad scored 37. Iowa Western placed fifth with 42 points.
Every Pronghorns runner performed as expected except one, Gillette College coach Chris Kozlowski said of the half marathon classic on Saturday.
Joe Mead of Rawlins had that dubious distinction.
But there was a very good reason for it. He went down hard on the course just 10 meters into the race.
“He got stepped on and everything,” Kozlowski said. “He said he was on the ground for 30 seconds.”
Mead came back and placed 42nd overall.
“He did well with what happened,” Kozlowski said. “He was in visible pain the whole way.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE PRONGHORNS?
Taking aim at the national indoor track championships.
The Gillette College team will open its indoor season in just 12 days with their first meet at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D.
That’s by plan, however.
“I knew they’d all be in shape,” Kozlowski said. “So this will give them a shot at making a real good time.”
He hopes to have both Warner and Mutai qualify for the national indoor track meet too, if possible.
South Plains defends men's half marathon title; New Record Set by Gillette's Mutai
November 22, 2009
November 21, 2009
OVERLAND PARK, KS The South Plains College men¹s team appeared to be the team to beat for the 2009 NJCAA Half Marathon championship. The Texans won the title last year behind the All-America performances of Tallam Kipruto, Anthony Pequeno and Mitchell Driver. Those three returned this year and finished second, fourth and fifth, again earning All-American while powering
their team to another dominating performance.
Kiprutio finished the course the wove through Shawnee Mission Park and Mill Creek Streamway Park in 1:08:37.5. Pequeno finished in 1:10:30.2 and Driver¹s time was close behind at 1:10:44.4.
South Plains posted a team score of 11 points, 16 points better than the runner-up finisher, Johnson County Community College, host of the championship. While the Texans ran away with the team title, only four points separated the second place through fifth place.
JCCC scored 37 points, finishing ahead of Cowley College (38), Gillette College (39) and Iowa Western (42). Sophomore Josh Lacer led the Cavaliers with a seventh place finish with a time of 1:11.50. Sophomore Adrian Marquez was 10th with a time of 1:13:48.9, and freshman Ryan Keene placed 20th with a time of 1:16:21.4.
Gillette College sophomore Kipkorir Mutai was the overall individual champion, finishing the 13.1 mile course in a championship record time of 1:07:49.8. The previous record was 1:08:21, set in 2007 by Stephan Dak ofIowa Central. Also earning All-America honors was freshman Isaiah Samoei of Iowa Western, placing third overall with a time of 1:09:46.5.
2009 NJCAA Men's Half Marathon Team Results
2009 NJCAA Men's Half Marathon Individual Results