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Spalding® NJCAA Men's Basketball Players & Coaches of the Year
 April 14, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The NJCAA national office announced the 2013-14 Spalding® NJCAA Men’s Basketball Players and Coaches of the Year Monday.

Hutchinson (Kan.) sophomore guard Kadeem Allen, Central-Columbus (Neb.) sophomore forward Tyron Criswell and Rock Valley (Ill.) freshman forward Jared Mayes received Player of the Year honors. This season’s Coach of the Year awards went to Jay Ladner of Jones County (Miss.), Matt Gordon of Phoenix (Ariz.) and Craig Doty of Rock Valley. Selections were made by each division’s respective sports committee.

NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Kadeem Allen – Hutchinson (Guard / Soph.)

Kadeem Allen will go down as one of the best all-around players in the long, storied history of Hutchinson basketball. The sophomore guard ranked second in the nation in scoring in 2013-14, averaging 25.9 points per game for the Blue Dragons. Allen posted 30 points or more in a team-record 13 games this season and became the first player in program history to record a triple-double – accomplishing the feat twice in his sophomore campaign. He also ranked 20th in the nation with 5.9 assists per game and 22nd in steals with 2.3 per game. Behind Allen’s exceptional efforts, Hutchinson finished the season with a 26-8 record and a runner-up finish in the Region 6 championship. Allen was also named a first-team NJCAA All-American last week, becoming the first Blue Dragon to earn back-to-back first-team All-America accolades. He was also named NJCAA Player of the Week twice during the regular season. In October, Allen announced that he would continue his collegiate career with the Arizona Wildcats next season.

NJCAA Division I Coach of the Year
Jay Ladner – Jones County (2nd Season)

In only his second season of coaching at the collegiate level, Jones County head coach Jay Ladner led the Bobcats to a 28-5 record and an improbable national championship run. Entering the NJCAA DI Men’s Basketball National Championship as the No. 11 seed, Ladner directed Jones County to five wins in five days including victories over the top three seeds in the tournament. The Bobcats’ effort culminated in an 87-77 win over top-seeded Indian Hills (Iowa) in the title game. Prior to arriving in Ellisville in 2012, Ladner spent 21 seasons as a high school coach in Mississippi where he compiled a 511-189 career record. He also played college basketball at Southern Miss and was part of the Golden Eagles’ NIT championship team in 1988. Despite his tremendous success in such a short span at Jones County, Ladner’s stay at the two-year level has already come to a close as NCAA Division I program Southeastern Louisiana introduced him as their new head coach last week.

NJCAA Division II Player of the Year
Tyron Criswell – Central-Columbus (Forward / Soph.)

Central-Columbus (Neb.) enjoyed one of the best seasons in program history in 2013-14 behind the outstanding play of sophomore leader Tyron Criswell. Leading the Raiders in scoring, the forward averaged 20.2 points per game this season behind 225 made field goals – 18th most in the DII ranks. Criswell also recorded 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game on the year. Central-Columbus entered the 2014 NJCAA DII Men’s Basketball National Championship with a 3-8 record in four tournament appearances. This year, the Raiders matched their historical win total with three victories and took third place – their highest finish in program history. Criswell’s best performance over the past two years came in the Raiders’ opening round 89-82 win over John Wood. He notched a double-double behind a career-high 36 points and 13 rebounds. Set to graduate this spring, Criswell is interested in moving on to Southern Illinois, Nevada, Southern Miss, Kent State or Middle Tennessee State.

NJCAA Division II Coach of the Year
Matt Gordon – Phoenix (10th Season)

Matt Gordon led Phoenix to the NJCAA DII Men’s Basketball national championship after entering the tournament as the No. 5 seed. Pulling out four victories in just four days – including a 71-67 win over Essex County (N.J.) in the championship game – Phoenix became the first program from the state of Arizona to win a national title in men’s basketball. The Bears won their final 14 games of the season to complete their championship run with a 28-8 overall record. In 10 seasons at Phoenix, Gordon has accumulated 213 career wins to go along with six Region 1 titles. Prior to taking over the Bears’ program, Gordon served as an assistant at the University of Portland from 2001-2003. His first head coaching stint came was at former NAIA member Dominican University of California where he directed the Penguins to an appearance in the California Pacific Conference championship game. After graduating from UCLA where he was a student assistant for four years, Gordon began his coaching career as an assistant at Cal State Northridge.

NJCAA Division III Player of the Year
Jared Mayes – Rock Valley (Forward / Fresh.)

After going 19-16 and earning seventh place at the national tournament last season, Rock Valley stormed their way to a 30-5 record and the NJCAA DIII Men’s Basketball national championship in 2013-14 behind the stellar play of Jared Mayes. The freshman forward led the Golden Eagles to this season’s crown with a team-high 19 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. In the title game, Mayes scored a game-high 28 points and powered Rock Valley to a 79-69 win over Caldwell Tech (N.C.). His best performance thus far in his collegiate career came in a January 88-81 win over Joliet (Ill.) where he posted career highs in points with 33 and rebounds with 12. The first freshman to win the DIII award since 2011 – Mayes is returning for his sophomore season and will try to become the only player other than former Sullivan County (N.Y.) star Cleanthony Early to be named NJCAA Player of the Year twice.

NJCAA Division III Coach of the Year
Craig Doty – Rock Valley (2nd Season)

In just two seasons at Rock Valley, Doty has made a name for himself and the Golden Eagles by leading them to their first NJCAA DIII Men’s Basketball national championship in the program’s 48-year history. Despite going 19-16 in his first season at the helm, Doty directed the Golden Eagles to only their second national tournament appearance since 1965. In 2013-14, he brought in a powerful class of freshman which led Rock Valley to a 30-5 record on their way to the title. Doty’s Golden Eagles took down top-seeded and defending national champion Brookdale (N.J.) 80-59 in the national semifinals before earning a 79-69 win over Caldwell Tech (N.C.) in the championship game. In 2011, Doty stepped in as interim head coach at Division I Central Wyoming. Prior to landing an assistant job with the Rustlers, Doty was an assistant at his NAIA alma mater Morningside College.

About the NJCAA
Since 1938 the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has been the governing body of two-year college athletics, offering athletic and academic opportunities to college students. The NJCAA is the second largest national intercollegiate athletic organization in the United States with over 500 member schools in 43 states. Each year nearly 60,000 student-athletes compete in one of 28 different sports and the organization sponsors 48 national championship events and nine football bowl games. NJCAA Headquarters has been located in Colorado Springs, Colo., since 1985. For more information visit www.njcaa.org.

About Spalding®
A Division of Russell Brands, LLC, Spalding is the largest basketball equipment supplier in the world, and America’s first baseball company.  Spalding is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), the official backboard of the NBA and NCAA, the official baseball of the Little League World Series and the official volleyball of King of the Beach.  In addition to being the leading producer and marketer of basketballs, footballs, volleyballs and soccer balls, Spalding produces softballs under the Dudley brand. The SPALDING® and DUDLEY® trademarks are owned by Russell Brands, LLC.  For more information, visit www.spalding.com.

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