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NJCAA Men's Basketball Coaches Association Announces Coach & Player of the Year Awards
 April 14, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association has announced this year’s NJCAA Coach and Player of the Year Selections for the 2010-2011 seasons in each division of play.

This year the Coach of the Year accolades go to Steve Gosar of College of Southern Idaho, Kirk Whiteman of Lincoln College (Ill.), and Leroi Phillips of Mountain View College (Texas).

The 2011 Player of the Year awards go to Pierre Jackson of College of Southern Idaho, Kiel Turpin of Lincoln College (Ill.), and Cleanthony Early of Sullivan County Community College (N.Y.).

Division I Coach of the Year

In just his third season with the Golden Eagles, CSI head coach Steve Gosar brought the men’s basketball program its third national championship and first in 24 years with a 72-64 victory over Midland College (Texas) in this year’s title game.

Gosar’s 2011 squad went 33-4 and captured the Region 18 championship along with the District 1 title and entered the Division I national tournament with the No. 2 ranking in the final NJCAA DI Poll.

One of the top up-and-coming young coaches in the NJCAA, he has led CSI to a 75-24 record in three seasons as head coach. Prior to his arrival at CSI he spent time as an assistant coach at Portland State University and the University of Wyoming.

Division II Coach of the Year

Kirk Whiteman guided the Lincoln College (Ill.) men’s basketball team its second-straight NJCAA Division II Championship in just his third year as head coach.  In his first year, Whiteman came up just short with a third place finish in the 2009 national tournament. In 2010 his team captured the school’s first-ever national title in men’s basketball and this season’s squad made it back-to-back championships with their 74-67 win over Mott Community College (Mich.) in the title game.

Lincoln is just the third team since the creation of Division II in 1986 to repeat as champions.

In 2011, the Lynx spent the first two weeks of the season at No. 1 in the DII rankings and eventually won the Region 24A/District 13 Championship.

Whiteman served as the assistant coach at Lincoln for seven years under BJ McCullum before taking the reins in 2008.  In Whiteman’s three years as head coach the Lynx are 85-23.

Division III Coach of the Year

LeRoi Phillips led his Mountain View Lions to their second straight Region 5 / District 3 Championship this season. After placing seventh at last season’s DIII National Championship Tournament, the Lions entered the 2011 bracket unranked but that didn’t stop Phillips and his team from winning the program’s first ever national title in men’s basketball.

The Lions knocked off No. 1 Davidson County CC (N.C.) 95-89 in the first-round and then defeated unranked Ocean County College (N.J.) 77-71 in the semifinals before upsetting No. 2 Rochester CTC (Minn.) 72-64 in the title game.

In his six years at Mountain View, Phillips has a career mark of 81-67. However, he is most proud of the fact that his 2011 squad has a team GPA near 3.00.

Division I Player of the Year

Pierre Jackson (5’10” – 175 lb. - PG) earned First-Team NJCAA All-America Division I honors this year after leading the CSI to its first NJCAA DI Men’s Basketball Championship in 24 years.

Jackson led the Golden Eagles in scoring this season with 18.6 per game. A big part of his scoring came from the free throw line where he made 87 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe, which ranked ninth nationally.

At the NJCAA DI Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament, Jackson won Tournament MVP honors, leading the tournament field with 96 points scored and also set a new tournament record with 46 made free throws. In the national title game against Midland, the Las Vegas, Nev., native scored a game-high 22 points and sealed the win for CSI by making 9-of-10 free throw shots in the final 69 seconds of the contest.

Jackson will compete the next two years in the Big 12 as he recently signed a letter of intent with Baylor University.

Division II Player of the Year

Kiel Turpin (6’4” – 230 lb. - F) helped lead Lincoln to back-to-back NJCAA Division II Championships and was named a First-Team NJCAA DII All-American.  

Turpin scored 19 points, pulled down seven rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the Lynx over Mott Community College (Mich.) in this year’s title game. His efforts won him the Tournament MVP award for the second straight season. He is just the second player ever to win the MVP honors twice at the DII national tournament, joining Jeff Massey of Owens Technical College (1992, 1993).

Turpin averaged 15.5 points and 7.9 rebounds a game. He also ranked fourth nationally in blocked shots (3.4). He will play the next two seasons in the Atlantic Coast Conference with Florida State University.

Division III Player of the Year

Cleanthony Early (6’8”- 220 lbs. - F) received Division III First-Team All-American honors as a freshman in 2011 after averaging a double-double of 20.8 points and 11.3 rebounds a game. In the process he led Sullivan to a Region 15/District 5 Championship and a third place finish at the national tournament where he received All-Tournament honors.

For the season, Early ranked 16th in DIII scoring (20.4), 7th in rebounding (11.4) and 4th in blocked shots (3.6) and is the third Sullivan player to earn the DIII award in the last five seasons as Jason Johnson won the award in 2007 and Bertram McDowell received the honor in 2008.

Early plans to return to Sullivan for his sophomore season next fall.




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