Following the altercation in Saturday’s game against Glen Oaks Community College, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team defeated Hope College JV 90-66 with only five players on Thursday, Dec. 8.
The National Junior College Athletic Association investigated the Dec. 3 altercation and took disciplinary action against multiple players and a coach, but GRCC officials would not release the names of the students involved stating that doing so would violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
“The NJCAA has issued disciplinary determinations relating to a number of GRCC players and a staff member,” stated GRCC Communications Director Dave Murray in an email to The Collegiate. “Federal student privacy laws prevent the college from providing additional information regarding the NJCAA determinations with respect to any student-athlete. GRCC will abide by the NJCAA direction and continues to support its players. The college is considering this a learning opportunity for the team, and will move forward.
NJCAA officials could not be reached for comment on the suspensions. Immediate Action can be enforced when any player, coach, or spectator is in danger.
Ten players were missing Thursday night’s roster including: Danyel Bibbs, Rico Wade, Brockton Kohler, Chawol Niphong, Alex Ehnis, Diego Ledesma, Jack Scrimshaw, Herman Brown, Myron Brewer, and Isaac Warning. Editors Note: This story is updated on Dec. 11 due to GRCC assistant coach Islam Hoxha being suspended for two games for leaving the bench during the incident.
“Coach Stuckey, our assistant coach, gave the team a great pregame message about staying focused and playing loose,” head coach Joe Fox said.
The start of the game was extremely competitive with both teams playing fast and getting easy buckets. The score was 12-12 after the first five minutes and it seemed like the game would be close. However, the Raiders stayed patient in their zone defenses which slowly gave Hope College some fits. After a late run to end the first half, GRCC led Hope 41-26.
“The players did well at covering ground in the zone,” Fox said. “They used their length well and forced a lot of turnovers.”
GRCC continued to wear and tear Hope’s defense as the Raiders got out to a 20-point lead midway through the second half. They never trailed in the game which would lead to a 90-66 victory. The Raiders shot 47.4% from the field and nailed seven 3-point shots.
With the Raiders only having five active players, that meant every single player made a massive impact. Freshman guard Bashir Neely led the way for the Raiders scoring 29 points, nine assists, and four steals. Fellow freshman guard, Jajuan Walker, had a career high with 16 rebounds along with 18 points, seven assists, two blocks and two steals. Two other freshmen, Jordan Houser and Seth Schuitema, had strong performances. Houser scored 18 points, grabbed seven boards, and had three assists. Schuitema made his presence felt down low with nine points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. Lastly, sophomore Chris Coleman gave a spark on the offensive end for the Raiders scoring 16 points, eight rebounds, and three steals.
“Jajuan and Bashir put in a lot of work to help them see this success,” Fox said. “They play with a lot of passion, and are very dedicated.”
The Raiders improve to 9-0 on the season and look to increase their winning streak to 10 games. They play Lake Michigan College on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3 P.M. at the Ford Fieldhouse.
“I can’t really say how proud I am of how the five guys executed the game plan last night,” Fox said. “It’s more than winning versus losing as of now, and they did a great job of playing to the game plan.”