Tri-C basketball has eyes on another national championship run

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If you're looking for a potential championship caliber college basketball team in Cuyahoga County you might want to check out Cuyahoga Community College. Tri-C (24-1) is currently ranked the No. 2 team in the nation in the National Junior...

Tri-C basketball has eyes on another national championship run

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If you're looking for a potential championship caliber college basketball team in Cuyahoga County you might want to check out Cuyahoga Community College.

Tri-C (24-1) is currently ranked the No. 2 team in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA Division II).

The Challengers, who play at the Metro Campus Gym at the East 30th Street Campus, have a chance on Saturday to avenge their only loss of the season, 92-86 in 2OT, with a home game against Cincinnati State.

"First time we played we didn't have our starting point guard,'' head coach Michael Duncan said. "He had an ankle sprain, and we had 27 turnovers in that game. I figure if we take seven of those turnovers away we win.''

This is a unique team as only one player - 6-7 Ramon Sheffield from East Tech - stands taller than 6-5, and no player averages more than 11.2 points a game. The leading scorer on the team is freshman Devon Robinson from John Adams High.

But overall Tri-C averages 90 points a game, with six players averaging nine points or more. Duncan's team normally takes no prisoners. In the Challengers last five games Tri-C has won by margins of 13, 18, 21, 46 and 64 points.

"With this group, I didn't know how good we'd be, but I thought the key was keeping a lot of local kids home,'' Duncan said.

He said landing Robinson was the first domino to fall.

"Once you land one kid that can play, it helps you get another one,  it was like a chain reaction,'' Duncan said.

One thing his team does lack is size, but the coach is not complaining.

"We're not big, but we got a lot of lift, and we're pretty athletic,'' Duncan said. "We got nine guys averaging over seven points, and we play 10 guys a night, sometimes 11.''

The one plus for Duncan is this is a team that will be around for awhile. 

"Out of the 10 guys that play, eight are freshmen our top four scorers are all freshmen,'' he said.

Duncan played on Tri-Cs 2004 NJCAA National Championship team so it begs the question if this team can measure up?

"I don't want to put them on that pedestal yet,'' he said. "But they are off to a better start than we were, and this group is deeper, although we had some size when I played."

Going forward, Duncan said that lack of size should not be an overall hinderance.

"I think we're athletic enough that we can play with anybody no matter how big or tall they are,'' he said.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

NEXT NEWS