10.30.12: The CCRI Knights’ men’s basketball team is coming off one their best seasons in program history and the NJCAA Division II men’s basketball poll is reflecting last year’s success. In the NJCAA Pre-season poll released Thursday October 25th, the Knights are ranked No. 3 overall!
In 2011-12 the Knights had one of their best seasons in program history with a program record 31- wins to go against just five losses. The Knights also captured both the New England and Northeast Championships to earn the trip to the National Tournament where they defeated Penn Valley C. C., Baltimore City C.C. and South Suburban C.C. before taking on Mott the defending National Champions in the National Final Game. It was CCRI’s second appearance in the school’s history in the National Championship Game. The CCRI Knights dream season came to and in the Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship game with a 70-60 loss to the National Champion Bears of Mott Community College from Flint. MI.
The Knight has an impressive crew of returning players led by first Team All-American Desmond Williams (Torrington, CT) and his backcourt mate Bryan Yarce (Cranston, RI) an All- Region XXI honoree who had a 4:1 Turnover Ratio as a freshman while dishing out 233 assist and also swiping 92 steals. They will be joined again by 6’6” forward Isaac Medeiros (Johnston, RI) and 6’2”shooting guard Steve Bevilacqua (Exeter, RI). All four were major contributors last year for the Knights and are battle-tested and prepared to help get the Knights back on top.
They will be joined by many newcomers. According to Head Coach Rick Harris “The newcomers are quick, strong and talented and could be one of the most talented teams that have ever taken the CCRI hardwood floor.” Post players include: 6’8” Elijah Okagbare (Bourne, MA), 6’7” Patrick Marchand (Cranston, RI) and 6’7” Alioune Ndiaye (Senegal, Africa). Coach Harris believes the size and talent of this group will create difficult match-ups for DII opponents, along with the size needed to compete with the DI teams the Knights will face. The wing and guard positions are manned by a combination of slashers, shooters and ball-handlers. That group includes: 6’1” combo guard Jerome Harris (Hartford, CT), 6’2” forward Shaquille Rickets (Hartford, CT), 6’2” shooting guard Chris Light (Derry, NH), 6’0” guard Mike Ferrante (North Providence, RI), 5’11” shooting guard Rob Hazard (North Providence, RI), 6’2” forward Rudy Brito (Pawtucket, RI), 6’0” point guard Rob Alers (Central Falls, RI) and 6’4” forward Steve Rush (Cranston, RI). Late additions to the team include: 6’3”forward Flavio Barros (Woonsocket, RI) and 6’0” point guard Pat Doyle (Narragansett, RI).
Coach Harris and his staff believe that with this collection of talent, all the pieces are in place to have a season to remember if all the players come together as one cohesive unit. Coach Harris added “Personal agendas have to be put aside and the goal of becoming a team that works as one and seeks team glory over individual glory must become the common theme. I also feel that the addition of Pat Dame to an already potent coaching staff including Carmine Goneconte and Andy Jackson is one which will provide the team with every opportunity to improve daily and reach their potential.” The 2012 - 2013 CCRI Knights have begun to take the necessary steps to reach their goal of returning to the NJCAA DII National Championship in Danville, Illinois in March.
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.