LEVELLAND — Expectations unchanged.
The South Plains College men's basketball team will open their season on the road in Lewisville, TX on Nov. 4 at 11.a.m. against Lamar Port Arthur at the Texas East-West Challenge.
The Texans begin the year ranked third in the country and were picked to win the Western Junior College Athletic Conference, as voted on by coaches in the WJCAC.
The Texans are coming off one of the most memorable seasons in program history which included a WJCAC conference title, a berth in the NJCAA Men's Final Four, and a team which set a program record with a No. 1 national ranking for 16 consecutive weeks.
South Plains will look to recreate their offensive attack from a year ago and build upon another solid recruiting class in hopes of making an immediate impact on the hardwood. Sophomore Raymond Doby, a 6'7 transfer from the University of South Carolina will step into the paint and anchor the Texans on the glass. Doby played in 16 games for the Gamecocks, averaging just under two points per game.
Ben Perez, a 6'3 sophomore transfer from San Diego State helped lead the Aztecs to a Mountain West Conference title during his freshman campaign before sitting out last season with a back injury. Perez will join Jordan Brangers on the perimeter in hopes of lighting up opposing defenses with the 3-ball. Texas Tech commit Deshawn Corprew will finally get the opportunity to showcase his talents for the orange and blue in 2017. A four-star prospect from Norfolk, Virginia, Corprew redshirted last season and will provide a threat from the perimeter while also having the ability to create opportunities on the inside.
"I think we have done a good job getting some pieces to go along with some guys we have coming back," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "We like guys that can score, and we seem to have several who can shoot the basketball. We've really started to emphasize passing the ball and finding the easier shot, and that can become infectious and people like that. We have a number of guys that can shoot the ball, so we're going to try and take advantage of that."
The Texans return just two players from a year ago in Brangers and Greg Shead.
Brangers set the school record for most 3-pointers in a season with 151 and was named an NJCAA First Team All-American as well as the Conference Player of the Year. Brangers led the Texans in nearly every offensive category during his freshman season and will look to find similar success when he takes the floor come tipoff.
"This season I'm really focused on trying to get other guys involved and create chemistry on offense," Brangers said. "If the accolades come, great, but we have one goal and that's to get back to Kansas. We were picked to win the conference again this year, so we know we have high expectations and have a job to do when we get out there on the floor."
Sophomore point guard Greg Shead returns for the Texans following a successful freshman stint. Shead, a 6'0 product from Houston averaged 2.3 points and 2.4 assists per game in 33 games played last season. Shead knows the demands that come with leading the Texans' offense and believes he is prepared to take on the task and lead this team on both ends of the floor.
"Coach Green has been preaching to me to be a leader and get everyone involved," Shead said. "I have high expectations for this team and myself, and we just want to go and get the job done and execute the way we know we can. Being here last season kind of gives me a blueprint of how we need to play this year and focus on what we need to do to get back where we need to be."
Following Saturday's game, the Texans will square off with Angelina College at 1 p.m. on Nov. 5. Both games will be streaming live at spctexans.com and be accessed by clicking on the 'Watch Games' tab at the top of the page.