LEVELLAND — Advancing to the Elite Eight and clinching a share of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference title a year ago, the South Plains College men's basketball team will be on the hardwood for the first time Sunday afternoon as they tip-off the 2021 season in Oklahoma.
The Texans, who earned a No. 4 national ranking in the NJCAA Div. I Men's Basketball preseason poll, will square off with Northern Oklahoma College-Enid at 1 p.m. on Nov. 7 on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma. The Texans will return to the court on Monday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. against Murray State College. SPC will be on the road again Nov. 12-13 in Plano, before making their home debut Nov. 19-20 at the Texan Dome.
The Texans are led by head coach Steve Green, who enters his 22nd year at the helm and has amassed an overall record of 530-140 at SPC after an 18-3 season a year ago. South Plains will once again be reliant on a number of new faces, returning just one player from last year's squad, a challenge not unfamiliar for the veteran ball coach.
"We have an entirely new team, Green said. "We're excited about our group, and they bring some different skills than some of our past teams. They are an energetic group and play extremely hard, and right now, defense might be our calling card more than the offensive end at this point. These guys get after it, and they compete against each other every day in practice."
South Plains has qualified for the National Tournament five of the last six years and will once again be a favorite to get back to Hutch. The Texans will be tested early and often, as they will compete in the Collin County Thanksgiving Classic, and make their way back to the desert following the Christmas break for the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout in Mesa, Arizona.
"We have some size and some potential upfront," Green said. "We have two big kids who we got in right before the deadline who I think have a bright future here. We have four or five guards who bring a wealth of college basketball experience and I think will help us at some point. We are once again in a situation where we will get a bunch of new players again next year because most of these guys will transfer, but that seems to have been our formula for success in the past.
"These guys have worked hard, and they're worth coming out to watch. Hopefully, we can continue the success we have had at South Plains."