Last spring, the Cape Fear Community College basketball team’s first ever run at a national title ended in Hutchinson, Kansas during the first round of the NJCAA national tournament. Since the last buzzer sounded in that final game, Cephas Oglesby and Alec Schmitt vowed they would make a return trip.
“We have to get back there,” Oglesby said. “To be seven minutes away from advancing one step closer to a national title and letting it slip away is hard to gut.”
Now ranked at #30, the Sea Devils lived with that feeling all summer long and they look to repeat last year’s title run this year, but they must do so without six players from last season’s team.
Anthony Lipscomb transferred to Mid Continent University while Charlton Conner and Justin Tyson both signed at Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio. Jovonte Eaford traded in his Sea Devil blue for the black and gold of Pfeiffer University. High flying Charles Baker takes his rim rattling acrobatics to Elizabeth City State University and David Best will continue his promising career at North Carolina Central University.
“Replacing these young men was a very challenging task,” commented head coach Ryan Mantlo.
“They were such tremendous leaders and were the epitome of what our team really stands for. I can assure you they will be missed, but on the same token assure you their replacements are eager to leave their own legacy at CFCC,” Mantlo said.
Cape Fear returns four players from last season’s active roster and five more from a red-shirt season. Guard Cephas Oglesby headlines this talented class as he returns for his sophomore campaign after averaging 16.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest last season. Starting point guard Alec Schmitt and sharp shooting Hunter Matthews look to continue their solid play while Rico Clark brings a hardnosed, team first mentality to the Sea Devils. Sophomores Randolph Howell and Keith Davis return to action from their red-shirt season. Howell enters his sophomore season after averaging 10.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game during his freshman stint with the Sea Devils while Davis transfers in from Manatee Community College. Richard Shepherd rounds out the 2009-10 sophomore class. Shepherd, a 6’4” guard transferred to Cape Fear from Brunswick Community College where he poured in 10.3 points per game, ranking 25th all time in single season scoring during his freshman year.
This year’s freshman class brings a wealth of talent to the Sea Devils. Mid-State 3A player of the year Nick Jefferson anchors the front line along with All-Cape Fear region selection, and Two Rivers Conference Player of the Year Vernon Payne. Swing man Tavares Speaks looks to help bolster the guard position while Josh Gorham and Tazmon Foster provide depth to the point guard position. Forwards Jordan Richardson and Jared Yeager round out the 2009-10 roster, giving the Sea Devils the ability to stretch the defense from the front line.
“There is no question we have the ability to be a special club this season,” commented Mantlo.
“We have to work harder than everyone else out there right now and learn to play as a team. If we can do that, the sky is the limit,” Mantlo said.
The Sea Devils hit the court as they open up at home against Wake Tech Community College Monday, November 2. Tip off for the contest is slated for 7:00 p.m. in the Schwartz Center.
For the full schedule, visit www.goseadevils.com