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OCC Blue Knights Ranked No. 14 in the Nation

Blue Knights PhotoThe OCC Blue Knights are enjoying an outstanding season, already posting 20-plus wins and being ranked among the top NJCAA Division I teams.

“We have a special group of young men in the classroom, in the community and on the court,” said Coach Mike Burris. “Our sophomores have the chance to become the winningest group ever. We have four home games left and I hope we can pack the place as these guys try to do something special this season.”

The team moved up to the No. 14 spot in the NJCAA Top 25 poll released Feb. 12, matching its highest ranking ever which occurred during the 2011-2012 season, when OCC went 25-8. That team missed advancing to the regional championship round after sustaining a 3-point loss to Wabash Valley College.

January was a stellar month for the Men’s Basketball team. The Blue Knights defeated No. 1-ranked Vincennes University, 98-96, on Jan. 8, ending the Trailblazers’ 28-game home winning streak. Later that week, freshman point guard Jalen Moore was selected NJCAA Player of the Week. Burris also received accolades as the sports website HoopsDirt.com named him JUCO Coach of the Week.

Burris said one of the keys to this season’s success has been the leadership of the five returning sophomores, Cooper Bybee, Davion Warren, Nathan Scott, Wade Coomer and Tyler Witz.

“They are a good group, very unselfish,” Burris said. “The freshmen were good about receiving their leadership. There is a lot of chemistry on this team. This group of guys really gets it. There also is a lot of trust. Trust is a big part of our success.”

Burris said Moore has stepped up big as point guard to fill the void left by former Blue Knight Josiah Wallace, who has gone on to be a standout at Eastern Illinois University.

“Jalen stepped in and has a done a great job running our team as a freshman,” Burris said. “It is a joy to coach him.”

Moore is joined by fellow freshmen Nick Walker, D.J. Haynes, Matt Berry, Isaiah   Sulack, Stephon Dougherty, J.T. Wheeler and Charlie Cochran.

Burris is in his 14th season as Men’s Basketball Coach at OCC. He played for the Blue Knights from 1997 to 1999.

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