POPLARVILLE, Miss. — For the second straight season the Pearl River men’s basketball team is ranked among the nation’s best.
The NJCAA released its annual preseason rankings Monday with Chris Oney’s Wildcats checking in at No. 11, seven points back from the top 10.
PRCC is the only MACJC school in the preseason Top 25.
Pearl River’s Isaih Moore guards Cameron Smith during preseason practice inside Marvin R. White Coliseum. The Wildcats open the season ranked No. 11 in the NJCAA. (KRISTI HARRIS/PRCC ATHLETICS)
“This shows the country has taken notice of our program,” Oney said. “It puts a smile on the coaches’ and players’ faces knowing we’ve been noticed but at the end of the day it’s not where you start but where you finish.”
The Wildcats took that mantra to heart a year ago.
The ranking is a year removed from Pearl River entering the 2018-19 season ranked No. 20.
Pearl River spent the entire season in the NJCAA’s Top 25, climbing as high as No. 9, and finished the year by winning the Region XXIII Tournament, qualifying for the program’s first NJCAA Tournament and advancing to the Sweet 16.
Pearl River’s Rod Brown (left) and Dontavius Proby (right) guard Kelvin Allen during preseason practice inside Marvin R. White Coliseum. The Wildcats open
the season ranked No. 11 in the NJCAA. (KRISTI HARRIS/PRCC ATHLETICS)
“For the new guys, this validates a lot of what the coaches and returning players told them,” Oney said of the new rankings.
The preseason rankings are nice, but they’ll be short-lived in the basketball offices.
“From our standpoint, we’ll be excited about it for the next 24-48 hours after that we’ll forget about it and pretend we’re ranked last in the country,” Oney said. “It’s always good to be recognized, both for the team and the school, but after 48 hours we’re going to pretend that it doesn’t exist.”
Just like last season, the rankings and accompanying expectations, mean the Wildcats won’t be able to take any nights off.
“We’re no longer going to be able to sneak up on people,” Oney said. “We’re going to have to be ready to play from opening night.”
PRESEASON PRACTICE VIDEO LINK: (Click Here)
The Wildcats open the 2019-20 season Nov. 4 against Delgado at Marvin R. White Coliseum. The PRCC women will open the doubleheader with a 5:30 p.m. opening tip.
HOW TO TUNE IN
All home games will be streamed at PRCCAthletics.com, with all MACJC action — and select non-conference games — also airing on WRJW 1320-AM. Carey Meitzler will call the action alongside color analyst Mark Franklin.
For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).