HFC Men’s Basketball team has record-breaking season

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team photo of the HFC men's bball team

The 2022-23 HFC Men’s Basketball Team posted the best season in school history. The team concluded its run in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship Tournament on March 24, finishing 6th after a after a double-overtime loss to No. 1 seed Davidson-Davie Community College.

The team posted an undefeated conference record and won the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Championship. They went on to win the Great Lakes District B Championship to advance to the NJCAA National Championship Tournament.

“This group had a great year, going undefeated in the conference, winning the state as well as winning the district championship. This marks the third year in a row we’ve made the Elite Eight. Only one other program in the country has done that in the same time frame,” said Coach Chris Shepard, who was named MCCAA Coach of the Year for the fourth time.

Hawks that soared high this season

The following players earned the following honors, awards, and accolades:

D’Quarion Cole, sophomore SG:

  • Player of the Week (Nov. 9, Jan. 10, Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Feb. 7)
  • Great Lakes District B All-Tournament Team
  • All-Region, All-MCCAA, First Team All-Eastern Conference
  • Eastern Conference All-Defensive Team
  • Eastern Conference Player of the Year

D’Juan Seal, sophomore G:

  • Player of the Week (Jan. 31)
  • NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship All-Tournament Team
  • Great Lakes District B Tournament MVP
  • All-Region, All-MCCAA, First Team All-Eastern Conference

Curtis Jackson, freshman PG:

  • All-Region, All-MCCAA, First Team All-Eastern Conference

Caleb Bates, freshman F:

  • Second Team All-Eastern Conference

Tyler Mack, sophomore SG:

  • Great Lakes District B All-Tournament Team
  • Third Team All-Eastern Conference

Marcus Gibbs, sophomore G:

  • Honorable Mention All-Eastern Conference

Tyrhe Fortney, sophomore C:

  • Eastern Conference All-Defensive Team

Making the grade

The student-athletes also proved themselves in the classroom. The team’s cumulative GPA was 3.03. Of the 12 members, eight earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

“One way we support our student-athletes is through study tables during the semester. Another way is by using progress reports to check academic progress,” said Shepard. “As a coaching staff, we designate players that we are responsible for. This way, we can keep a tighter eye on everything. We travel with a hotspot that is paid for by HFC Athletic Director Rochelle Taylor that allows the students to complete assignments while we are traveling. It is a tremendous help.”

Shepard continued: “As a staff, we sit down with every player and organize what a typical week is going to look like in their classes. Some classes have weekly homework, quizzes, or discussions. We make sure students understand time management. Waiting to the last second to complete assignments is a recipe for academic trouble. We try to make sure they stay at least one day ahead of deadlines. If a class is work-at-your-own-pace, we require they get ahead to offset any potential issues.”

Taylor visited the basketball team during practice several times this season to present Hawks Academic Team certificates, which recognize student-athletes who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or better in at least 12 credits during one semester attending HFC.

“What an outstanding job by our players and coaching staff!” said Taylor. “This team was exciting to watch all year, which made it easy for our entire campus to rally behind them and cheer them on. They made us all ‘Proud to be HFC.’ I’ll miss all of our sophomores, but I know they’ll be impacting basketball programs all over the country next year, so I wish them the best! And I can’t wait to start the new season in the fall!”