PRCC men’s basketball sends 4 to next level

The gates remain locked at Pearl River Community College after gun shots were fired nearby late...
The gates remain locked at Pearl River Community College after gun shots were fired nearby late Tuesday night.(Photo source: PRCCC)
Updated: Apr. 17, 2020 at 10:12 AM CDT
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From Pearl River Community College Sports Information

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (WDAM)— Pearl River Community College reached new heights during the 2019-20 men’s basketball season, finishing as the lone unbeaten junior college team in the country and ranked first in the final National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

But the Wildcats also stuck with tradition, sending four more sophomores off to continue their educations and basketball careers at four-year institutions.

Center Isaih Moore signed early in November, while three more Wildcats signed scholarships this past week.

In his four years as head coach in Poplarville, PRCC coach Chris Oney has seen 20 players move on to four-year schools, ranging from Division I to National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics programs.

“I’m excited for them,” Oney said. “Obviously, one of the main reasons they came here was to hopefully have the chance to move on to a four-year school and continue to get their education paid for while competing for championships.

“Each one of these schools are getting quality young men who will be productive citizens in their towns and as well as good student athletes who will try to compete and win basketball games.”

The 6-foot-10 Moore signed with St. John’s University in November. This week’s signees included:

  • Guard Tae Hardy to the University of Southern Mississippi
  • Forward Cameron Smith to California State University-Bakersfield
  • Forward Rodgerick Brown to Tulsa University

Brown, a 6-7 transfer from Wichita State University, averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

“Rod came here and had a huge impact on our 2019-20 team,” Oney said. “He was the ultimate team player and when I go back and watch film, the way he competed jumps off the screen.

“He did so many things to help us win the 28 games and helped us achieve everything we did as a team.”

Hardy, a 6-foot-2 transfer from East Carolina University, was a NJCAA All-American, leading the Wildcats at 16.6 points, 3.7 assists per game and 2.6 steals per game.

“Tae Hardy was a first-team All-American teammate from the first day he stepped on campus,” Oney said. “I couldn’t be more excited for him and myself because I get the opportunity to watch him compete 30 minutes down the road for the next two years.”

In his 27 games, Hardy scored in double figures 24 times with a season-high of 31 points. Hardy finished the season with a 52.1 shooting percentage from the floor, while converting 37.2 percent of his 3-point attempts and 84.2 percent of his free throws.

Hardy also got it done in the classroom and earned a spot on the President's List with a 4.0 in the fall semester.

Moore, a third-team All-America selection, averaged 15.9 points, 9.1 rebounds a game.

He collected 12 “double-doubles” in 28 games, and led the Wildcats with 2.1 blocked shots per game.

“He's a kid who's versatile, long, athletic,” Oney said. “He can run, stretch the defense. He can play with some toughness.

“We told him he was the last piece of the puzzle when we recruited him. He was something that we never really had, which was a 6-10 kid who could step out and shoot, play inside and protect the rim.”

Moore was a three-time Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Player of the Week and was also named the NJCAA Division I Player of the Week once.

The 6-7 Smith averaged 7.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game to go along with 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He was the only Wildcats to play all 40 minutes in the Region 23 championship game against Jones College.

“Cam is one I probably smile about the most when thinking about where he started to what he became at the end,” Oney said. “He was a kid who was seldom used as a freshman and then this year he was a guy I couldn’t take off the floor.

“It’s gratifying to say that hard work does pay off.”

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