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NJCAA represented in NCAA DI Tourney

Charlotte, NC - The 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament kicked off on March 14 and 15 with the first four play-in games. The first round of the tournament tips off March 16-17 as 68 teams play for a shot at advancing to the final four. The NJCAA is highlighting notable alumni that continued their success at the four-year level, including more than 55 student-athletes and 40 coaches across 42 teams. 

2023 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Schedule and Bracket

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's roster boasts the most former two-year student-athletes with eight suiting up for the Islanders: Trevian Tennyson (Ranger), Jasman Sangha (Garden City), Tyrese Nickelson (Indian Hills), Issac Mushila (Western Texas/Gillette), Terrion Murdix (Mineral Area), De'Lazarus Keys (Florida SouthWestern), Simeon Fryer (Beaver County), and Stephen Giwa (Panola).  In the Islander's first four win against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday, Mushila posted a double-double performance.  As a No. 16 seed, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will face No. 1 Alabama in the first round in the South District. 

Four of the ten members of the 2022 NJCAA DI Men's Basketball All-America First Team will appear in the NCAA tournament.  Former Triton (IL) forward Patrick Suemnick will suit up with No. 9 seed West Virginia.  As a Trojan, Suemnick helped lead No. 11 Triton to an appearance in the national tournament semifinals in Hutchinson a year ago.  Suemnick is joined by West Virginia teammate Mohamed Wague.  Wague led Harcum (PA) to a similar cinderella story national tournament appearance during his time in the NJCAA.  At the 2022 NJCAA DI Men's Basketball Championship, the Bears made it to the quarterfinal round as the No. 13 seed.  Wague averaged 14.8 points per game, a 65.1 field goal percentage, and 11.9 rebounds per game while at Harcum.  Former Odessa (TX) guard Daniss Jenkins will take the court with No. 13 seed Iona, facing UConn in the first round on Friday.  As a sophomore, Jenkins averaged 15.0 points in 34 games and led the Wranglers to a national tournament appearance.  Mohamed Diarra will make his first national tournament appearance with No. 7 seed Missouri.  Diarra spent two seasons at Garden City (KS) where he was named the 2021 KJCCC Player of the Year and the 2022 KJCCC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and averaged a double-double with 17.8 points and 12.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore. 

On the coaching side, eight head coaches in the NCAA tournament have ties to the NJCAA as either a student-athlete or a coach.  No. 5 Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett played basketball at Mesa (AZ) from 1980-82. At Mesa, Bennett helped the Thunderbirds to a 31-4 record, a region title, and a No. 10 national ranking during this freshman season. As a sophomore, Bennett was named the team captain and led the team to a 25-6 record and a second-straight region title.  T.J. Otzelberger is in his second season at the helm of the No. 6 seed Iowa State Cyclones.  Prior to Iowa State, Otzelberger was an assistant coach at Chipola (FL), when the team was 33-4 and placed fourth in the NJCAA tournament. 

The 2023 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Tournament is being held March 20-25 in the historic Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson, KS with 24 teams competing for the title and the national championship final airing on ESPNU. For more, visit: 2023 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Home