Category Archives: Hutchinson C.C.

LIVE BLOG: No. 2 Hutchinson at No. 1 Butler

I’m in El Dorado with 30 minutes until kickoff between No. 1 Butler and No. 2 Hutchinson. Here’s my preview. This place is packed to the gills … and in an aside, Hutch starting QB Elliot Alford is also his team’s long snapper. Only in the Jayhawk. Love it.

And here’s something I don’t love – Galen Blackmore Stadium. It’s been an albatross hanging around the neck of the entire Jayhawk Conference since Butler won back-to-back titles in the late 90s. It’s hard to believe the people of Butler County and Butler Community College haven’t been able to build a new stadium for  a team that the entire community has hung its hat on for over a decade. With BG Products kicking in the dough needed to jumpstart the new stadium project, they should have a nice place to play in 2012. That’s about 10 years too late.

Butler will kick and Hutch will receive.

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Jayhawk Conference grabs top 3 spots in latest NJCAA football poll

1. Butler 2. Hutchinson 3. Coffeyville

And there you go. For the first time since 1991, the top three spots in the NJCAA football poll are occupied by the same conference. Fittingly, the Jayhawk Conference’s top rival, the SWJCFC out of Texas, was the last league to do it. I’ve talked to Butler’s Troy Morrell and Jayhawk commish Bryce Roderick for a story in tomorrow’s Eagle, so make sure to check that out. Until then, here’s a few things to think about that they pointed out to me.

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Hutch CC’s Robert Goff to Oklahoma, Joe Mitchell to Ohio U.



Just got off the phone with Hutchinson Community College men’s coach Steve Eck (hopefully he doesn’t change his cell number now) and he confirmed to me that sophomore guard Joe Mitchell, a Wichita Southeast product, committed to Ohio University earlier this week and 6-foot-10 power forward Robert Goff is committed to Oklahoma. Mitchell was All-Jayhawk last season and picked Bobcats over several other “good offers” although Eck declined to say who else came calling. Recruiting guru Jerry Mullen told me at last year’s Region VI tournament that JM was a “poor man’s Sherron Collins” – AKA he can really fill it up. Goff had to sit out last year after playing for Eck two years ago at Cowley and is a BEAST that had looks from a lot of high-majors.

Goff averaged 9.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in 2008-2009. Mitchell went for 16 points and 2.5 assists per last season.

Blue Dragons are hands-down favorite to win Jayhawk and Region VI this year with those two, in my opinion.

Out. TA

Former Hutch CC QB Shaun Hill to start for Lions



With Matthew Stafford’s arm almost ready to fall off of his body after barely over a season in the NFL, the Detroit Lions have turned to Parsons native and former Hutch CC quarterback Shaun Hill as their starter. My guess is that San Francisco, the team Hill used to play for, wishes he were back on their roster with Alex Smith going back in the tank. Hill came in for Stafford in last week’s loss at Chicago and delivered what looked like the game-winning pass to Calvin Johnson, who Josh Wood thinks is going to end up in the Hall of Fame.

Hill played for Maryland after he left Hutch, and led the Terrapins to the Orange Bowl in 2001.


Hutch CC outfielder dies in grain elevator collapse



Sad news today out of Russell — one of the two men killed in the collapse of a grain elevator was Hutchinson Community College freshman outfielder Sean Banks, 19, of Russell. Here’s the link to the story from the Hutch News.

Banks played in 1 game for the Blue Dragons this season as HCC made its way to a Region VI title and third place at the NJCAA World Series. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Banks family and the family of Max Greve, who also died in the accident.

Here’s the official statement from HCC:


By Steve Carpenter

HCC Sports Information Director

Hutchinson Community College freshman outfielder Sean Banks was one of two men killed on Thursday in a grain elevator collapse in Banks’ home town of Russell, Kan.

Banks and Fort Hays State University student Max Greve, both employed at the Russell grain elevator, were killed when a portion of the structure collapsed while both were unloading a semi filled with grain.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to Sean’s family during this tragic time,” HCC head coach Kyle Crookes said Thursday evening. “Sean was a tremendous young man who was a great teammate. We will miss him but Sean will always be a Blue Dragon.”

HCC president Dr. Ed Berger called the tragedy “A great loss.”

Banks was a freshman outfielder from Russell who played in just one game during HCC’s 2010 Region VI championship team that finished third at the 2010 NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., earlier this month.

In addition to playing on the Blue Dragon baseball team, Banks was heavily involved in other HCC student activities, including student government and was the 2010 HCC Spring Homecoming King.


Jawanza Poland headed to South Florida



Great news for Jawanza, who committed to play for South Florida today. Here’s a little refresher course on JP: Freshman of the year in Jayhawk Conference two years ago at Cowley College, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard/forward out of Wichita East had to sit out this season because he was part of the mass exodus from Cowley to Hutchinson CC after coach Steve Eck jumped ship from the Tigers to the Blue Dragons … but for some reason, unlike most of his teammates, he wasn’t given his release from Cowley. And while that may have prevented HCC from winning the Region VI title, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for JP, who now gets to play three years at a four-year school. Just take this into account … this season Hutch made road trips to great towns like Colby, Garden City, Great Bend and El Dorado. USF found its way to places like Las Vegas, Louisville, New York City and Chicago. I’m just sayin’. Plus, he gets to play for Stan Heath, who I’m always impressed with.

Poland chose the Bulls over Oklahoma, West Virginia, Cincinnati and others … which probably means Wichita State, too, as I’m pretty sure they were recruiting him the last couple of years.

From my perspective, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a kid improve as much as JP did from his senior year of high school to his freshman year of college. Dude’s game just … grew up. Very mature on the court. I could see why he was so coveted when it came to recruiting.

“I’m just trying to come in and help the team win,” Poland told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. “They have a good coaching staff, and I like the academics there and how they get their players to graduate. The campus looks like a nice place.”

Out. TA.

Holloman & Gantt … what’s the big deal?

“I’ll tell you what the big deal is! They’re cheating! They’re doing whatever it takes to win Region VI! I told you Steve Eck would do this!!!!!”

-Real caller to my office line, circa 4:30 Thursday afternoon. Also, in response to me saying “I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Here’s the latest, in case you didn’t know: After lengthy suspensions, both Garrius Holloman and Adonis Gantt are back on the men’s basketball team at Hutchinson Community College. Both former City Leaguers played in Wednesday’s win over Barton. So I’ll give you one reason why it’s a big deal, and another reason why it’s not in regards to what I told The Caller.

It’s a big deal because it means, if both their heads are in the right place, the Blue Dragons have a shot at winning Region VI. Which is why Eck is in Hutchinson in the first place. No amount of hand-wringing and complaining on the part of fans from other Jayhawk teams is going to change that. You’re mad they’re back? I’m guessing CE could care less. Which leads me to my next point.

How is it, without knowing exactly what they did, can people be so upset about them coming back? I have somewhat of an idea, yes, but nothing confirmed. And regardless of what they did, my understanding was that they were going to be allowed back on the team pending some sort of public mea culpa. And at this point, having missed almost half of their team’s season, haven’t they been punished enough? They’ve cost themselves immeasurably when it comes to recruiting — possibly the difference between playing at low to mid-majors on the Division I level to dropping down to Division II or NAIA. If your argument is that Coach Eck will do anything to win and this proves that, well then my response would be how do you know that it wasn’t the kids that asked to be let back on the team when they saw their squad struggling? There is too much grey area, right now, for any of us to talk in absolutes.

Both played about six minutes on Wednesday, but expect that number to go up in a hurry. Holloman is the post the Blue Dragons were lacking and Gantt is the extra guard they desperately needed.

Anybody else ready to hit Koch Arena?


Ps. My grama’s favorite song.

Five thoughts on Butler-Hutch



I was in El Dorado last night for the big game — and you can read Jeff Lutz’s game story about No. 18 Butler’s 81-74 win over No. 10 Hutch right here.

Make sure you check out our gallery, too. It’s linked to the story and Fernando Salazar got some great game shots.

I don’t know if I came away more impressed with Butler as a team or surprised at what Hutchinson had to offer. Here’s five thoughts from last night’s showdown at the Power Plant in El Dorado:

1. Cousin vs. Mitchell

The marquee matchup to watch, for me, was Butler point guard Anthony Cousin vs. Hutchinson combo guard Joe Mitchell. First off, Cousin played probably his best game of the year, good enough to get some more buzz circulating about his D1 prospects. Cousin is a qualifier so he can leave the Grizzlies after this year (which I’m assuming he does) and play three years at … wherever. Bradley head coach Jim Les was at the game last night, and I’ve got to think he had his eye on both Cousin and Butler guard/forward Caleb Walker. What people around these parts want to know, however, is if they think he can play at Wichita State. I don’t see why he couldn’t. Could Mitchell? Harder to tell. He scored 19 points last night and I didn’t come away thinking he played great, and a lot of that has to do with my next thought.That is, he doesn’t have a lot of help.

2. Where is Garrius Holloman? Where is Adonis Gantt?

I couldn’t help but thinking that these two are sorely missed. Forget having Robert Goff and Jawanza Poland, who probably should have been able to play this year, it’s these two who are the most conspicuous in their absence. Next to both names in the roster attached to the Hutchinson pre-game notes it simply reads “On indefinite suspension from team” — you have to think with Gantt and Mitchell in the backcourt together plus Holloman in the post things are A LOT different, but for some reason neither one could keep it together this season. With so much on the line, it makes you wonder about character issues with both players, especially when both guys have toed the line for so long leading up to this. Is it addition by subtraction? It didn’t seem like it last night, but the season’s not over yet.

3. Mike Bargen plays it pretty cool

If you had kept a camera on Butler coach Mike Bargen during the game, I don’t know if you could tell when he teams made a mistake. His ability to process problems and keep coaching without letting himself get distracted is very impressive, and as about 20 people told me last night — don’t expect him to be a Jayhawk coach for much longer at this rate. Why is keeping it cool important, you might ask? A LOT of coaches do the very thing they preach to players about not doing: They let one mistake distract them and it turns into two or three for their team because they lose focus on the game.

4. Steve Eck is still a really good coach

At different times in both the first and second half I thought the Blue Dragons were out of the ballgame, and they clawed their way back in each time. When you have as many lineup changes as Hutch has had this year then you have to revamp your coaching style constantly. Credit Coach Eck for being able to adapt on the fly and still almost pull out a win despite only suiting up nine players. After the game, I was talking to Jeff and neither of us could remember ever seeing an Eck-coached team get blown out.

5. Either team could win Region VI

Such is the nature of the Jayhawk Conference this season. Nobody can say they are the favorite. I got to talk to Jayhawk commish Bryce Roderick last night, and he told me that this year was striking in its parity amongst the Region 6 teams. And he’s seen everybody play so I’ll take his word at it.

6. BONUS BONUS BONUS When you’re in the BCC gym, you can’t help but look at that national championship banner for football.

It’s just so … full.

That’s all I got. TA

Salt City Bowl (LIVE UPDATES)



It’s about 10 minutes before kickoff and toasty warm in the press box — they’re doing the starting lineups right now. It looks chilly out there. Just saw Randy Dreiling roaming around up here … Hutch kicks off.

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Salt City Bowl, here I come



So I’m headed to the Salt City Bowl in Hutchinson tomorrow to see No. 20 Hutch take on No. 16 New Mexico Military Institute, and then to Pittsburg on Sunday for the Citizens Bank Bowl, aka the NJCAA national title game between No. 1 Fort Scott and No. 2 Blinn. My plan is to do live updates via the blog during both games, but let me emphasize PLANNED because you never know how internet connections and such shake out. But I’m hopeful.

What to expect from Hutchinson? I’m really excited to see their defense — they’ve got a pair of studs in Alex Davis and Meshak Williams, along with linebacker Matt Fairchild, an Andale product. On offense, the Blue Dragons have got a pair of stud running backs in Chris Clay and Chris Anderson, but the player I’m most interested in is former K-State signee Angelo Pease, their quarterback. I think he’s a straight ATH/UTIL on any roster at the next level, which we saw this year could mean big numbers for the Wildcats. Be interested to get his take on what he thinks of the situation at KSU and where he might fit in … tried to talk to him this week, but no dice.

Check Sunday’s Eagle for a pair of stories by yours truly on the national title game — one on Fort Scott running back Jasmin Hopkins (a GREAT interview) and another on Blinn coach Brad Franchione, who grew up in Pittsburg.

As always, if you see me at the game, yes, I will share my popcorn with you. Unless your name is Wayne Gilmore. Then you’re buying.