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Skipjacks' sophomores set high standard

Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004

WYE MILLS, March 4 -- So many accomplishments in such a short time.

That sums up the achievements of Cyril Djoukeng, Chijioke Anyanwu, and Jerrold Lee, the three sophomores who recently completed their Chesapeake College men’s basketball careers. They led Chesapeake to two state semifinal appearances, a region semifinal berth and consecutive, 20-win seasons climaxed by this year’s 21-9 campaign.

"At the very beginning of the season I wasn’t sure how well we would do," said Djoukeng, recently named to the all-state first team for the second consecutive season. "I think we were successful because we stuck to our strengths. We ran the ball, played defense, and rebounded. And for the most part we were unselfish."

Head coach John Mappas, who resigned Monday after going 73-43 in four seasons, agreed with Djoukeng.

"I thought the team shared the ball very well. It was an extremely unselfish team for the most part," said Mappas, who was 173-66 in eight seasons as a junior college head coach. "We were a very good basketball team at home (11-1), and this was probably as good a shooting team as I’ve had in a long time."

Mappas said his trio of sophomore starters should be very proud of their 41-19 overall record.

"It (the record) is a tribute to them," said Mappas. "When you get good players, you’re going to have a good record. They’re good basketball players."

Djoukeng, who averaged 15.7 points and 6.5 assists per game, finished eighth in Maryland JuCo in assists and third in free-throw percentage (86.3 percent). He has recruiting visits scheduled at Division I Nichols State and Division II Pfeiffer University, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

"Wherever he goes, they’re getting an outstanding basketball player, but he’s even a more outstanding person," said Mappas of Djoukeng, who has a 4.0 grade-point average. "He’s the total package great person, great student, team player, all he wants to do is win."

Anyanwu, meanwhile, led the Skipjacks in scoring (19.7 points per game) and rebounding (10.0) while finishing in Maryland JuCo’s top 10 in both categories.

" ’Jioke scored over 900 points for us in two seasons," said Mappas of Anyanwu, who is being recruited by American International College as well as some other four-year institutions. "He has a nose for the ball, which makes him an excellent rebounder. He had a very good career at Chesapeake."

Mappas said Lee, who moved from high school guard to college center/forward, epitomized the team’s unselfishness.

"Jerrold sacrificed his game for the good of the team," said Mappas. "He was a 6-foot-2 center playing against bigger guys every game. He had to take the best big man on the other team every game and never complained. He just did his job."

Mappas said the sophomores’ biggest accomplishment may not be the team’s 41-19 overall record.

"What’s even more impressive than their overall record is the 23-11 record in the conference," said Mappas, noting the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference is considered one of the country’s top JuCo leagues. "To go 11-6 and 12-5 the last two years is really an accomplishment for the kids, especially with no post presence."

Mappas said two of the sophomores’ wins stand out among the 41 victories quarterfinal upsets over Cecil Community College and CCBC-Catonsville in the 2003 and 2004 state tournaments, respectively.

"I would say the second Catonsville game (the state tournament contest) was especially impressive because of the way we handled them (78-61) after losing to them in the regular season by 21 points," said Mappas. "That game was very big."

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