2021-22 COLLEGE BASKETBALL WRAPUP: Former Belmont Abbey assistant coach leads team to NIT title, other local standouts

By Richard Walker

Former Belmont Abbey assistant coach Jonas Hayes guided Xavier to Thursday’s NIT championship as an interim head coach.

Former Belmont Abbey assistant coach Jonas Hayes (left) guided Xavier to the 2022 NIT championship as an interim head coach on Thursday night.

Named interim head coach on March 16 when Xavier fired head coach Travis Steele, Hayes was an assistant coach at Belmont Abbey for five seasons (2007-08 to 2011-12) and has also been an assistant coach for Morehouse (2005-06), South Carolina State (2006-07), Georgia (2012-18) and Xavier (2018-22).

As interim coach, Hayes guided the Musketeers to NIT victories over Cleveland State (72-68), Florida (72-56), Vanderbilt (75-73) and St. Bonaventure (84-77) and Texas A&M (73-72) to win the tournament title at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Xavier recently hired Sean Miller as its next head coach; Miller has said Hayes would be welcome to remain on his staff though Hayes has been mentioned as a candidate for several head coaching vacancies in the last few weeks.

Hayes wasn’t the only former Cleveland, Gaston or Lincoln county product to play or coach college basketball this season. Here are the others:

(Men’s basketball)
Anderson: Jeff Brookman (Belmont Abbey 1998 graduate) guided the Trojans to an 11-17, 8-16 South Atlantic Conference finish.

Appalachian State: Adrian Delph (Kings Mountain 2018) averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 33 starts to earn All-Sun Belt Conference honors and former East Gaston and Gaston Day standout James Lewis averaged 5.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 31 games (28 starts) for the Mountaineers (19-15, 12-6 Sun Belt), who played in The Basketball Classic postseason tournament.

Augusta: Dip Metress (Belmont Abbey 1988) guided the Jaguars to a 33-4, 15-3 Peach Belt Conference finish and led his team to the NCAA Division II national championship game.

Austin Peay: Former Lincolnton standout Brett Carey was an associate head coach for the Governors, who finished 12-17, 8-10 Ohio Valley.

Brevard: Michael Peters (Gaston Christian 2020) averaged 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10 games (two starts) for the Tornados (8-16, 5-7 USA South).

Carson-Newman: Caleb Bridgewater (East Gaston 2018) averaged 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 19 games (nine starts) for the Eagles.

Catawba Valley Community College: Demetrius Washington (Mountain Island Charter 2020) averaged 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists for the Red Hawks (19-12, 14-8 Region 10).

Charleston Southern: Barclay Radebaugh (Lincolnton 1983) guided the Buccaneers to a 6-25, 1-15 Big South Conference finish.

Connecticut: Former Ashbrook standout Isaiah Whaley averaged 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 32 games (31 starts) for the Huskies (23-10, 13-6 Big East), who advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Dartmouth: Demilade “Dame” Adelekun (Gaston Day2019) averaged 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 20 games (11 starts) for the Big Green (9-16, 6-8 Ivy League).

Erskine: Jaylen Prioleau (Mountain Island Charter 2019) averaged 11.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 28 games (27 starts) for the Fleet (4-24, 4-20 Conference Carolinas).

Cress Worthy

Fayetteville State: Cress Worthy (Huss 2017) averaged 14.8 points, 4.2 points and 3.1 assists to earn All-CIAA honors for the Broncos (21-9, 13-3), who won the CIAA championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II national tournament.

Florida State: Leonard Hamilton (Highland 1966, Gaston College 1968) guided the Seminoles to a 17-14, 10-10 ACC finish while improving his college career coaching record to 595-452.

Gaston College: Dylan Stewart (North Gaston 2021) averaged 2.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists in six games and Kirk Scoggins (North Gaston 2020) averaged 1.0 points in six games for the Rhinos (18-10, 8-6 Region 10).

Iowa: Former Belmont Abbey head coach Billy Taylor was an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes (26-10, 16-8), who won the Big Ten tournament title and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Lees-McRae: Sidney Dollar (East Lincoln 2019) averaged 7.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29 games (19 starts) and London England (Lincoln Charter 2018) averaged 6.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 24 games (13 starts) for the Bobcats (15-14, 12-12 Conference Carolinas).

Mars Hill: Lane Harrill (Cherryville 2020) averaged 0.9 points and 1.0 rebounds in 10 games for the Lions (6-21, 6-18 SAC).

Milligan: Levontae Knox (Lincoln Charter 2019) averaged 13.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 28 games (24 starts) to earn second team All-Appalachian Athletic Conference honors, Jackson Gabriel (Lincoln Charter 2019) averaged 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 11 games (10 starts) and former Lincoln Charter head coach Brad Gabriel was an assistant coach for the Buffs (6-22, 5-19).

Montreat: Davis Grooms (Lincolnton 2020) averaged 0.8 assists in four games and Sam Brown (East Gaston 2017) averaged 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 17 games for the Cavaliers (21-10, 17-7), who were Appalachian Athletic Conference runner-up and advanced to the NAIA national tournament.

Newberry: Logan Botts (Forestview 2020) played in one game for the Wolves (15-13, 14-10 SAC).

North Georgia: Kody Shubert (Lincoln Charter 2018) averaged 11.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 28 starts for the Nighthawks (14-14, 7-11 Peach Belt).

North Greenville: Ayden Baker (South Point 2021) averaged 1.8 points and 0.9 rebounds in 13 games for the Crusaders (6-21, 4-20 Conference Carolinas).

Ohio State: Former Gardner-Webb head coach Chris Holtman guided the Buckeyes to a 20-12, 12-8 Big Ten Conference finish and the NCAA tournament.

Pitt County Community College: Marcquis Williams (Mountain Island Charter 2021) averaged 0.3 points and 0.7 rebounds in 23 games for the Bulldogs (13-16, 10-12 Region 10).

Presbyterian: Eric Wilson (Lincolnton 2004) was an assistant coach for the Blue Hose, who finished 12-20, 4-12 in the Big South Conference.

Queens: Quan McCluney (Gaston Day 2018) averaged 8.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 34 starts for the Royals (30-4, 21-3), who won the South Atlantic Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional finals.

Roanoke College: Justin Kuthan (East Lincoln 2020) averaged 8.1 points and 4.0 rebounds for the Maroons (18-9, 9-7 ODAC).

Sewanee: John Crump (Gaston Day 2019) averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists for the Tigers (6-16, 3-19 Southern Athletic Association).

UNC Asheville: Quay Kimble (Shelby 2017) averaged 4.3 points and 1.4 rebounds in 26 games (one start) for the Bulldogs (16-14, 8-8 Big South).

UNC Wilmington: Takayo Siddle (Gardner-Webb 2009) guided the Seahawks to a 27-9, 15-3 record, co-Colonial Athletic Association regular season title and the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament title.

(Women’s college basketball)

Bridgewater: Diamond Huskey (Huss 2018) averaged 3.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 26 games (four starts) and Gastonia’s Jessie Wiles averaged 1.1 points in 19 games (four starts) for the Eagles (11-15, 7-10 ODAC).

Catawba: Jada Davie (Ashbrook 2018) averaged 3.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 30 games (one start) and Emry Tsitouris (Belmont Abbey 2018) was an assistant coach for the Indians (23-7, 19-5 SAC), who advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament.

Catawba Valley Community College: Kenzley Dunlap (Forestview 2020) averaged 9.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 23 games (21 starts) and Nikkyana McCaskill (Forestview 2015) was an assistant coach for the Red Hawks (17-7, 13-6 Region 10).

Charlotte 49ers (and assistant coach Nicole Woods) celebrate their 2022 Conference USA championship.

Charlotte: Nicole Woods (Huss 2002, Belmont Abbey 2006) was an assistant coach for the 49ers (22-10, 15-3), who won the Conference USA tournament title, the league’s East Division regular season title and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Elon: Evonna McGill (Ashbrook 2018) averaged 11.3 points and 4.6 assists in 21 games (11 starts) for the Phoenix (18-11, 9-9 Colonial), whose head coach was Charlotte Smith (Shelby 1991).

Gardner-Webb: L’mia Littlejohn (Shelby 2019) averaged 1.9 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 27 games for the Bulldogs (16-15, 13-5 Big South).

Lees-McRae: Destiny Johnson (East Lincoln 2018) averaged 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 20 starts and Olivia King (Gaston Day 2019) averaged 2.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in 23 games (two starts) for the Bobcats (9-18, 9-15 Conference Carolinas).

Montreat: Alexis Marshall (Crest 2021) averaged 1.2 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 28 games and Vaniyah Petty (Crest 2021) averaged 5.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 30 games (11 starts) for the Cavaliers (12-19, 9-15 Appalachian Athletic Conference).

Peace: Nautica Falls (Huss 2019) averaged 5.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10 games for the Pacers (3-21, 2-16 USA South).

Salem: Sydney Bowen (Forestview 2018) averaged 2.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 22 games (18 starts) and was named to the All-USA South Conference sportsmanship team for the Spirits (4-20, 3-15).

Tennessee: Catherine Greene (Huss 2004) was a director of basketball operations for the Volunteers (25-9, 11-5 SEC), who advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Zaria Clark

UNC Pembroke: Zaria Clark (Gaston Day 2021) averaged 9.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 29 games (one start) and was named Conference Carolinas freshman of the year for the Braves (19-10, 17-7).