PRCC Men’s Basketball’s attending to unfinished business

“Well, I think we’re done talking about legacy now that we’re here. I think this team’s legacy has already been made. Now it’s just icing for the cake. Depending on how we play next week depends how much icing goes on the cake. But to accomplish what they’ve accomplished, 28-0, the way they’ve done it, it’s something that will always be talked about no matter if it’s a storybook ending or just an ending.”

Two years ago, the Pearl River Community College men’s basketball program was named the number one seed in the NJCAA Tournament.

Exactly one week later, the Wildcats got their ending, but not at the hands of another team, rather COVID-19.

This year, PRCC finally making its long-awaited return trip, having taken the long way back to Hutch.

Pearl River automatically punching its ticket to the big dance with Saturday’s 69-57 victory over Meridian in the Region 23 Tournament championship game.

The Wildcats are heading to Hutchinson, Kansas as hot as any team in the country, having won 20 out of their last 21 games with their only loss coming to EMCC in the MACCC Tournament Semi-Finals.

Their overall record of 24-3 good enough for the 17-seed in the field of 24 teams.

Only three players remaining from that 2020 roster, those being the twins out of Biloxi High School Jariyon and Jaronn Wilkens, as well as Earl Smith Jr.

Needless to say, PRCC has unfinished business to attend to and while it may not be 28-0, this year’s team is carrying the legacy of two teams on its back, ready to put all the icing on both cakes. Guard Jariyon Wilkens said, “Really, we, us three, we say let’s win it because we played on a number one team before so we know what it takes. We know what it takes to get there. We finally got our foot in the door, so why not? Why not us?”

Forward Jaronn Wilkens said, “The people that was there that couldn’t play like Isaih Moore, Beano, all them, I feel like they’re happy that we made it as well. Like everyone is on the same page about the situation because they know our first year, we were a number one seed and we couldn’t go because of COVID and how everything went down, so everybody is happy to be on-board about it. And I’m happy as well because everybody doesn’t make it to play in a national tournament, so it’s a blessing.”

Head Coach Chris Oney said, “Well, it means a lot because I would’ve been heartbroken if those guys three years ago never got the chance to experience it, especially after going 28-0 and earn a chance to go down to Hutchinson, Kansas, and then for them to come back. Some of them turned down Division I offers to come back for a third year for this moment.”

The Wildcats take on 16-seed Moberly Area out of Missouri in the first round at 10 a.m. on Monday. It’s their third time qualifying for Hutch all-time.

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