Oakton men’s basketball trio receives postseason honors
(March 1, 2018) Three Oakton Community College men’s basketball freshmen received postseason honors, highlighted by Jordan Irving (Morton Grove, Maine East High School) being named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IV Division II District 4 All-Region Second Team.
Irving, a guard, led the Owls in scoring with 16.9 points per game after leading his high school in scoring during his junior and senior years. He also averaged 2.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game in 2017-18.
“Jordan has excelled in a variety of skill sets this season at the request of the coaching staff,” Head Coach Mick Reuter says. “Throughout the season, he proved his ability to facilitate on the offensive end and execute defensively. He just continued to improve all season.”
Two forwards also received recognition from the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. Darius Jones (Glenview, Glenbrook South High School) earned first-team honors while Jaelin Ferrell, who hails from Louisville, Kentucky, captured a spot on the second team.
The 6-3 Jones led the Owls in rebounds (9.4) and blocks (1.4) per game, while contributing 12.5 points per contest. Meanwhile, Ferrell delivered 15.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
“Darius is a versatile player whose ability to read the game grew as the season progressed,” Reuter explains. “His ability to impact the game on both ends of the court improved dramatically each month.
“Jaelin has been one of our most consist offensive players throughout the year. He is constantly in the gym looking to hone his skills.”
The Owls finished the regular season with a 10-20 record and with Irving, Jones and Ferrell all slated to return next season, Reuter is already optimistic about the 2018-19 campaign.
“We are excited for their continued growth in the future and can’t wait to see how they elevate our team next season,” Reuter adds.
Oakton Owls men’s basketball team looks to vex opponents with versatility, defense
(Oct. 26, 2017) According to Mick Reuter, head coach for the Oakton Community College men’s basketball team, flexibility will be the theme for this year’s edition of the Oakton Owls.
“With nine freshmen on the team this year, we’re young and lack a lot of height,” says Reuter, who is entering his 10th year as head coach. “However, with the roster we have, many athletes can play and guard every position. That flexibility will allow us to create more pressure on defense and create turnovers. Offensively, we’ll be hard to guard which will allow us to stretch the floor and create scoring opportunities.”
One of the newcomers Reuter will be relying on heavily this year is freshman guard Jordan Irving (Morton Grove, Maine East High School). Irving led the Blue Demons in scoring his junior and senior years.
“Jordan is an offensive machine,” Reuter says. “With our team’s makeup this year, we won’t be looking for him to carry the load in scoring. Instead, Jordan will play various positions and help all over the court.”
Irving adds, “Playing at the college level will be different for me. I’ll be needed to contribute more defensively. However, I bring a competiveness to the court that will help the team.”
Freshman Jeremiah Goldwair (Louisville, Kentucky, Male High School) is penciled in at point guard this year.
“Jeremiah is lightning quick,” says Reuter. “He’s a smart player who also is in the Air Force Reserve and might miss a few games for us because of that.”
The Owls will have experience with two returning players, Marion Johnson (Des Plaines, Maine West High School) and Christos Vassilakos, a Greek immigrant who attended Maine South High School.
Johnson, the team captain, will be looking to expand on last season when he started 27 games, averaging 10.2 points and 6.3 boards per contest.
“We’re looking forward to a good year,” says the 6-3 Johnson, one of the team’s tallest players. “We’re smaller than we were last year, but we will use our speed and athleticism to our advantage. We plan to outhustle opponents and always be the fastest team on the court.”
Vassilakos, a solid defender who stands 6-4 and weighs nearly 200 lbs., started seven games last year.
“Christos will be one of our regular starters this season,” Reuter says. “He’s one of the team’s hardest working players and sets the tone for us on defense with his physical presence.”
Irving says that even though this is a young team, the Owls have already grown in cohesiveness since starting practice back in August: “This is going to be a fun team to play on. We’ve been working hard on our communication with each other. Having that good chemistry will be beneficial and will help us to win games.”
The Owls open the season at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, in a home contest against College of DuPage.
Oakton’s Beckford named NJCAA All-American
(April 14, 2017) Oakton Community College men’s basketball freshman Tafari Beckford (Skokie, Niles North High School) was named National Junior College Athletic Association All-American as a member of the second team.
“Tafari’s rare combination of size, skill, athleticism and mental toughness made him a nightmare for opposing teams, and he grew as a player and leader as the season progressed,” Owls head coach Mick Reuter said of the 6-5 guard. “The All-America honor provides recognition for the hard work he put in for the team throughout the year.”
Beckford earned all-region accolades in 2016-17, averaging 20 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, shooting 53.3 percent from the field, including 38.1 percent three-point shooting in 24 games.
“I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs both in school and basketball-wise. Coming to Oakton, I just felt that my best shot was to keep up with school, stay on the court and try my best,” Beckford said. “Now, I feel like I’ve accomplished something, and it means a lot to me.”
The 2016-17 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) player of the year averaged a double-double in ISCC play, en route to earning first team all-conference honors with an average of 21.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per conference game.
“I’m proud of my team, even though we didn’t go as far as we’d have liked, and I feel like next year is going to be even better,” Beckford said, noting he’s inspired to work even harder. “We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, and as more people hear about us and come to our games to cheer us on, I feel that will give us even more confidence and it will be a great year next year.”
Owls’ Beckford, Matthew named to NJCAA Men’s Basketball All-Region Team
(March 1, 2017) The postseason honors keep rolling in for the Oakton Community College men’s basketball team. Freshman guard Tafari Beckford (Skokie, Niles North High School) tied for the most votes in balloting for the NJCAA Region IV Division II District 4 All Region Team, earning first team accolades. Sophomore captain Ryan Matthew (Park Ridge, Maine South) earned second team honors in the ballot.
Beckford, the 2016-17 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) player of the year, averaged a double-double in ISCC play, en route to earning first team all-conference honors with an average of 21.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per conference game.
Overall, Beckford averaged 20 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, shooting 53.3 percent from the field, including 38.1 percent three-point shooting in 24 games.
“Tafari’s combination of size, skill, athleticism and mental toughness make him a nightmare for opposing teams,” said Mick Reuter, Owls head coach. “Throughout the season, Tafari grew as a player and a leader and was a big part of our turnaround this year.”
Matthew, a guard, was the Owls’ most consistent offensive threat throughout the season. In 30 games, he averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He shot 45 percent from the field, including 34.3 percent from beyond the three-point-arc. The first team all-ISCC selection averaged 15.4 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 assists in league contests for the Owls and earned league player of the week honors three different times..
“Ryan has been a steady contributor for us throughout the year,” Reuter said. “His leadership on the court and off has set a great example for our younger players. I am looking forward to watching him and the other players raise their level of play in regionals.”
The Owls (17-13) host Black Hawk College (14-15) in the quarterfinals of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II District 4 Men’s Basketball Tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2, in Oakton’s gymnasium, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines.