West Headed to Claflin University in South Carolina

After Stellar Return at Middlesex C.C., Former St. Joe’s Standout Will Now Play NCAA D2 in CIAA

Former St. Joseph’s HS standout and 2017 GMC Hoops Player of the Year, Letrell West, puts up a shot in traffice for Middlesex County College in the first half of the Blue Colts regular season game at Union County College on November 27th. West recently committed to play at NCAA Division II Claflin University of the CIAA in South Carolina next season.

EDISON, NJ—A little more than a week ago, GMC Hoops learned from the Middlesex County College men’s basketball program that former St. Joseph’s standout, and 2017 GMC Hoops Player of the Year, Letrell West has received a full scholarship to play men’s basketball at Claflin University in South Carolina.

West made a memorable return to Middlesex County hoops by attending Middlesex County College and playing for the Blue Colts and his former boys basketball coach at St. Joseph’s, Dave Turco. After serving on the St. Joseph’s boys basketball coaching staff in 2017-18, West joined the Blue Colts, and helped lead them to heights not seen at MCC in over 10 years.

Competing in a very tough and competitive Region 19 and Garden State Athletic Conference field that included the likes of Rowan College of Gloucester County, Brookdale Community College, Cumberland Community College, and Union County College, MCC managed to finish second in the regular season, and then won the Region 19 tournament by first defeating Cumberland County College in the semifinals, and then edging a very spirited UCC squad in the Championship.

West, who earned MVP honors for the Region 19 Tournament while Turco earned Coach of the Year honors, continued to play well in the NJCAA Division 3 National Championship Tournament, which took place in Rochester, Minnesota. Although the Blue Colts lost all three of its games in the nationals, they still managed to play competitively with West leading the way with 93 points, or an average of 31 ppg.

After scoring 585 of his over 1,000 career points his senior year at St. Joseph’s, West turned in another stellar effort at MCC with 823 points to lead the nation in NJCAA D3 scoring. According to the MCC Boys Basketball program, West was also 7th in free throw percentage at 84.2%, and 11th in assists with an average of 6.6 apg. In 34 games with MCC, West averaged 24.2 ppg, made 47.6 percent of his field goals, 35.4 percent of his threes, and grabbed 8 rebounds per contest.

West, who played and started in all 34 games for MCC, connected on 263 of 552 field goal attempts, 74 of 209 three point tries, and 223 of 265 foul shots. He collected 272 rebounds including 54 offensive, 223 assists, 49 steals, and 17 blocked shots according to NJCAA.org. In addition, West only picked up 66 personal fouls, didn’t foul out of a game, committed just 106 turnovers, and had an assist to turnover ratio of 2.1. West also averaged nearly 35 minutes per game for the Blue Colts this season.

For the year, Middlesex County College finished 27-7 overall including a 16-4 mark in conference play. Highlights from the season included a hard fought win at Union County College on November 27th (83-76), a last second shot by West to stun Rowan College of Gloucester County at MCC (77-76), and a win over last year’s NJCAA Division 3 national champion, Brookdale College in Lincroft on February 5th, and of course the run through the field in the thrilling Region 19 tournament.

In the Region 19 Tourney, Middlesex, which was seeded 2nd, won its first round game at MCC over 10th seeded Community College of Philadelphia (94-79). West played 36 minutes in the contest, made 7 of 14 field goals including 2 of 4 from three, and added 9 of 9 from the foul line for a game high 25 points along with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and a steal. Moving on to the semifinals, MCC fought off a valiant effort by 6th seeded Cumberland County for a 69-51 victory.

Once again, West led the way with 32 points on 10 of 21 shooting from the field including 2 of 5 from three, and a slam dunk along with a perfect 10 of 10 from the charity stripe. West also added 13 rebounds for a double-double while handing out 7 assists in 36 minutes of playing time. Finally, in the Championship Game, West led the charge once more with 24 points on 8 of 18 shooting from the field and a perfect 8 of 8 from the line while also picking up 12 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block in another 36 minutes of action.

For the Region 19 tourney, West scored a total of 81 points on 25 of 53 shooting including 4 of 12 from downtown, and most importantly, a perfect 27 of 27 from the foul line. He also tallied up 34 boards, 16 assists, a steal, and a block in 108 minutes of play. West averaged 27 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists per contest en route to getting MVP honors. The MCC and St. Joseph’s standout will be joining a Claflin team that was 13-14 overall including a 9-9 mark in its first season in the CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) this past season.

Last year, Claflin left the SIAC (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) in style with a 26-7 overall record, a 14-5 conference mark, and a SIAC Tournament Championship. The Panthers earned their 2nd ever bid to the NCAA Division 2 Tournament, and won its first round game in the South Regional in Atlanta before falling to Barry University (89-64). Congratulations Letrell on another monumental season, and continued success in D2 hoops.