SHERIDAN — Sheridan College’s men’s basketball team boasts a national ranking for the first time since 2013 — a span of 1,506 days or four years, one month and 14 days. The Generals checked in at No. 19 in this week’s National Junior College Athletic Association top 25.
“It’s fun for our guys, and I’m happy for our guys, especially our sophomores,” SC men’s head basketball coach Matt Hammer said. “They’ve all worked really hard this fall, and they put in the time, and we challenged them with a fairly tough schedule to begin with — for a team that’s as young as we are — and they responded to it. They accepted the challenge and now they are getting rewarded for it.”
Hammer addressed his team regarding the achievement prior to practice Wednesday. The message was very similar to a message the team hears from Hammer on a game-by-game basis.
“We always talk to our guys during games, anytime we have a five-point lead or a 10-point lead, about how much is enough,” Hammer said. “We ask them, ‘Are you happy with a five-point lead or a 10-point lead?’ And of course they come back and say they want more. … We are not satisfied with where we are at right now; we feel like we can get a lot better and do more.”
The 2013-14 preseason poll marked the last time Sheridan claimed a spot in the top 25. Barack Obama was still in the heart of his second term as president, and Hammer hadn’t even made his way to Sheridan, yet.
The Generals lay claim to their best start under Hammer and are currently riding a 10-game win streak — second longest in Hammer’s tenure. SC has a 13-1 overall record with its only loss coming against Trinidad State, 87-85, Nov. 10 in Otero, Colorado.
The Generals are averaging 93.7 points per game and hitting 52.5 percent of their field-goal attempts. Channel Banks paces Sheridan, pouring in 18.9 points per contest. AJ Bramah and Camron Reece add 14.1 points per game, and Laden Ricketts chips in 13.1.
Hammer believes the numbers, while impressive, can be better.
“It’s great to see people recognizing that we have a good team, but at the same time, we talked to our guys all the time about not being satisfied and staying hungry,” Hammer said. “We got a lot more than a ranking to accomplish this year.”
Sheridan College plays one final game prior to its two-week holiday break. The Generals host Little Big Horn Friday at 7 p.m. at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome.