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Chargers Ranked 10th to Start the Season

Donaldson, Ind — Coming off a 29-3 overall record and a near perfect 18-1 mark in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) last year, the Ancilla College men’s basketball team has high expectations this year. Voted 10th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DII preseason poll, the Chargers already have a target on their back.

Ancilla not only lost their sophomores to graduation after last season, but they also lost their coach. Six-year head coach Aaron Butcher signed with a DI junior college in Oklahoma and Jair Rodgers (South Bend), the MCCAA Western Conference Player-of-the-Year, is now a junior at NCAA DII Concord University in Athens, WV.  Both DK Fox (Elkhart) who is now at Holy Cross and Frank Felix (Chicago) were also lost to graduation. Three of last year’s top freshmen have also moved on.

New Ancilla coach, Brian Pearison, has been a Charger assistant for the past three years and had been involved in recruiting most of the returners from last season. The transition should be a smooth one for Pearison who is also now the college’s athletic director.

“We have a lot of goals set for this season,” Pearison said. “We want to be in the top five in the country in field goal percentage, three-point field goals percentage, rebounding and turnover ratio. If we can meet these goals, it should set us up for a conference and regional title.”

Top returners for the Chargers include a trio of South Bend natives in Kyreese Parker, Mike Green and Ty’sean Sheppard, along with Albert Haskins of Chicago. Parker will be counted on for his defense and scoring, while Green is also known for his defense and ability to get to the rim with the ball. Sheppard is the utility man who can change the game with his defense, rebounding, play making or scoring. Haskins should be the team’s top rebounder.

“We have a good blend of new and returning players,” Pearison said. “We are a little bigger inside this year and we may have about the same depth in our guard positions. We played well in the preseason and are anxious to get the season started on Thursday.”

Newcomers include a group of skilled players. Nemanja Jovanich is a 6-8 bruiser by way of South Georgia Tech. He has excellent footwork and inside scoring ability. Pearison says he is the most talented big man he has coached. Josh Alcindor (Irving, CA) is a 6-3 shooting guard who has the potential to lead the team in scoring. Alcindor wanted to play college ball in Indiana and his AAU coach was a former Holy Cross player who connected him with Pearison, a former Holy Cross assistant coach. Marco Beverly (Anderson) is very talented and should be a tough match-up for any defender.

Others expected to assist the Chargers this year are Weston Sage (Elkhart), Mike Hemingway (South Bend), Tyreese Walker (Michigan City), Jerron Tatum (Gary), Jake Bennett (Elwood), Rico Duncan (Noblesville and Nathan Meriweather (Indianapolis).

Ancilla will open their season on the road when they travel to Chicago on Thursday to face Richard J. Daley College at 8 p.m. eastern time. They will host the Bethel College JV on Nov. 12 and the Goshen College JV on Nov. 13. Both games will start at 7 p.m. at the LifePlex in Plymouth.