04.03.13: The Vincent A. Cullen played host Wednesday night to the annual Region XXI Men’s Basketball All-Star Game and the region’s best put on an exciting show for the large gathering of family, friends, fans as well as college coaches in attendance. The game is an opportunity for New England College rivals to play with and against each other in a competitive yet friendly environment. It is one of the final opportunities for schools from throughout New England to watch and evaluate the talented junior college student-athletes in action for their recruitment purposes. Over 30 New England schools signed-in including: Rhode Island College, Johnson & Wales University, Salem State university, UMass-Dartmouth, American International College, and U-Mass-Lowell top name a few.
The East squad was coached by Bill Raynor head coach of the DIII Region XXI Champion: Mass Bay Community College. Mass Bay recently competed in the NJCAA DIII National Tournament where they were one of the final eight teams in the nation. The West squad was coached by CCRI's Rick Harris who this season led CCRI to its 5th New England Region Championship in the past seven seasons and 17th in the school's history. The game was well played as far as All Star and showcase games go. Both teams were tied at the half 41-41 but the pace definitely picked up in the second half with Coach Raynor's East squad outscoring Coach Harris' West squad 58-51.
Leading the way for the East was Bristol County Community Colleges 6'5" forward Victor Smith (Providence, RI/Mt Pleasant HS) who scored 17 points and added 10 rebounds. Smith was named the East squad Most Outstanding Player for the game. The West squad received a game high 22 points from Gateway Community College's Jerome Parkins (New Haven, CT) and he was named the game's Most Outstanding Player for the West squad. CCRI was well represented by All-Region selections Desmond Williams (Torrington, CT) and Bryan Yarce (Cranston, RI) as well as Isaac Medeiros (Johnston, RI). Williams displayed his typical display of talents by scoring 19 points on an assortment of midrange shots, three pointers, as well as three dunks. The "Lil General" Bryan Yarce scored five points and dished-out eight assists and added four steals and Isaac Medeiros added a game-high nine rebounds to go with six points.
According to Coach Harris: "Most importantly tonight the young men all had a good time with each bother yet played hard. The focus at this time of the year is for the student-athletes to finish their academic careers strong and put themselves in the best position possible to move on to a solid four year school. Having not practiced together all of the players from both teams competed hard and put on a nice show for the fans and coaches in attendance. Coach Raynor and myself have the same goal and that is to give all of the student-athletes the best experiences possible and help them achieve their goals of being a college graduate first, and to use basketball to get to the best four year college possible. Academics and basketball is a way for these young men to attract a wide variety of colleges and universities that would like them to represent their schools once they finish up their careers at the community colleges."
All of the CCRI sophomores have multiple opportunities to move on to four year institutions and will have some difficult but exciting personal decisions to make on which suits their needs best. One thing is for sure, if they so desire, they will be playing basketball at a four year institution next year it is just a matter of which schools they choose is best for them.
The Region XXI All-Star game wraps-up a great two year period for the CCRI sophomores as they finish their careers with a 51-17 record, two Region XXI Championships, one Northeast District Championship, and an appearance in the NJCAA DII National Championship game. They will go down in the rich CCRI basketball history as one of the best classes ever! Coach Harris added "I will always remember this group fondly. They came to practice every day eager to work, learn and happy to be around each other. All five of them: Rob Alers (Central Falls, RI), Steve Bevilacqua (Exeter, RI), Isaac Medeiros, Desmond Williams and Bryan Yarce made the coaching staff's job easy and very enjoyable. They are now on to bigger and better things!"
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.