We are now well in full swing for the 2023-2024 junior college basketball season in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) and several college programs in the conference have risen to the top of the standings and been strong in league play thus far this season.
Eastern Arizona (12-4, 5-0) continues to lead the Division-I standings in the ACCAC with an undefeated record in conference play. Eastern is loaded with talent from top to bottom, and will tough to beat all season. 6-foot-7 sophomore Raysean Seamster is the conference's top overall prospect, and he is having a strong season - averaging 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per/contest, while shooting 53.8% from the field. 6-foot-2 freshman guard TJ Warren has emerged as one of the top overall freshman prospects in the conference - averaging 15.3 points and 4 rebounds per/game, and earning Player of the Week honors a couple times this season. Head Coach Cameron Turner and his staff have built an excellent program now at Eastern Arizona, since recently taking over the men's basketball program at the school.
Arizona Western (12-5, 5-2) looks to be the program in the hunt, currently in second place and looking strong. Arizona Western is also very talented this season and has been led by the strong play of talented 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Alexis Marmolejos who is having a terrific sophomore season. Marmolejos currently ranks as the #2 overall scorer in the ACCAC - pouring in 24.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists, while shooting 55.6% from the field. Arizona Western will give Eastern Arizona all they can handle for the remainder for the junior college season, as Head Coach Kyle Isaacs and his strong staff always come up big late in the season.
Chandler Gilbert-Junior College (12-1, 5-1) and Pima Junior College (13-1, 5-1) remain at the top of the Division-II standings in the conference, and are in a dog fight for the top of the conference standings. Chandler-Gilbert defeated Pima in an earlier season contest this season at home, 79-69. Chandler-Gilbert Head Coach Steve Silsby has one of his best teams in recent memory this season, and they are led by the overall play of 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Andre Harris. Harris is averaging 18.3 points and 7 rebounds this season. The former Duquesne transfer has raised some eyebrows with his play this season, and looks to be a nice recruiting target for the right college fit this spring. Chandler-Gilbert is focused this season, and playing good team basketball, which will suit them nicely down the stretch.
Pima Junior College Head Coach Brian Peabody and his staff have a strong chance to win this year's Division-II title, and it should come down to the Aztecs and Chandler-Gilbert, although Scottsdale Junior College will have something to say about that down the stretch for sure. Pima has been strong this season in their play and are a very talented team that is getting excellent support this season from many of their players, but have certainly been led by the overall play of 6-foot-6, 200-pound sophomore wing Dillan Baker and 6-foot-7, 195-pound sophomore forward Jaylen Alexander. Baker and Alexander have been formidable this season, and are two of my personal favorite 2024 juco prospects in the West. Baker is a bigger, skilled wing prospect with a nice shooting stroke and very deceiving athleticism, while Alexander is a versatile prospect that can score inside and out. Baker is among the ACCAC's statistical leaders - averaging 19.7 points per/game and shooting 50.8% from the field and 43.4% from three-point distance. Alexander is averaging 16.6 points and 6.1 rebounds - shooting an amazing 66.9% from the field. These two prospects can immediately help a college program next fall.
Here are some recent highlights for the ACCAC Players of the Week for week 7 and 8 in the conference ...
Jalen Barbee – Cochise – Barbee helped Cochise to a pair of wins over rival Arizona Western recently, scoring 48 points in two games. The sophomore started the week with a 34-point performance in a 91-83 win over Arizona Western, hitting seven three-pointers. Barbee ended the week with 14 points in a come from behind win over Arizona Western.
Andre Harris –Chandler-Gilbert – Harris (pictured) scored 55 points in three games - leading the Coyotes to a perfect week. The sophomore scored 18 points in the first game of the week to help the Coyotes to a 79-69 win over Pima, before scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in an 83-80 win over Scottsdale. Harris ended the week by scoring 11 points in a win over visiting Williston State.
Diego Sharp – Cochise – Sharp scored 43 points in three wins for Cochise. The sophomore from Albuquerque started the week with an 11-point performance in an 80-76 loss to Snow College, before scoring 22 points, the second most points scored this season, in an 86-83 win over McLennan. Sharp ended the trip to Tucson with 10 points in a loss to Salt Lake.
Dillan Baker – Pima – Baker earned his second ACCAC D-II Men’s Basketball Player of the Week award, after scoring a total of 57 points in three wins over NJCAA D-I opponents. Baker opened the week by scoring 14 points in 17 minutes in a win over Bismarck State, and then pouring in 26 points on 8-for-16 shooting in a win over #6 ranked Snow College, 83-79. The sophomore then scored 17 points in an 83-80 win over McLennan to finish the week.