It is the goal of Santa Monica College basketball coach Jesse Teplitzky that every one of his sophomore players leave with a scholarship to a four-year school. “We try for 100 percent,” he says.
In the recruiting period that followed his first season as the Corsairs’ coach, Teplitzky did even better. Not only will all six sophomores receive scholarships, but two freshmen will as well.
“Some community college coaches won’t encourage players with remaining eligibility there to move on,” said Teplitzky. “But I feel the right thing to do is whatever is best for the young man. In this case we had a couple of freshmen who I would have loved to play for SMC another year, but the time was right for them to leave.
“One is John Brown, our 6-foot-8 center. After some games last season. opposing coaches said to me, ’Oh, man, we’ll have to deal with that guy another year.’ That’s how it looked until the right opportunity for him came up to go on.”
Brown, who came to SMC from Cincinnati, will transfer to Lynn University, a Division 2 school in Boca Raton, Florida.
The other freshman who’ll transfer is Derrick Thompson, who came to SMC from Atlanta and is heading to Stillman College, a Division 2 school in Alabama.
“Being from the South, I had no intention of coming here and didn’t return Coach Teplitzky’s call right away,” Thompson said at a June 6 press conference to announce the signings. “But when we talked, I realized he had my best interests at heart and changed my mind. I’m glad I did.”
By NCAA rules, a freshman can transfer after one year under two conditions. He must have his Associate Arts degree and he can’t transfer to a Division 1 school.
Heading the list of six sophomores moving on is guard Noah Gottlieb, who made all-Western State Conference in both of his SMC seasons and departs as the Corsairs’ fifth all-time leading scorer.
As was reported in the Mirror a week ago, Gottlieb has accepted a scholarship to Chaminade University in Honolulu. “There have been a lot of fine players at SMC and to be fifth on the school’s career scoring list is a significant achievement,” said Teplitzky.
Gottlieb, who came to SMC from Venice High, had Division 1 aspirations and expressed some disappointment in not receiving solid offers from several schools that showed interest. But from all accounts he’s found a good fit.
Although Chaminade is also Division 2, it hosts the annual Maui Tournament, with at least one game to be televised by ESPN. And during that week scouts from most NBA teams are present, which will give Gottlieb the opportunity to get on their radar. Scouts from European professional teams watch those games too.
It’s likely Gottlieb will move right in as Chaminade’s point guard. “I’ve had several talks with Coach (Matt) Mahar,” said Gottlieb. “We’ve discussed the point guard being an extension of the coach and things like that.”
After news came out that Gottlieb had chosen Chaminade, he continued to receive calls and had a chance to go elsewhere during the past week.
“It was from someone who showed interest four months ago and then stopped calling,” said Gottlieb. “I told that coach I had committed to Chaminade.” And now he has signed, so it’s official.
Forward Arthur Braswell, who led the Western State Conference in rebounding, has signed with New York Tech, a Division 2 school on Long Island. At 6-foot-4 and a true power forward, Braswell is a couple of inches shorter than what Division 1 coaches like. But the youngster from Westchester High earns high marks for character. “He was very popular on campus,” said Teplitzky. “He made the most of his time here.”
Forward Dennis Twumasi, who came to SMC from Sweden, is going to Division 3 Whittier College.
Bright and articulate, he could do well there after playing significant minutes for the Corsairs.
Guard Chris Blackwood has chosen Cal State East Bay (formerly Hayward). However, Blackwood was injured in a recent automobile accident and it isn’t known if he’ll be able to play next season.
Two other Corsair sophomores are assured of having scholarships but are still sorting through offers.
Forwards Carl Kindborg and Keivan Cross have yet to make their selections. Kindborg made all-tournament at one Corsair event, and Cross was a two-year starter and co-captain.