The players, head coach Dave Turco, assistant coach Bill Kilduff and athletic director Derrick Johnson were recognized for finishing with a 27-7 record, including a 68-67 victory over Union County College in the Region XIX Championship Game. That victory earned the Blue Colts a berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III National Tournament in Rochester, Minn.
Interim College President Mark McCormick welcomed the team at the meeting. In particular, he recognized the achievements of Blue Colts’ leading scorer Letrell West and coach Dave Turco.
He asked West to stand up and then said, “Letrell, you were MVP of the regional (tournament). Congratulations on that honor as well. And, Coach Turco was honored as best coach. So, we have great coaches and a great team, great athletic staff and great supporting trustees.”
Trustee Kyle Anderson, a former Blue Colt, said he was “really proud” of the team.
“It’s been a pleasure following you all season long,” Anderson said. “Over the summer, I spoke to Mr. (Mark) Finkelstein about where the school was at. We had the president retire, we had no athletic director, we had no head coach. Here we are now and having a magical season like we just had (was incredible).”
Johnson also praised Turco and Kilduff, who were hired just several weeks before the start of the basketball season.
“This is a special year because to do this and to have that short of a time to have the team together and also for that team to accept the philosophy of that coach, to buy into the program and not just buy in athletically but also academically as well, it’s a major accomplishment,” Johnson said.
Johnson also pointed out that the team started out with about 15 players, but injuries decimated the roster.
“That’s a hard thing to do on the college level, to continue that success with eight to nine players,” he said. “If we count injuries that most of these guys have, we’re probably down to five, five full bodies.”
The team is scheduled to be honored at the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Thursday night.