Conference plays begins; Jayhawk Shoot-Out moves

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Traditionally, this week is all about the Jayhawk Shoot-Out, a premier showcase for junior college basketball. But changes came to the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference for 2009-2010.
The 2009-2010 Jayhawk Shoot-Out, which is usually the first weekend of December, is Jan. 8-10.
Jayhawk Eastern and Western Division play begins this week. That’s a break from tradition also.
KJCCC basketball teams have opened division conference play following Christmas break.
“The intent of the conference athletic directors and administrators was to save colleges money. When you play games on Jan. 2 or in that first week back, you have to bring back the players early,” said Randy Weber, Allen County Community College’s athletic director.
“Moving the Shoot-Out to January helps conference colleges not have to bear the extra expense of bring those students back so early before school starts.”
To do that, then it was necessary to schedule two conference games before Christmas break. For the Allen County Community College teams those Jayhawk Eastern Division games are this week on the road.
Allen County’s women and men travel to Overland Park Wednesday to play Johnson County Community College’s teams. The women’s game starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men’s at 7:30 p.m.
The Red Devil squads play Cowley County Community College’s teams in Arkansas City Saturday. Those games start at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Cowley County has already played both of its conference games against Highland this month. The Cowley County women are 1-1 and the Cowley County men are 2-0.
“The Shoot-Out is such a big recruiting event for the conference that we needed to make sure it still feel in the evaluation period for NCAA teams. And it does,” Weber said.
The nation’s premier junior college basketball showcase features 40 games in three days, all played on two courts under a single roof at Gilmer K. Nellis Hall on the Coffeyville Community College campus.
The 2010 edition is being hosted by CCC for the 13th year.
Twenty community colleges (all 19 members of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference plus one guest school) bring both their men’s and women’s teams together for this event. This year’s guest school is Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Miami, Okla.
Allen County’s men and women will play NEO on Jan. 8 for their first-round games. The Red Devil teams play Cloud County on Sunday for their second set of games.
The scope of the Jayhawk Shoot-Out has drawn national attention on the pages of Sports Illustrated, and attracts recruiters from as many as 200 four-year college and university programs.