WHAT A RIDE!
Sullivan’s Run Ends with Fourth Place National Finish
by Win Hadley
LOCH SHELDRAKE, April 2022—The SUNY Sullivan Generals men’s basketball team might not have ended the 2021-22 season quite the way they would have liked to, but no one can deny it was a successful campaign nonetheless.
The third-ranked Generals’ bid for a fifth national championship—and first as a Division II school—ended in the semi-finals of the NJCAA Championships in Danville, Illinois late last month when they dropped an 85-78 decision to second ranked Davidson-Davie Community College from North Carolina.
The Generals then lost the consolation game to defending national champion Des Moines Area Community College 86-78 to finish fourth. South Suburban College of South Holland, Illinois defeated Davidson-Davie in the championship contest.
Sullivan had previously beaten Dakota County Technical College 75-71 and Cecil College 90-79 to reach the semi-finals. Coach Brent Wilson’s Generals finished the season with an impressive 28-5 record.
“I don’t think I can adequately state what an accomplishment this was for our program,” Wilson said last week.” For us to come off a school year with zero on-campus classes, practices or games, and finish fourth in the country is a tremendous accomplishment. Every other institution at the National Tournament had a season last year. Our kids were home, taking online classes without the same ability to work on their athletic craft. However, once they returned to campus in August they bought in and worked extremely hard.”
In their four years at the Division II level after years as a Division III school, The Generals boast an enviable record that includes three Mid-Hudson Conference Championships, three Region XV Championships, and two District Championships, plus two National Tournament appearances. One of those tournaments—in 2020– was cancelled due to Covid-19, the second—this year—resulted in the fourth place finish.
In the semi-final loss to Davidson-Davie, Kareem Welch led the way for the Generals, scoring a game high 28 points, while also pulling down eight rebounds. Jalen Reneau contributed 23 points and Sam DeSouza chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds.
In the consolation game, Welch again led the way, scoring a game-high 32 points with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Reneau scored 17 points and Sam DeSouza 14.
Welch, a sophomore guard who was the Region XV men’s Player of the Year, led the team in scoring for the year, with a 21.8 points per game average. He also averaged 4.9 assists per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest.
Jalen Reneau, another sophomore guard, averaged 14.6 points per game on the season, while freshman Jay Alvarez contributed 14.4 and forward Jarell White, also a freshman, scored at a 14.2 clip. Sophomore forward Sam DeSouza scored 10.3 points per game. White led the team with 8.5 rebounds per game.
The Generals will be losing the core of this very successful team, as Wilson says five of his sophomores are being recruited by four-year schools. It is part of the coaching staff’s job, he noted, to help the players with that process.
“Our staff now has two very important jobs,” he said. “Help move our sophomores to the four-year level, but also recruit new student-athletes to SUNY Sullivan. Both jobs are equally important, and very much related. We will be having students in to visit all spring to take advantage of them meeting the current players in our program.”