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PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT: State College of Florida

By HoopMIA , 08/21/20, 1:00PM EDT


Two years ago State College of Florida hired Tom Parks to lead the Men's Basketball Program. Parks has had a history of success at the junior college level at multiple spots including a stint at Eastern Florida. This past season Coach Parks led his program to a 21-12 mark in an ultra competitive Region 8. This week our staff had the opportunity to catch up with Coach Parks to learn about his program. 


2019-2020 State College of Florida signees. 

D’Moi Hodge – Cleveland State Univ.
Isiah Dasher – Univ. of Portland
Remy Robert II – Wichita State
JP Frederick – Northwood Univ (D2)
Max Bell Ramos – Lane University (D2)
Christnoff Scarborough – Holy Names Univ. (D2)
A list of newcomers and returners.
Calvin McCutcheon (RS SO)
Jordan Clark (SO)
Michael Gavin (SO)
Marshall Kearing (SO)
Sam Grayson (SO)
Raequan Miller (RS FR)
Christian Nieto (RS FR)
James Weathers (Believe Prep)
Decorrian Kelly (Tennessee Prep)
Joe Stubbs (Santa Fe Catholic)
Javon Bell (Santa Fe Catholic)
Luke Lecroy (Lakewood Ranch HS)
Michael Hatcher (Palmetto HS)
Khaliyl Davis (Woodrow Wilson HS – VA)
Kwo Agwa (Edge Prep – Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
What are your expectations for State College of Florida  this coming year?

I think there’s a difference between our expectations and our goals. Our expectations are to compete every single day: practice, games, film, etc. We want to compete to get better in everything we do. We want to be the hardest playing team in the country. In terms of goals, our goal is to win a Southern Conference title. For the last two years, we have been very competitive in the Suncoast by winning the conference tournament to advance to the state tournament. In addition, we would like to put ourselves in a position to be in contention for an at-large bid for the national tournament. This is never easy coming out of Florida, but we are excited about our team this year. We have added a lot of length and athleticism to our roster, while returning two all-conference players.
How does the conference re-alignment effect the up coming season? 

 I think the conference re-alignment was needed. This will help with travel for a lot of schools, and also, each conference definitely got stronger. For us, we will still have to battle with FSW three times each year, but we also add the entire Southern Conference. Every team in that original conference has been extremely successful over the last decade, both at the state level and national level. In Florida, there’s never an “easy” game. In addition, the conference re-alignment will be a good thing because now there are at-large bids to the state tournament. Therefore, in a “normal” year, coaches will be able to schedule games that help build a resume. It will encourage Florida to play a challenging non-conference schedule.

How do you feel about NJCAA decision to move basketball to a spring session?

It was definitely the right decision. There are so many challenges with the current pandemic. Everyone has plans and protocols in place, but it’s a lot different when you actually have student-athletes on campus. It would have been too difficult to start on a normal timeline. This year is going to be about education and flexibility. My biggest goal is to have my team here for the entire year, the next goal is for us to be able to compete for championships.

What players will you miss coaching the most from latest season? Who are you most excited to coach next year?
To be honest, this is a hard question to answer because my sophomores from last year are extremely special to me. They all signed up to play for me, or they decided to stay once I was hired. I’ve got the utmost respect and appreciation for this group who believed in our institution and myself to lead them. This will forever be a special group, because they put faith in me as a head coach. Check back with me in January when we are evaluating our weaknesses, and I’ll tell you which player I want back… haha. As far as which players I’m most excited about, this is another tough one. There are so many unknowns. In August, every juco team in the country believes they have 10 Division 1 players and are the best team in the country. I do believe Marshall Kearing is a top 5 player in the country. He led the state in block shots, he can do everything offensively regardless of position, and he’s long and athletic. Jordan Clark was a double digit scorer on a team with elite scoring guards (D’Moi Hodge -1408 career points and Isiah Dasher – 994 career points). In addition, we have some hungry sophomores excited for a bigger role in Michael Gavin, Sam Grayson and Calvin McCutcheon. Not to mention, we LOVE our recruiting class. Honestly, I should stop naming players because I’m excited about each and every one.
What changes do you expect to see in all of college basketball this coming season due to COVID-19?(Non-NJCAA how it effects 4-year schools recruiting calendar)
Man, I’m thankful I’m not in the administrative role for athletics. So many tough decisions are having to be made. The recruiting is a difficult thing for most institutions, but I think it’s important for schools to be very proactive. We do not expect schools to be on the road recruiting and we do not expect our guys to be able to take official visits. However, with all the technology through zoom and video streaming, we just need to work harder at the whole recruiting process. Success at our level means graduating and moving on to a 4-year school. There’s going to be an even larger amount of young people competing for the same number of scholarships. It’s important to have multiple platforms for our guys to get recruited. Besides recruiting, basketball will look different. There’s so many precautions that need to be taken, and because of it, things are a little different, but we have so many lives to protect and it’s our obligation to stop the spread of this virus.
Will you be open to playing more geographically located prep schools this year?
It’s very difficult to play preps this year, and to be honest, every year. NJCAA is getting better and better about at-large bid process. There’s so many good junior college teams, especially in Florida, that it’s hard for us to play preps. I have a lot of great friends that coach at prep schools, and I have a ton of respect for them, but from an at-large standpoint it becomes very difficult. In addition, our state now has at-large bids to the state tournament. Resume matters more than anything in these circumstances, and while there are some very good prep schools, they all are considered the same in terms of strength of schedule.
How does the new law in the state of Florida allowing college athletes to accept endorsements effect the junior college student athlete?
I’m really excited about this. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, but I believe it will be good for the student-athlete. As we know, so many times our players have NOTHING, and if there’s a mutual relationship with somebody that allows them to accept endorsements to better their lives, it’s a win-win. I think that this will also help portray a positive light on junior college in general.
Who would be an your all time-starting 5?  
Ahmed Ali (SR at University of Portland)
Patrick Savoy Jr (Florida State Alum)
D’Moi Hodge (JR at Cleveland State)
Pablo Rivas (NC Central Alum)
Marshall Kearing (SO at State College of Florida)
Yes, Marshall is the best forward I have every coached.