After advancing through the nonconference schedule relatively unscathed, the Chipola College Indians have struggled in the Florida College System Athletic Association's Panhandle Conference play. The Indians, 18-5 overall, are 2-4 in the tough Panhandle Conference. Chipola is currently ranked 17th in the NJCAA Division I national poll and sixth in the FCSAA coaches' poll.
Chipola is loaded with talent and has several Division I prospects. The Indians are particularly strong in the frontcourt starting with 6'11 freshman forward Joseph Uchebo and sophomore forward Jason Carter. The versatile 6'9, 235-pound Carter, who transferred from the University of Alabama, is a physical post player with an ability to step beyond the three-point line on occasion while Uchebo is a skilled post player.
6'7, 240 pound freshman Earl Watson, 6'6 sophomore Tevin Baskin, 6'8 freshman Kruize Pinkins and 6'5 freshman guard/forward Jerel Scott round out the frontcourt rotation. Baskin, who is drawing interest from Bradley University, transferred from Quinnipiac while Watson has already committed to play for Wichita State in 2013-14. However, Pinkins, who scored 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting against Northwest Florida St. on January 10, and Uchebo might be the most intriguing of the prospects.
The Indians have struggled since losing Carter and Uchebo to knee injuries during their opening Panhandle Conference victory over Tallahassee CC (53-50) on January 7. Carter will miss the rest of the season while Uchebo is out indefinitely with a knee contusion. Since the injuries, Chipola has lost to FCSAA number one -ranked Northwest Florida State twice (63-55, 69-58), second-ranked Pensacola St. (76-68 OT) and sixth-ranked Gulf Coast CC (63-60). The Indians do have a 58-43 victory over Tallahassee CC.
Chipola used a balanced attack and suffocating half-court defense in their 58-43 victory over Tallahassee CC on January 25. Baskin led the way with 12 points while freshman Mo Lewis chipped in with 10 points and 7 rebounds. Watson, who was 5-of-5 from the floor, added 10 points while Knight and Thomas contributed 9 and 8 points respectively. The victory over Tallahassee snapped the Indians' three-game losing streak.
Chipola's defense was outstanding as they held Tallahassee to just 29% shooting from the field including 23.8% from beyond the arc (5-of-21). The Indians, who permitted the Eagles just two second chance points, outrebounded Tallahassee 36-29.
The Indians lost to Northwest Florida St. 63-55 in their last contest on January 28.
Other team news :
- Chipola is located in Mariana, Fla.
- Uchebo, who is from Enugu, Nigeria, de-committed from North Carolina State prior to enrolling at Chipola.
- Carter has scholarship offers from LSU, Missouri and Texas Tech.
- Scott was recruited by several by several Division I programs out of Worchester Academy.
Daniel Benjamin coached small college basketball for two years.