By RENALDO DORSETT
THEY achieved major success in Florida as teammates at the high school level, now a pair of Bahamian basketball players look to continue that trend as they take different paths in junior college.
Nashad Mackey and Jaron Cornish are set to suit up for different teams for the first time in about three years when the National Junior College Athletics Association basketball season tips off this fall.
Both remain in-state following their high school careers at Champagnat Catholic School Lions in Hialeah, Florida. Mackey joins the Daytona State Falcons while Cornish joins the Broward College Seahawks.
Mackey, the 6’6” swingman, is a member of a five-man freshman class for the Falcons, who compete in the Mid-Florida Conference of the Florida State College Activities Association, a body of the NJCAA Region 8.
The Falcons are coming off a 21-8 season where they captured the Mid-Florida Conference Championship title. They suffered a loss in the opening round of the FCSAA Regional Tournament. Cornish, 6’0” combo guard, is one of seven incoming freshmen for the Seahawks who compete in the Southern Conference of the Florida State College Activities Association, NJCAA Region 8.
Broward finished 22-8 last year and was ranked as high as 3rd in the NJCAA Region 8.
Mackey and Cornish were two on the long list of Bahamian prep basketball players to attend Champagnat Catholic. They were both named to the Miami Herald’s All-Dade first-team for 4A-2A schools in Dade County, Florida. They were also named to the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches (FABC) and Source Hoops 2014-2015 Boys Class 2A All-State Teams.
Cornish was named to the second team while Mackey was named to the third team. Cornish averaged 17.5 points, six assists and five rebounds per game while Mackey posted averages of 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game.
The Lions finished the season at 26-2 and lost in the Regional Semi-finals of the Florida High School Boys FHSAA basketball tournament. They also won several in-season tournaments, including the Adidas Holiday Slam and the A-Rod Classic.
Cornish is a native of Abaco and rose to national prominence with head coach Wayne Adderley’s Agape teams which reached a Hugh Campbell Final Four for the first time in school history in 2013.
Mackey was a former standout for the CR Walker Knights and Trevor Grant.
“The transition to switch countries isn’t so difficult when you know what you want to become in life,” Mackey said. “I came to America at a very young age. I was able to view and observe those ahead of me. That allowed me to increase my efforts in the classroom and put in the extra work even when nobody is watching.”