By RENALDO DORSETT
A SEAMLESS transition to the JuCo game, Nashad Mackey has excelled in his freshman season as he helps lead his programme to a national ranking.
In the latest edition of the National Junior College Athletics Association Division I poll, Mackey and his Dayton State College Falcons are ranked at No.15 with a 19-3 record overall, 2-0 in the Mid-Florida Conference.
Mackey, the 6’6” swingman, is averaging 10 points and 10.9 rebounds per game while shooting 47 per cent from the field. He has posted eight double doubles on the season with several standout performances, including 17 points and 20 rebounds in a 77-73 win over Onodaga, 18 points and 10 rebounds in a 78-52 win over Polk State and 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 72-55 victory over Central Florida.
In Saturday’s 94-54 blowout win over Red Devil Academy, Mackey played just 15 minutes and finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
The Falcons return to action Wednesday night on the road against Florida State Jacksonville.
Mackey is a member of a five-man freshman class for the Falcons who successfully retooled after 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.
Mackey was a former standout for the CR Walker Knights and head coach Trevor Grant. He relocated to the US and the Champagnat Catholic School Lions programme in Hialeah, Florida, along with fellow Bahamians Jaron Cornish and Oswald Parker.
Mackey was named to the Miami Herald’s All-Dade first-team for 4A-2A schools in Dade County, Florida, and also named to the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches (FABC) and Source Hoops 2014-2015 Boys Class 2A All-State Teams.
He 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.
“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.”