Pre-season poll ranks Panola basketball #2

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The 2016-2017 Panola College Men’s Basketball Team.

A pre-season poll released Monday, Oct. 17, at the Region XIV Media Day revealed that the Panola College Men’s Team is ranked second in the region.

“This year Head Coach Grant McMillan and the Panola Ponies have earned the respect from around the league,” said Don Clinton, Panola College Athletic Director. “Last year, Coach McMillan, in his first year at Panola, took a program that had finished last in the Region XIV Athletic Conference for three years in a row to a second place finish in the region tournament.”

With basketball season right around the corner, the Panola Ponies are coming off the first 24-win season in school history under Coach McMillan.

The Ponies return four key players to this year’s roster, including Tope Arikawe, Conyers, Nigeria; Chan Williams-Bey, Hartford, Conn.; Tyonte Robertson, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Devyn Wilson, Brooklyn, N.Y.. Coach McMillan has added 10 newcomers to the roster: Keondre “KJ” Byers, Charlotte, N.C.; Keith “KJ” Hayes, Little Rock, Ark.; Marlon Taylor, III, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.; Eric McGill, Memphis, Tenn.; Tyrone, “TJ” Killings, Bridgeport, Conn.; Larry Robinson, III, Bossier City, La.; Pernell Adgei, Dumfries, Va.; Bryson Lockley, Houston; Christian Hammet, Mt. Enterprise; and Matthew Bellamy, Miami, Fla.

In the men’s East Zone division, TVCC received 12 first-place votes with Panola garnering two. TVCC collected 95 points, the Ponies – 77 points, Kilgore – 62, Navarro – 59, Tyler – 54, Paris – 30 and Bossier Parish – 15.

San Jacinto was the top pic in the South Zone, with 86 points, followed by Lee College – 85, Angelina – 57, Lamar State-Port Arthur – 55, Blinn – 49, Jacksonville – 44, and Coastal Bend – 17.