Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: March 31, 2009

For More Information: Keith Gentry (901) 333-4114


Saluqis Finish Successful Season With Region Title, National Ranking

The 2008-09 season was one of the best among many outstanding seasons in Coach Verties Sails Jr.'s 30 years at Southwest Tennessee Community College. This year's Saluqis men's basketball team compiled a 27-3 overall record including an undefeated 13-0 record in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA). The team won the TCCAA's regular season Western Division title, won the Region VII tournament championship, finished the regular season ranked fourth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Poll, and placed eighth in the NJCAA National Tournament.

"What we accomplished this season was an exceptional feat for our team," said Sails. "Anytime you go undefeated in the conference, which we've only done one other time, is amazing. The closest game we had among teams in Tennessee was 17 points and to win the region tournament by an average margin of 29-1/2 points is unheard of. This was one outstanding season!"

In his career at Southwest, Sails has guided his teams to 20 Western Division titles, 16 TCCAA state championships, and ten Region VII championships and NJCAA national tournament appearances. His career record at Southwest stands at 664-248 for a .728 winning percentage. In 2009, Sails was named TCCAA Coach of the Year for the 13th time.

The 2008-09 Saluqis' squad featured an extremely talented sophomore class led by TCCAA Player of the Year and University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) signee Myron Strong, who was one of five double figure scorers with a 14.2 average and led the team with a .797 free throw percentage.

Southwest also received strong contributions from fellow sophomores Reginald Owens, who averaged 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds and made the All-TCCAA team, UTEP signee and All-Western Division forward Jeremy Williams, who led the team with a 15.1 scoring average, All-Western Division center DeAngelo Riley, who averaged 12.1 points and led the team with 8.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots, All-Western Division guard James Justice, who averaged 9.6 points, Region VII Tournament MVP Jeremy Rodgers, who averaged 10.8 points and led the team with a .615 field goal percentage, and point guard Josh Watson, who averaged 7.2 points and was among team leaders with 101 assists and 83 steals.

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Photo cutline: Southwest head men's basketball coach and athletic director Verties Sails Jr. showcases the trophy and plaque earned for his Saluqis winning the 2009 TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Conference Tournament.