Contact: Cherie Yurco;
For immediate release — May 12, 2022
(DALLAS) — It’s been an exciting season for Dallas College men’s basketball. The North Lake Blazers won the NJCAA Division III Championship, while the Eastfield Harvester Bees were in the Final Four for the tournament and won the Team Sportsmanship Award. Freshman guard Gregory Crawford (North Lake Blazer) was named tournament MVP and 2021-2022 NJCAA Division III National Player of the Year, while Blazer coach Tim McGraw was honored as Coach of the Year.
“What stands out to me with this team is the chemistry, culture, attitude and respect the kids have for the coaching staff, each other and the school,” said North Lake Athletic Director Greg Sommers, who also watched North Lake win the 2017 championship. “Both years, it wasn’t just a talented basketball team, it was a good group of young men — respectfully, academically.”
Two players from Dallas College, Crawford and Eastfield freshman guard Spencer Simes, were selected as First Team All-Americans and will play in the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 14.
“We are extremely proud of Gregory and Spencer for being invited to this year’s DIII Men’s Basketball All-Star Game, as well as the accomplishments of both our North Lake and Eastfield men’s basketball teams!” said Sadiaa Jones, Dallas College athletic director. “The honor is well deserved, and just another example of what great young men and women we have here in Dallas College athletics! We wish them both the best of luck, and we will be watching and cheering them on!”
In addition to Crawford and Simes, Richland Thunderduck sophomore guard David Favorite was selected for the Third Team All-Americans, while Blazer sophomore guard Braeson Barrs-Richardson and Mountain View Lion freshman guard Joshua Sasser are Honorable Mention All-Americans.
Crawford, who will be transferring to Alcorn State University in Mississippi in the fall, said he learned “how to work harder, pay attention to detail and play to win” during his time at North Lake. The kinesiology major said he jumped for joy when he found out he had been selected as Division III National Player of the Year.
“He plays with a high energy level,” said coach McGraw. “He could have stayed another year, but he’s so far ahead academically; he’s already completed his associate degree. The university is going to benefit from his athleticism, and he has so much more room for continued improvement. That’s exciting to see.”
A business management major, Simes will be transferring to a four-year school next year and plans to minor in broadcasting and radio. “Everything happens for a reason, and this was a great step in my life,” Simes said of his time at Eastfield. “There were a lot of new experiences that I learned and grew from, both on and off the court.”
“He puts up great numbers,” said Harvester coach Anthony Fletcher. “He led us to the Final Four. He’s ready for the next level and will hopefully sign with a Division I or II school before too long.”
The North Lake Blazers won the NJCAA Division III Championship.
This is the fourth time McGraw has led the Blazers to a NJCAA DIII Championship. While in Las Vegas, McGraw will be inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was selected for the honor in 2021, but the ceremony was postponed due to COVID restrictions. McGraw is also the NJCAA Division III Coach of the Year, an honor he also received in 2006, 2008 and 2017, when the Blazers took the championship title.
This season could be considered the pinnacle of his 25-year career coaching the Blazers. In a story that goes full circle, he will be leaving this summer to become special assistant to new Louisiana Tech head men’s basketball coach Talvin Hester. Longtime friends, McGraw was a mentor to Hester when he began his career as a volunteer assistant coach under McGraw.
Probably no one will miss McGraw’s presence at North Lake more than Athletic Director Greg Sommers. “He has a passion for teaching and serving — a true servant leader,” said Sommers. “He maintains such a high energy level, and I think that’s one of the first things you notice about him. And being with him day in and day out, as part of the coaching staff or a player, you just see the humility and the integrity.”
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