2011 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout hosted by Mesa Community College - December 28 - 30, 2011
The 2011 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout hosted by Mesa Community College is a three day junior college men's basketball tournament hosted by Coach Sam Ballard and the Mesa Thunderbirds men's basketball program. The tournament takes place Wednesday through Friday, December 28-30, 2011 on the campus of Mesa Community College in the confines of Theo Heap Gymnasium. All games will take place at 2, 4, 6, and 8 pm each day.
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The eight teams participating in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout hosted by Mesa Community College include:
- The Lon Morris (Texas) Bearcats - Head Coach Dale Dotson brings his team from Jacksonville, Texas to the Valley of the Sun with nearly 20 years at the helm. Under Coach Dotson's tutelage, the Bearcats have won three Region Championships.
- The Lake Land (Illinois) Lakers - Head Coach Cedric Brown brings his team loaded with enough talent for an entire conference let alone one team. The Lakers are pre-season #14 in the nation in the NJCAA polls and will be a tough out in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout. The Lakers were the 2010-11 Region XXIV Runner-Ups and will no doubt be gunning for the Fiesta Bowl Shootout title.
- The Williston State (North Dakota) Tetons - Head Coach Hunter Berg brings his Tetons into the desert with hopes of taking home a unique trophy. The 2010-11 Tetons lost their District Championship game by three points and look to build on yet another successful season.
- The Salt Lake CC (Utah) Bruins - Head Coach Norm Parrish has moved on to the University of Utah and the director of basketball operations, but new head coach Todd Phillips has been as assistant with the team for the past three seasons. Last year's Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout Champions, the Bruins are no stranger to the NJCAA Top 20 poll and will assuredly be making their way up the ladder again in 2011-12 after falling in their District Championship game in 2010-11 to the College of Southern Idaho.
- The Arizona Western Matadors - Head Coach Charles Harral has some big shoes to fill as Kelly Green leaves the bench for NCAA DII Southeastern Oklahoma State. Harral is no novice in the coaching ranks and once coached under Bobby Knight at Texas Tech and Billy Gillespie at UTEP. The Matadors are always a powerhouse and 2011-12 should be no different. After a 23-9 mark and a 2nd-place finish in the ACCAC, AZW will be a favorite to take home the 2011 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout trophy as well.
- The Monroe (New York) Mustangs - Head Coach Jeff Brustad can feel confident after a 33-5 finish in 2010-11 that left them with a #19 national ranking. The Mustangs are a legitimate NJCAA powerhouse and finished third in the nation at the national tournament in 2010-11. The Mustangs will be a severe threat to hoisting the trophy at the 2011 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout.
- The Three Rivers (Missouri) Raiders - Head Coach Gene Bess has all but written the book on junior college men's basketball coaching. Coach Bess has two national titles (1979/1992) in his 40-year tenure at Three RIvers. The all-time winningest coach in JUCO history will see some stiff competition in this year's Fiesta Bowl Shootout field.
- The Mesa Thunderbirds - Head Coach Sam Ballard would like nothing more than to win his own tournament. His vision of creating the nation's most elite group of teams to participate in a tournament is a reality. In his fourth year, Coach Ballard already has a Region I Championship under his belt and his teams have qualified for the playoffs each of his three seasons. The T'Birds will have their work cut out for them if the 2011 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout trophy is to remain in the Theo Heap Gym hallway trophycase.