By Jon Rathbun Herkimer Times Telegram

The schedule is set for the NJCAA’s Division III men’s national basketball tournament and Herkimer College is seeded third for play on its home court starting Wednesday.

Four at-large bids were announced last week along with the seeds and schedule for the 12-team tournament. The top four seeds have byes into Thursday’s quarterfinals against the winners of four first round games Wednesday.

Dallas College-North Lake is the No. 1 seed after top-ranked Brookdale Community College, the defending national champion, was beaten in its regional; New Jersey’s Brookdale claimed one of the at-large bids and enters the tournament seeded fifth.

No. 2 Northern Essex Community College from Massachusetts and No. 4 Montgomery County Community College from Pennsylvania join North Lake and Herkimer with first round byes.

Herkimer College General Oladele Oladitan attempts off-balance shot with Nahjhime Kirton(2) defending for Fulton-Montgomery Community College March 3. Both Region III tournament finalists are in the 12-team field this week for the NJCaa’s Division III national tournament in Herkimer.

Herkimer College General Oladele Oladitan attempts an off-balance shot with Nahjhime Kirton (2) defending for Fulton-Montgomery Community College March 3. Both Region III tournament finalists are in the 12-team field this week for the NJCAA’s Division III national tournament in Herkimer.
More:Herkimer wins Region III basketball championship

The quarterfinal opponent for Herkimer (27-2) Thursday at 6 p.m. will be the winner of the previous day’s game between No. 6 Minnesota North College-Rainy River (27-2) and No. 11 Joliet Junior College (17-15) from Illinois.

Herkimer missed last year’s tournament but won its second national championship only five years ago. The Generals will be playing in a national basketball tournament at home for the first time, and will be joined by the other three schools with which they have combined to win the last six national tournaments.

Seventh-ranked Fulton-County Community College (25-4), last year’s Region III champion and the runner-up to Herkimer this year, earned an at-large bid and the No. 8 seed. The Raiders play the tournament’s noon opener Wednesday against No. 9 Sandhills Community College (24-8) from North Carolina, the runner-up from last year’s tournament and 2020 champion, with the winner advancing to meet 2022 champion North Lake (26-4) in the quarterfinals.

North Lake was also the 2017 national champion.

Sandhills beat Mohawk Valley Community College 92-85 and Northampton Community College 88-78 at last year’s tournament before losing 90-82 in the championship game. Fulton-Montgomery lost its first two games last year against the College of DuPage and Butler County Community College; the Raiders beat Herkimer 105-94 in the teams’ regular season finale this year, then lost the rematch in the Mach 30 regional final 90-70.

Brookdale Community College coach Paul Cisek holds up the last of the net after making his cut following the 2023 NJCAA Division III men’s basketball championship game against Sandhills Community College in Herkimer. Cisek, who previously coached at Paul Smith’s College, SUNY-Potsdam and SUNY-Oswego was elected to the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in February. JON RATHBUN/TIMES TELEGRAM

Brookdale, a three-time champion having also won in 2013 and 2018, plays No. 12 Hostos Community College (22-9) from the Bronx in the first round. The 26-1 Jersey Blues were unbeaten prior to a two-point March 2 loss to Montgomery County in Region XIX ‘s spectator-free championship game. The winner of the game between Brookdale and Hostos plays Montgomery County (27-1) in the quarterfinals the next day; the Mustangs are 17-0 in 2024 after suffering their only loss in the final game of the fall semester against Nothampton Community College.

A Feb. 20 game between Brookdale and Montgomery County was declared a no contest.

No. 7 Prince George’s Community College (22-7) from Maryland plays No. 10 Riverland Community College (29-3), the second entry from Minnesota, for the quarterfinal spot opposite Nothern Esssex, a 30-win team for the second straight season.

Thursday play begins at 10 a.m. with a pair of consolation games ahead of the quarterfinals. There are four Friday games with consolations at noon and 2 p.m. ahead of the semifinals at 5 and 7 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday with third- and fifth-place contests earlier in the day.

Individuals to Watch

Three of last year’s tournament all-stars return as sophomores.

Darnell Askew helped Brookdale win the 2023 championship and returns averaging 18.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots. He is sixth in the nation in blocked shots.

Jamori McDougald averages 14.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists for Sandhills after playing in the championship game as a freshman.

Sandhills Community College Flyer Jordan Coleman (right) puts up a shot with Darnell Askew (24) trying to block it for Brookdale Community College during the NJCAA’s 2023 Division III men’s basketball championship game. Both teams are returning to Herkimer College for the 2024 tournament and Askew, an all-tournament pick as a freshman, is the nation’s No. 6 shot blocker for top-rated Brookdale. JON RATHBUN/TIMES TELEGRAM

Northern Essex finished fifth last year and brings back Luis Reynoso, the NJCAA’s No. 19 Division III scorer (19.5) and No. 4 Division III rebounder (13.5). Reynoso also averages 4.8 assists while shooting 51.6 percent from the field.

Prince George’s features the top scorer entering this year’s tournament, Jasir Tremble whose 23.0 average is seventh in the nation. Teammate Saveon Jackson scores 18.7 points per game.

Fulton-Montgomery also has a high scoring duo among five starters averaging in the teens. Kennyh Hardeman (19.2) and Nahjhime Kirton (18.4) were 1-2 in Region III scoring withb Hardeman No. 22 nationally; both average double-doubles with Hardeman grabbing 12.4 rebounds and Kirton 11.2, good for eighth and 16th in the nation. Freshman Schumel Shepherd is fourth in the nation in assists (6.7) while scoring 16.4 points per game.

Rounding out the tournament’s top five scorers are Rainy River’s Malik Siggers (19.0, 27th) and North Lake’s Jakob Zenon (18.9, 28th). Siggers leads the nation with an average of 3.7 steals per game, and Zenon is the nation’s second-leading free throw shooter at 87.6%.


Herkimer College General Jayson McGhee drives between Fulton-Montgomery Community College defenders during the Region III championship game. Both teams will be among 12 competing in this week’s national tournament in Herkimer. JON RATHBUN/Herkimer Times Telegram

Herkimer features balanced scoring with four players averaging in double figures, led by Oladele Oladitan at 15.7 points and 10.7 rebounds, good for No. 20 nationally. Jayson McGhee scores 14.7 points per game while Nick Boyce and Brandon Harris both average 12.4. Anthony Douglas Jr (6.9) and Jessie Kilian (3-9) complete the most common starting lineup with McGhee and Ozzy Dejesus (7.6) coming off the bench.

Boyce leads the Generals in assists (4.1), steals (3.3) and field goal shooting (48.6%) while adding 7.9 rebounds per game. Douglas shoots 82.7% from the foul line with Boyce, Harris and McGhee all over 70%.


Brookdale Community College players and coaches pose with the 2023 NJCAA Division III men’s basketball championship trophy at Herkimer College following the tournament championship game. The Jersey Blues, ranked No. 1 in the nation, are back for the 2024 tournament with an at-large bid after suffering their first loss in the Region XIX championship game. JON RATHBUN/TIMES TELEGRAM

all games at Herkimer College


No. 9 Sandhills Community College vs. No. 8 Fulton-Montgomery Community College, noon

No. 12 Hostos Community College vs. No. 5 Bookdale Community College, 2 p.m.

No. 10 Riverland Community College vs. No. 7 Prince George’s Community College, 4 p.m.

No. 11 Joliet Junior College vs. No. 6 Minnesota North College-Rainy River, 6 p.m.


Sandhills/Fulton-Montgomery loser vs. Hostos/Brookdale loser, 10 a.m.

Riverland/Prince George’s loser vs. Joliet/Rainy River loser, noon


No. 1 Dallas College-North Lake vs. Sandhills/Fulton-Montgomery winner, 2 p.m.

No. 4 Montgomery County Community College vs. Hostos/Brookdale winner, 4 p.m.

No. 3 Herkimer College vs. Joliet/Rainy River winner, 6 p.m.

No. 2 Northern Essex Community College vs. Riverland/Prince George’s winner, 8 p.m.


noon and 2 p.m.


5 and 7 p.m.


Fifth Place: previous day’s cnsolation winners, noon

Third Place: semifinal losers, 2 p.m.


Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.