SCC basketball’s Jesiah West has been a key player for the team over the past 2 years

Southeastern Community College men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Watkins has said on more than one occasion that he would take 10 players like Jesiah West to his team on any day.

Few coaches would disagree with Watkins’ assessment of the 6-foot-5 sophomore forward from Elizabeth, New Jersey.

West could do anything on the basketball court for SCC, and more often than not he did. Whether it was scoring, rebounding, acting as a facilitator, playing tenacious defense or diving to the ground after loose balls, West was ready to do whatever his team needed him to.

West became the team leader this season, helping the Blackhawks go 24-5 and a berth in the Region XI Championship Game before falling to Indian Hills.

West earned first-team All-Region XI honors last month for his efforts.

This week, West earned an even bigger honor when he was named to the NJCAA Division I Third Team All-American.

Jesiah West

“I’m definitely proud and happy to have made All-American. But I still have a lot of work to do. I definitely should have made the first team,” West said. “I came in the summer and spoke to (Watkins) and told him I wanted to be a team leader this year. That was my role. I want to be a dog, do all the little things . You really can’t describe me. I do anything for my team, anything to help us win. I’m the kind of person you don’t find every day in basketball.”

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West has achieved impressive numbers in his two seasons at CSC. As a freshman, West averaged 11 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and shot 53.4 percent from the floor. He was second in the Region XI in blocks, third in rebounds, fifth in steals, seventh in assists and 12th in scoring.

Last season, West averaged 13.5 points and 9.3 rebounds, delivered 59 assists, had 44 steals and blocked 38 shots. He shot 57.8% from the field. He led the region XI in rebounds, steals and blocks, was second in points and seventh in assists.

SCC's Jesiah West goes up for a block against Braxton Bayless (4) of Indian Hills in the Region Championship XI on Saturday February 26, 2022 in Ottumwa.

“I had a wonderful time here at CSC. I loved everything about basketball and campus and loved getting to know people in the community, meeting fans,” West said. “My game has improved tremendously in my two years here. I really have to thank coaches Justin Tabor and Trent Wolf. They worked with me a lot over the summer and gave me extra practice during the season. They really believed in me as a player.”

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West doesn’t know where he will transfer to complete his final two years of basketball, but he plans to pursue a career in nursing.

Southeastern Community College's Jesiah West (3) dives the ball during their home opener against Iowa Central Community College on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at CSC's Loren Walker Arena.

Wherever he goes, he’ll take his tenacious, tenacious approach to everything he does in life.

I’ve had many, many offers, but I’m still picking a four-year school,” West said. “I think (toughness) is a Jersey thing. Growing up, I’ve seen people get away with it and that’s what I want to do. You are playing with a chip on your shoulder. I think kids in Jersey and New York all play with a chip on their shoulder. You just learn to go out and play your game. That’s what I do.”

Matt Levins is a sports reporter for the USA TODAY Network in Burlington, Iowa, which has covered local sports for 31 years. Contact him at [email protected]

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