When Scott Schumacher spearheaded the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game 16 years ago, he did so with players like Elijah Elliott in mind. Now, the Blinn College men’s basketball head coach and one of his brightest stars will participate in the prestigious showcase together.

Elliott, a sophomore guard who earned third-team NJCAA Division I All-America honors following an excellent campaign for the Buccaneers, will compete for the South All-Stars squad against the North All-Stars when the junior college showcase begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at The Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

“It’s a blessing to play in this game,” Elliott said. “I’m really excited to compete with the best players in the nation, have a good time, and most importantly, win.”

Both teams are made up of first-, second-, and third-team All-Americans from NJCAA Division I, II, and III programs who received an invite from the Association to participate. 

Schumacher will coach Elliott and the South squad alongside Cochise College head coach Jerry Carrillo. Both coaches are set to be inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday. Coaching the North team will be 2023 NJCAA Division II and III Coaches of the Year, Paul Cisek (Brookdale Community College) and Randy Casey (Milwaukee Area Technical College), respectively.

“This all-star game gives the best players in junior college men’s basketball the opportunity to compete with other great players and provides another opportunity to showcase their talents,” said Schumacher. “To be able to participate and play in it is a wonderful thing for everybody.”

Schumacher helped launch the game during the 2006-07 season while serving as president of the Association.

Elliott’s participation in the game will mark a special occasion for Schumacher, as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley commit Schumacher’s first player to be invited to participate.

“I’ve coached a lot of really good players, and I loved coaching Elijah. He came to practice every day, weights every day, individual workouts every day … he just put his nose to the grindstone and got to work,” Schumacher said. “He’s competitive; he’s a high-character young man, and Blinn College should be extremely proud to call him one of our own.”

(Pictured: Blinn College head coach Scott Schumacher talks to his team during a game against Dallas College-North Lake on Nov. 11, 2022)

Elliott averaged 16.7 points per game this past season to go with 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals. He posted eight games with 20-plus points.

Elliott also said he looks forward to being present for Schumacher’s induction Friday.

“I love playing for coach Schumacher, and I know he’s just as excited as I am to compete and enjoy this experience,” Elliott added. “He’s been around for a long time, he’s coached a lot of great players, and everything he’s done for the game deserves to be recognized.”

The 2023 Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized during halftime of the all-star game, and the Scott Schumacher Sportsmanship Award will be presented to one athlete following the conclusion of the contest.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 43 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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