Awards Keep Piling Up For Men’s Basketball

The Minneapolis Community and Technical College men’s basketball program received two honors in March: star sophomore Cortez Wallace was named a First Team All-American and head coach Jay Pivec was named NJCAA Division III Coach of the Year.

Wallace, a 6’6" forward from Minneapolis, started all but two games this season for the Mavericks. He led the team from the free-throw line, scoring 131 points from the charity stripe. He scored 489 points for the Mavs this season, tied for second on the team, while scoring the most points per time on the court.

Wallace is the eighth MCTC First Team All-American in program history, joining former NCAA Division I players Mike Kinsella, Andy Hannan and Jerry Holman. Kinsella went to Marquette, Hannan went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, while Holman went to the University of Minnesota. Three others went to Division II schools. Wallace has not specified his future plans but is reportedly considering Division II Concordia University, St. Paul. MCTC holds the current record for number of first team All-Americans, across all divisions in the NJCAA.

As a team, the Mavs shot 53 percent from the field, while holding their opponents to just 37.4 percent. The Mavericks also worked better as team than their opponents, racking up 788 assists on the year, while holding their opponents to just 441.

In addition to Wallace, MCTC had great performances from Peter and Kenny Olafeso, Cameron Hodges and Sean Mayberry. The team has attracted several NCAA Division I and Division II scouts, including University of Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, who attended at least one Mavs home game.

Of the current Mavericks squad, only Hodges has gone public with his intent to play after MCTC: signing a National Letter of Intent at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In a telephone interview, Pivec told City College News that Sean Mayberry had committed to the University of Minnesota, Duluth: a Division II program. Pivec also said that Cortez Wallace has made two of five official college visits to Division II colleges and expects a final decision in mid-May. The NCAA’s official contact period for recruitment ends May 19 and a decision could come soon thereafter.

Pivec — in his 19th season as head coach — led the team to a 33-2 record and the Division III runner-up trophy. The Mavericks also won the Minnesota College Athletic Conference title and the Region 13 title. He coached the Mavs to a perfect 20-0 home record, including a 5-0 home playoff run. "It’s an honor," Pivec said. "I’m humbled by it. We’ve had such great teams over the years. … A lot of the credit goes to the teams we’ve had." Pivec also acknowledges the work done by assistant coach Ron Gates, say he is as "much a part of this award as I am." The Mavs lost just once during the regular season, falling 74-71 to Division I North Dakota State College of Science. The team was outscored by just four points between the loss to NDSCS and the title-match loss to Richland College (Tex.). The Mavs fell to Richland 58-57. In addition to being named national Coach of the Year, Pivec was inducted into the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2002, while earning MCAC Coach of the Year eight times (93, 95, 01, 03, 05, 06, 07 and 09). Pivec also expects a strong recruiting class next season in addition to the nine players returning to the squad. "We’ve created a nice niche," Pivec said of the program, "with the college being as strong as it and the basketball program being strong as well."

MCTC All-Americans:

  • Rodney Anderson 1992
  • Jerry Holman 2001
  • Dusty Decker 2002
  • Andy Hannan 2003
  • Mike Kinsella 2004
  • Paris Kyles 2005
  • Bobby Harris 2006
  • Cortez Wallace 2009