Gator News

GRC Men’s Basketball sweep the NWAC, winning Conference Championship, Coach of the Year and Player of the Year

By Philip Denman, April 9, 2024

March Madness continued into April for Green River College as Men’s Basketball Coach Godfrey Drake was named Northwest Athletic Conference’s Basketball Coach of the Year and guard Jaiden Feroah was selected as Baden Basketball Player of the Year. 

Jaiden Feroah Player of the YearFeroah led the Gators to their first-ever NWAC Men's Basketball title this season and second-ever conference title, with the only other championship coming in 1969 while members of the Washington Athletic Association of Community Colleges (WAACC). Feroah had an incredible season overall as he averaged a double-double with 18.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He also led the NWAC with 63 total blocks and was sixth in field goal percentage at 60.6 percent. He played in all 33 games for the Gators, averaging 32.8 minutes at the post position. 

“Jaiden leads by example. He isn't a guy that talks a lot. He is a 3.7 GPA student that exemplifies everything Green River College wants their student athletes to be,” Coach Drake said. “It feels awesome to see Jaiden finally being viewed like the team already knew he was.” 
After the tournament, Feroah was also named the NWAC Tournament MVP after averaging 17.3 points per game, 13.3 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 3.0 steals in the Gators' four tournament wins. In the overtime championship win against Tacoma, Feroah played all 45 minutes and had 17 points with a Green River record 23 rebounds. He also had five blocks and four steals defensively. Overall, Feroah led the Gators to a 27-6 season, finishing the year on a 10-game winning streak. 

“This might sound crazy but Jaiden is still underrated. He is so good at basketball it's truly scary. He dominated all season and he also dominated the tournament,” Coach Drake said. “Jaiden is still closer to his floor than his ceiling in basketball. He is special and some 4 year coach is going to win a lot of games because they sign him to come play at their school.” 

While the praise for Jaiden comes naturally for Coach Drake, accepting his own limelight does not. 

Godfrey Drake Coach of the Year“I felt overwhelmed,” Coach Drake admitted. “I fell to my knees and thanked God for giving me the opportunity to experience this. I also shared that moment with my parents back home in Mississippi. They were so proud. It was such a great moment to share with them.” 

In his seventh season as head coach, Coach Drake led Green River to a 27-6 overall record, ending the season on a 10-game winning streak including four wins at the NWAC tournament. The Gators did so by knocking off two region champions in Edmonds in the Elite 8 and Portland in the semifinals. They won their first three games each by at least 19 points. In the finals, the Gators outlasted Tacoma for the NWAC title, winning 69-61 in overtime. 

“The NWAC Championship is something special and we are so incredibly proud of Godfrey, Jaiden and the entire team,” GRC Athletics Director Shannon Percell said. “Godfrey's leadership was instrumental in guiding our team to this Championship. It is never easy to win a championship and they did it under difficult circumstances. The team had two options, they could complain and make excuses or they could roll up their sleeves and get to work. We know what they did, they went to work.” 
Under Coach Drake, the Gators ranked among the best in a large number of categories including first in personal fouls per game (14.0), third in points per game allowed (70.0), fourth in field goal percentage (48.9), fifth in three-point percentage (37.5), fifth in rebound margin per game (+4.9), sixth in points per game (85.8) and sixth in opponents field goal percentage (42.5).  

Coach Drake also eclipsed 100 coaching wins with the Gators earlier during the historic season, after which he attributed the team’s success to their winning attitude on and off the court.  

This is exemplified by the team’s “Five Gs” motto. A play of 5G cellular technology, the exercise underscores the teams need for strength and connectivity. Each year the team picks words or phrases that start with the letter G that they feel represent their commitment to the team and each other. This year the team picked: Gator > Me, Great Health, Game Changer, Gallant, Gratitude. 

"These are team honors in my opinion. I can't do this without my players trusting and believing in my vision. Their belief in our 5G culture is what made this happen. I got to go to the Final Four and be recognized with 3 other outstanding JUCO coaches in the country for our outstanding seasons. That is an experience I will never forget. I'm extremely grateful for all of this.”

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