Former Empire standout Deion James named NJCAA All-American at Pima

Deion James (Andy Morales/

Pima Community College men’s basketball standout Deion James (Empire) received one of the highest honors from the NJCAA on Thursday in recognition of play during the 2016-17 season.
James, a sophomore forward, was named first team NJCAA All-American. He is the fifth player in program history and only the second since 1991.

James is also the second All-American under coach Brian Peabody. Murphy Gershman was named an NJCAA All-American in 2015.

James was the centerpiece as he was named ACCAC Co-Player of the Year and first team All-ACCAC. He was also selected the Region I, Division II Championship game Most Valuable Player.

He played and started in 33 games this season averaging 20.6 points (led ACCAC), 9.6 rebounds (second in ACCAC), 3.5 assists and one block per game. He also had 20 double-doubles in points and rebounds.

James helped lead the Aztecs to a 22-win season; most for the program since the 1989-90 season. The Aztecs also won 13 ACCAC conference games which was their best total since the 2000-01 season. Pima also made its first trip to the NJCAA Division II tournament since 2010.
The Aztecs finished second in the NJCAA in scoring 99.5 points per game. They led the ACCAC in points and rebounds.

This list was updated all year in an effort to recognize all former local prep stars who had gone on to achieve either academic and/or athletic awards at the next level. These are not high school awards but college and professional awards. NOT CHAMPIONSHIPS. If you are aware of anything I have missed along the way, please let me know.

Deion James/Basketball
Empire (2015)/Pima
ACCAC Co-Player of the Year (3/2)
ACCAC 1st Team (3/2)
First Team All-Region I, D-II (3/2)
Region-I, D-II championship MVP (3/9)
NJCAA Player of the Week (3/15)
NJCAA All-American First Team (4/13)

Monique Castillo/Softball
Canyon del Oro (2015)/Phoenix
ACCAC D2 Player of the Week (4/11)

Jaime Garcia/Baseball
Sabino (2016)/Rainy River
MCAC Northern Division Pitcher of the Week (4/11)

Kayla Green/Softball
Cienega (2015)/New Mexico State
Preseason All-WAC Team (2/1)
WAC Pitcher of the Week (4/1)

Sarah Macdonald/Track
Pusch Ridge (2013)/Seattle Pacific
NCAA Indoor All-American (3/10)

Kellye Springstead/Softball
Tanque Verde (2015)/California Baptist
PacWest Pitcher of the Week (3/27)

Mandy Lorenson/Softball
Ironwood Ridge (2016)/Pima
ACCAC D-I Pitcher of the Week (3/21)
NJCAA Division I Pitcher of the Week (3/22)

Margarita Corona/Softball
ACCAC D-I Player of the Week (3/21)

Shelby Kennedy/Softball
Cienega (2015)/Yale
Ivy League Honor Roll (3/20)

Justice Summerset/High Jump
Mountain View (2016)/Arizona
NCAA Indoor All-American (3/11)

Allison Curtis/Softball
Salpointe (2015)/Central Michigan
MAC Softball Player of the Week (3/13)

Matt Brase/Basketball
Catalina Foothills (2001)/Rio Grande Valley Vipers
NBA Development League Coach of the Month (3/2)

Emilio Acedo/Basketball
Salpointe (2011)/Pima
ACCAC 2nd Team (3/2)
First Team All-Region I, D-II (3/2)

Sydni Stallworth/Basketball
Palo Verde (2015)/Pima
ACCAC D-II Player of the Week (1/17)
National Player of the Week (1/20)
ACCAC 1st Team (3/1)
First Team All-Region I, D-II (3/1)
ACCAC D-II Player of the Year (3/1)

Denesia Smith/Basketball
Buena (2014)/Pima
ACCAC D-II Player of the Week (2/21)
ACCAC 2nd Team (3/1)
First Team All-Region I, D-II (3/1)

Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage/Softball
Salpointe (20160/Grand Canyon
WAC Pitcher of the Week (2/27)

Brooklyn Beardshear/Softball
Sahuaro (2013)/Dixie State
PacWest Pitcher of the Week (2/20)
PacWest Pitcher of the Week (2/27)

Franky Teran/Basketball
Pueblo (2011)/ Antelope Valley
Cal Pac Player of the Week (1/30)

Andrew Mike/Football
Sabino (2014)/Florida
2016 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll (2/8)

Dylan Greenberg/Football
Salpointe (2013)/Kentucky
2016 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll (2/8)

Madeline Bolin/Swimming
Ironwood Ridge (2014)/West Virginia
2017 Academic All-Big 12 First Team (2/21)

Nick Estrella/Baseball
Ironwood Ridge (2016)/Azusa Pacific
PacWest Freshman of the Week (2/14)

Trey Stine/Baseball
Ironwood Ridge (2013)/Pima/New Mexico State
Preseason All-WAC Team (2/8)

Zach Malis/Baseball
Desert Christian (2015)/Grand Canyon
Preseason All-WAC Team (2/8)

Kelsey Jenkins/Softball
Sabino (2014)/Wisconsin
Fastpitch News Preseason Top 50 College Hitters (1/23)
Fastpitch News Preseason All-American (1/25)
DI Softball News Preseason Top 50 Watch List (1/31)

Alex Verdugo/Baseball
Sahuaro (2014)/Oklahoma City Dodgers Prospect Watch (1/29)

Tristan Peterson/Baseball
Canyon del Oro (2016)/Kansas State
Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll (1/25)

Marc Matthews/Basketball
Buena (2012)/Montana State
GNAC Player of the Week (1/2)
D-II National Player of the Week (1/3)

Portions from news release.


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at



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