BUCHANAN BECOMES THIRD TIGER EVER TO RECEIVE NJCAA ALL-STAR GAME INVITE

Leroy Buchanan is the 3rd Northeast men's hoops player to earn an invitation to the NJCAA All-Star Game in program history. (Raleigh Downs)
Leroy Buchanan is the 3rd Northeast men's hoops player to earn an invitation to the NJCAA All-Star Game in program history. (Raleigh Downs)

Las Vegas, Nev. - Leroy Buchanan's phenomenal journey at Northeast Mississippi Community College will officially end with yet another historical moment and a 1,700-mile trip to the Entertainment Capital of the World.

 

Buchanan has been selected to participate in the 2017 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men's Basketball All-Star Game on Saturday, April 29 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

 

"This is the result of everything that he's done," said Tigers headman Cord Wright. "This opportunity for him is awesome. A lot of hard work and time have gone into this. He's done everything that we expected him to do as a player.

 

"When that game tips off, he's going to be ready to roll. I expect him to do what he normally does which is score, be athletic, defend, rebound and probably do a dunk or two that excites some people. It should be a fun and exciting time for him."

 

Buchanan is only the third Northeast student-athlete to ever compete in the annual meeting of the country's top players. He is also the first Tiger to do so in over half a century.

 

The last Northeast standouts to earn this distinction were teammates Bobby McCarley and Vincent Del Negro, who were both chosen to play in what was then an East versus West, best two-out-of-three series format some 57 years ago following the 1959-60 campaign.

 

Del Negro, who signed with the University of Kentucky after the week-long all-star event in Coffeyville, Kan., led the nation that year with 1,022 total points while McCarley finished second for NJCAA Hall of Fame coach Bonner Arnold's Tigers with 520 points.

 

Buchanan follows in their footsteps as the top scorer for Northeast this season with 18.4 points per game. He also paced the Tigers with team-high averages of seven rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.5 blocks and 32.1 minutes.

 

"It shows that I've put hard work in," Buchanan said. "I couldn't do it without my teammates. They pushed me to be the best that I could be. This just means so much. It's going to be an emotional game."

 

Buchanan was an integral part of Northeast's NJCAA Region 23 championship in 2016 and Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division title during his last campaign on the Booneville campus.

 

The Madison Central High School graduate collected MACJC All-State laurels as a freshman after averaging 14 points and 5.7 boards. He helped the Tigers secure their ninth trip to Hutchinson, Kan., for the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.

 

He recently became the seventeenth NJCAA All-American in program history following his sensational sophomore season. Buchanan scored in double-digits during all but one outing this year.

 

Buchanan saved his best performance for last during the 2017 NJCAA Region 23 championship contest against Jones County Junior College with a career-high 34 points inside Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum.

 

The 6-3, 185-pound guard exceeded 30 points in a single matchup four times throughout his tenure in the City of Hospitality and surpassed 20 points in a game on 17 separate occasions as well.

 

He was a three-time MACJC Player of the Week winner throughout the 2016-17 campaign. His last such honor came after the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament where he averaged 22.3 points over three contests.

 

Buchanan accumulated six double-doubles over his two-year stint at Northeast, including two this season in matchups with Northwest Mississippi Community College and Volunteer State (Tenn.) Community College.

 

He reached the prestigious 500-point plateau for his career during Northeast's victory over West Kentucky Community and Technical College. Buchanan went on to compile 927 points, 361 rebounds, 169 assists, 104 steals and 58 blocks in a black-and-gold uniform.

 

Buchanan, who started in 57 consecutive games while with the Tigers, signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with Murray State (Ky.) University prior to the beginning of his sophomore campaign.

 

The NJCAA Men's Basketball Coaches Association picks the rosters for the NJCAA All-Star Game, which features the 12 best players from Division I battling the 12 top prospects from Divisions II and III.

 

Buchanan is joined by fellow Mississippian Bruce Stevens of Jones County on the NJCAA Division I roster. Their teammates include James Batemon (North Dakota SCS), Shannon Bogues (McLennan, Texas), Jordan Brangers (South Plains, Texas), Kareem Brewton (Eastern Florida State), Milik Gantz (Harcum, Pa.), Jerry Hurt (Eastern Oklahoma), Shakur Juiston (Hutchinson, Kan.), Chris McNeal (Indian Hills, Iowa), Dallas Polk-Hilliard (Cochise, Ariz.) and Troy Simons (Polk State, Fla.).

 

The NJCAA Men's Basketball All-Star Game is held in conjunction with the Nike Basketball Coaches Clinic. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT from the Orleans Arena, which is the home of the NCAA Division I West Coast Conference (WCC) Basketball Tournament on a yearly basis.