Earlier this month the Merrimack men’s basketball team made history by being the first team to win a conference championship since the transition to Division 1. The team had a slow start early on in the season, with a record of 2-12 going into conference play, but they finished the season as NEC regular season champions with a record of 12-4. The team entered the playoffs on an 8 game win streak and then continued on to win the NEC Championship by 1 point on March 7, 2023.
Throughout the season, the Warriors were led by a trio of strong seniors: Jordan Minor, Jordan McKoy, and Ziggy Reid. These three were dedicated to the team and the program since the beginning of their time here at Merrimack. In their inaugural Division 1 season in 2020, they were also named NEC regular season champions. During that freshman season, Jordan Minor appeared in all 31 games with 192 points. Ziggy Reid also appeared in all 31 games during his freshman season with 160 points. Minor and Reid continued to raise the intensity of the team for the next 3 seasons and, ultimately, were the two highest scorers of the championship game.
While Jordan McKoy may not have recorded as many stats as his two counterparts, his efforts and skills did not go unnoticed. Throughout his four years, McKoy appeared in a majority of the games each season, and provided the team with a high basketball IQ and court awareness. McKoy is one of those players who can make those game-time decisions that can make or break the game. He proved his reliability and consistency in the 2023 NEC championship by scoring the game-winning free throw. With a career free throw percentage of 71, having McKoy on the line was an ideal situation and exactly the role he was meant to play for the team. Not only was this the game winning free throw, but it was the only point McKoy had scored all game, and arguably, it is the most important point he has scored in his career so far.
These three seniors still have one more year of eligibility left, and it was looking as though Merrimack may have a chance to come back under the leadership of the trio next season and fight for a ticket to the 2024 March Madness tournament. Minor and McKoy stated in an interview on “Senior Send Off,” that they’re both unsure if they will return or even play another season at all.
“For me, I’m definitely still thinking about things, the four years I’ve been here I never expected anything like this, this place has been special to me the last four years,” Minor stated.
If the three seniors do return for their extra COVID year, the foundation would be set for another strong season and potential for Merrimack’s first Division 1 NCAA March Madness appearance.
However, with the opening of the transfer portal, things have seriously been shaken up. Both Jordan Minor and Ziggy Reid entered the portal for the 2023-2024 season. Fortunately, NEC Rookie of the Year Javon Bennett and NEC All Rookie Team Jordan Derkack will be returning and can step up to fill these large shoes. It is still undetermined where the two will be attending, but the two have offers from a wide variety of high performing Division 1 schools, both inside and out of the NEC.
We all hope to see the two potentially come back as they are true fan favorites as well for Merrimack, but we wish them all the best wherever they land.