Southern Nevada, Harper top JUCO poll
Led by top pro prospect Bryce Harper, the Community College of Southern Nevada tops the NJCAA top 25 preseason baseball poll.
The Coyotes (35-20 last season) enter the 2010 season as the top-ranked team for the first time since 2004, when they were the defending national champions.
Harper, who graduated high school early to enroll at Southern Nevada, is Perfect Game USA’s top junior college pro prospect. He is a catcher and pitcher.
Harper, though, isn’t the only top-10 prospect on the team. He is joined by right-handed pitchers Joe Robinson and Tyler Hanks. The sophomores have verbally committed to the University of Georgia and Oklahoma State University, respectively.
San Jacinto (Texas) College-North is ranked second (45-11) behind four top pitching prospects. Chipola (Fla.) College (32-18) is third behind unsigned draft picks LeVon Washington, an outfielder/second baseman, and Jake Eliopoulos, a left-handed pitcher.
Howard (Texas) College (63-1) lost most of its team from last year’s national championship team, but returns outfielder Joey Leftridge and pitchers Burch Smith and Blake Barnes. Smith has committed to the University of Oklahoma and Barnes has committed to Oklahoma State University.
Outfielder/pitcher Marty Gantt, who was born without a fully-formed right hand, is back to lead fifth-ranked Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) College (55-9) again this season.
Central Arizona College (51-13) is sixth in the preseason poll and 2006 national champion Walters State (Tenn.) Community College (42-17) is seventh. Wabash Valley (Ill.) College (42-17), Western Nevada College (48-14) and Pitt (N.C.) Community College (36-8) round out the top 10.
Yavapai (Ariz.) College is ranked 11th, followed by St. Petersburg (Fla.) College at No. 12, Jefferson (Mo.) College at 13, Connors State (Okla.) College at 14 and Miami-Dade (Fla.) College at 15.
Middle Georgia College, Chattahoochee Valley (Tenn.) Community College, Cowley County (Kan.) Community College, Meridian (Miss.) Community College and Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College round out the top 20.