Western Nebraska Community College's Vinnie Shahid kept the history-making men's basketball team popping with excitement after being named a NJCAA Second Team All-American on Monday.
Shahid becomes the first all-American since 2011 when Hauns Brereton earned third team honors.
Shahid said it is an honor to be recognized as an All-American as well be in the same category of former Cougar greats.
"It a truly a blessing and these are the things you dream about as a kid when you think about college basketball," Shahid said. "But, none of it is possible without my amazing teammates and coaching staff."
WNCC coach Cory Fehringer said Shahid earned the honor through his hard work.
"From time to time, a player simply earns his recognition through hard work and perseverance," Fehringer said. "His physical and mental approach is second to none for a young man in college athletics. We are thankful for his dedication to improvement, commitment to success on and off the floor, while serving Western Nebraska and the community."
Shahid joins a list of eight other Cougar basketball players that earned All-American honors. Arturas Javtokas (1998-99), Evaldas Jocys (1997-98), and Bernard Garner (1994-95) all earned first team honors, while Billy Stewart (1966-67), Mel Weatherspoon (1970s), and Randy Blocker (1991-92) earned second honors.
Javtokas was the only 2-time All-American for the Cougars, garnering a third team honor in 1997-98, while Brereton was the last Cougar before Shahid to earn the honor. Garner, when he earned first team all-American honors, was named the NJCAA Men's Basketball MVP back in 1995.
"It is an amazing feeling to be in a category of such great group of guys something i will never forget," he said.
WNCC's season has been one of history-making events. WNCC finished with a 27-8 season but captured its first Region IX title since 2001. WNCC went 1-1 at the national tournament, earning an 87-73 win over Holmes Community College in the first-round before falling 109-91 to Northwest Florida State College in the second round.
Shahid said the season they had was great, but it was even sweeter to become friends with the players on the team.
"I can't say enough about this group of individuals," he said. "We think we could've gone further but it is an honor to be a part of such a special group of guys."
Shahid had an outstanding season. The sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who signed with North Dakota State in November, averaged 18.4 points a game and dished off 4.8 assists. Shahid connected on 100 3-pointers this season while shooting 47.6 percent from beyond the arc. Shahid finished his 2-year career at WNCC, scoring 1,079 points while making 169 3-pointers. Shahid also shot 84.3 percent from the free throw line and 45.2 from the field in his career.
Fehringer said Shahid was a special player at WNCC whether if it was on the court or off.
"I imagine Vinnie will be the first to thank WNCC, the families he spent time with along the way, and the people who supported the program for two years the way only true fans can do," he said. "We were always aware of the blessing that occurred when Vinnie stepped onto campus. It will tear some strings in our hearts to see him go, yet we are proud of Vinnie and I'm excited to become his greatest fans."
Shahid said it will be hard when he leaves WNCC in May, but the bond he has with Scottsbluff and the fans will be special.
"You know it's going to be hard to leave, but the culture that Coach Cory has created here, I'm not leaving the coach's players or community at all because they will be forever be family to me and Scottsbluff will always be somewhat of a home to me," he said. "The bond I have created with the people who put on that jersey with me day in and day out and went to war with me is special. These guys helped me create 13 more brothers for life and 16 counting the coaching staff. I thank them so much for everything."
The NJCAA Division I men's first team included Andrews Feliz of Northwest Florida, L.J. Figueroa of Odessa, Rashawn Fredericks of Motlow State, Shane Gatling of Indian Hills, Charles Jones of Southern Idaho, Wendell Mitchell of Trinity Valley, Tremell Murphy of Florida Southwestern, JJ Rhymes of Hutchinson, Isaiah Tisdale of Vincennes, and Ricky Torres of Missouri State-West Plains.
Joining Shahid on the second team were Ahmed Ali of Eastern Florida State, Jalveon Eaves of John Logan, Brian Halums of Itawamba, Ra'Shawn Langston of Connors State, Mike Laster of Central Georgia Tech, Chaz Mack of Cochise, Jah'Quan McCloud of Highland, Alonzo Verge of Moberly Area, and Travis Washington of Coffeyville.
Third team All-American selections went to Deshaw Andrews of USC Salkehatchie, Demarcus Demonia of Allegany College, Isaiah Hart of Motlow State, Christian Jacob of Kankakee, Tra'Quan Knight of Shelton State, Kur Kuath of Salt Lake, Jhery Matos of Monroe College, Melvin Newbern of North Dakota State College of Science, Mohamed Thiam of Marshalltown, and Austin Trice of Wabash Valley.
The honorable mention all-American list included 20 players, including Channel Banks of Sheridan College. Other included Christian Barrett of Jacksonville (Texas), Davon Bolton of Eastern Arizona, Jordan Brangers of South Plans, Darnell Butler of Seminole State, Patrick Dembley of Iowa Western, Simon Falokun of Dawson, Lony Francis of Vincennes, Devin Hutchinson of Brunswick, Darron Johnson of Western Oklahoma State, Tajuan Johnson of Georgia Highlands, Martin Kelly of Harford, George Stanberry of Volunteer State, Jashwawn Talton of McLennan, Khalid Thomas of Southern Idaho, Eric Thornton of Pearl River, Kevon Tucker of Gordon State, Andre Walker of Josiah Wallace of Olney College, and Brian Warren of Tyler.