UNK Adds Three from National Park College

University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers logo.

Kearney, Neb. - Nebraska Kearney head men's basketball coach Marty Levinson announced today that three players from the 2023-24 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Champions -- National Park College (Hot Springs, Ark.) -- have joined the Loper program.

On June 10, Levison announced the first four recruits of his tenure. The roster will continue to grow throughout the summer.

The NPC Nighthawks went 31-1 this past season and won the national title after beating the top two seeds, Davidson-Davie (N.C.) and South Suburban (Ill.), in the Final Four and Championship game. The Nighthawks were the fifth seed in a tournament held in Danville, Ill.

The transfers are post Taylor Harrell (Huntsville, Texas), guard Ja'Bryant Hill (Duncanville, Texas) and forward Anthony Swift (Las Vegas, Nev.). Each has two years of eligibility remaining.

Harrell led NJCAA Division II in field goal percentage this season (76.7) as he averaged 10.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. Starting all 32 contests, he earned All-Region honors and was the MVP of the National Tourney. In the title game vs. South Suburban, he had 22 points on 10 of 12 shooting. In a regular season win, Harrell scored a season-best 25 points by going 11 of 12 from the floor.

"Taylor is a physical center who scores at a very efficient rate. At 6'11 and 280 pounds, he brings a presence and physicality that will instantly impact a game. He can use his physicality to dominate at times because he is very intelligent, instinctual, and uses his positioning to his advantage. When position and size meet skill, you have a real problem and that is exactly how Taylor plays," said Levinson.

Having 19 double figure games, Harrell ended up at NPC after scoring 41 points against the Nighthawks a year prior. At Huntsville High, he hit a last second shot to help the Hornets win an area championship and was part of a conference winning squad a year later.

"He shot the ball a very impressive 77% rate from the floor and completely dominated the National Championship game. Taylor's productivity can be seen on a box score but perhaps his biggest impact is being the vocal leader that he naturally is. Loper fans are going to really enjoy that Taylor is on our side," said Levinson.

A 5-10, 160-pound guard, Hill earned second-team All-American this year after averaging 17.3 points, 4.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. He had seven 20-point efforts including a 50 burger in a win over North Arkansas. He made 15 of 25 shots (7 of 10) and went 13 of 15 at the line in a 108-66 victory.

"Ja'Bryant brings more positivity to a roster than maybe any player I have ever seen. JB can impact a game on both sides of the ball. His quickness and instincts are special, on and off the ball, as he will get into a ball handler as well as jump a passing lane that most others would never see," said Levinson. "Not only known as a defensive problem, JB can also score from all three levels, sets up his teammates at the right time, and rebounds especially well for his size."

Setting a school-record for steals in a game (10) vs. nationally ranked Des Moines Area (Ia.) C.C., Hill shot 83% from the line and 45% from the floor. He leaves the Nighthawks as the all-time leader in both steals (125) and made free throws (234). After spending a redshirt season at Western Texas College, Hill averaged 14.5 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game for NPC in 2022-23. Finally, he helped lead Duncanville High to its first state tourney appearance in 12 years.

"During his career, he is a Texas High School state champion and is now a NJCAA national champion; you can see why as he is not only a leader on the floor, in the locker room, on campus and around the community. I am really excited to add Ja'Bryant to our community and be around him every day," said Levinson.

Swift (6-7, 210 lbs.) took a redshirt season at Division I Southern Utah before spending his redshirt freshman campaign at the College of Southern Nevada. There, he was teammates with fellow Loper newcomer Kendrick Gilbert. Swift averaged 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks a night that season in helping CSN go 23-10.

"Anthony gives us versatility, size, and skill as he has shown he can be productive and influence winning everywhere he has played. He can guard multiple positions and can score in the post as well as on the perimeter," said Levinson. "Growing up in Las Vegas and playing against a lot of high-level competition, Anthony has developed a very effective all-around game and knows how to compliment his teammates but can also take over at times."

At NPC this year, Swift appeared in 31 games and was at 7.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. He had nine games with at least 10 boards including a season-best 20 in a win over Southern Arkansas Tech. Posting two double doubles, Swift made 50% of his shots and 74% of his free throws. At Desert Pines High in Las Vegas, he was a double figure scorer who helped his team make two state appearances.

"The talents Anthony brings to a team are invaluable as he played a big part in helping National Park win the National Championship, but he was also a big part of these three wanting to play together. Relationships matter to Anthony, and I will lean on his perspective to help guide this team," said Levinson.

The Levinson Era begins Nov. 8 (Friday) with a game at Southwest Minnesota State; the home opener is to be determined.