For the fifth consecutive year, the Marshalltown Community College men's basketball team will be sending multiple players to NCAA Division I programs.
Chris Caird inked his National Letter of Intent with Santa Clara University on Tuesday, the MCC freshman confirmed to the Times-Republican in a text message.
The England native scored 12.4 points per game and shot 49 percent from the floor in his one and only season as a Tiger. He'll now head west to Broncos' scenic campus outside of San Jose.
"I just loved it there. It's so beautiful," said Caird in a text message. "I think it's a great program, good coaches and good teammates."
Caird had interest from other schools earlier in the year, with Boston College and Idaho among other schools both taking notice.
"It did come out of the blue a little bit, but it's what he thought was the best fit for him," said MCC head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson, who spoke with Caird about the decision Monday. "It's a great opportunity for him."
Caird came off the bench for most of the season for the Tigers, but emerged as their second consistent scorer behind the Illinois State-bound Tyler Brown and his league-leading 20 points per game.
"Chris really worked on his game. He's really become a pure shooting guard/small forward in that he can shoot it and put it on the floor," said Brynjarsson. "He's only going to get better."
"He's got real solid character. Great kid," he added.
The Broncos finished fourth in the West Coast Conference standings last season with an 8-6 conference mark. They were 24-14 overall and won eight of their final nine games of the season, finishing the year with five victories and a CIT Tournament championship.
Santa Clara returns its top three scorers from last year, but Caird still invisions himself as a major contributor.
"I think I will step into good minutes if I keep working hard," he said. "They haven't got somone my size that can stretch the floor and drive like me."
"I think we are going to make a push for the (NCAA) tournament with the team we have," he added.
MCC is now making a habit of sending kids to big-time programs. Last year DeMarcus Phillips (Iowa State) and Will Clyburn (Utah, though now transferring to Iowa State) moved on while in 2009 Douglas Kurtz (Hawai'i) and Bryan Louff (Montana State) make the leap.
It was the trio of Marquis Navarre (Montana State), Henry White (Grambling) and Luis Valera (Texas Pan-American) in 2008 and DaShawn Wright (San Jose State), Kenard Moore (Southeast Missouri State) and Cem Dinc (Harvard) in 2007.
"Chris is another guy we send on," said Brynjarasson. "Another success story."
A message left at the Santa Clara athletic department was not returned.
Newcomer garners offer
Marcus Bell hasn't suited up for MCC yet, but he's already received his first scholarship offer.
Iowa State University extended him an offer Monday, Brynjarsson said.
Bell is a 6-foot-8, 230 pounder from California. He spent the 2009-10 season at Lower Columbia College where he was the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College's Western Division MVP.
Bell sat out the season at Modesto Junior College last season. The Cyclones' offer is for the 2012-13 season, meaning Bell would still suit up for the Tigers this winter. New ISU assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih is leading his recruitment.
Oklahoma, Washington State and Idaho have all shown interest in Bell as well.