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Transfer tandem ignites Bearkat basketball

Sports Reporter

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 23:02

Kaheem Ransom Jabari Peters

Connor Hyde | The Houstonian

Transfer guards Kaheem Ransom and Jabari Peters warm up before practice at Johnson Coliseum. The duo has dominated play to become the face of Sam Houston State University’s men’s basketball in their first season at SHSU.

The trip from Huntsville to Liberal, Kan. was lengthy – 615 miles to be exact.

That’s the distance Sam Houston State’s head men’s basketball coach Jason Hooten traveled to find the spark he needed for his Bearkats.

SHSU had already positioned itself as one of two dominant defenses in the Southland Conference, but that complementary offensive flare was still missing.

“We weren’t scoring well the season before,” Hooten said. “Scoring ability was something we needed.”

Once in Liberal, Hooten found himself at Seward County Community College looking at the missing pieces to his puzzle in Jabari Petersand Kaheem Ransom.

“They can score,” he said. “But they can also distribute the ball, and they play well with the team.”

The duo was dynamic as they led the SCCC Saints to a 14-2 league record along with a Jayhawk West Conference title in 2013. Ransom garnered first team all-conference and all-region honors in his SCCC career, averaging right at 16 points and 2.4 assists. Peters found his home behind the three-point arc for the Saints, draining 48 shots and averaging 13 points for SCCC.

Even though their junior college careers were coming to a close, opportunities to continue playing at the Division 1 level were presenting themselves.

“We had attention from Florida Atlantic and University of Texas-Arlington,” Ransom and Peters said.

Despite how well they played together, coaches didn’t see the perk when considering bringing the duo to their program as a tandem.

Except Hooten.

“I knew if we offered both of them, we had a better chance of getting them down here together,” Hooten said.

With the final pieces to the puzzle in place, Hooten and company began this season with a vengeance. The Bearkats opened up their first month of play with a 7-3 record, the best season start for the men’s program in five years. That fiery start included the last second thriller against James Madison in the Lumberjack Etech Classic. With 14 seconds remaining on the clock, Peters sank the game-winning three-pointer, giving SHSU the victory.

However, Peters is no stranger to winning.

“Seward was the only place I really ever won,” Peters said. “I just wanted to continue the mentality I got there and become a better player here.”

With only eight conference games remaining, the SLC race is heating up and the duo is looking to raise another banner in Johnson Coliseum, Ransom said.

Currently SHSU trails conference leader Stephen F. Austin State, with another championship within reach.

“We just wanted to maintain that winning mentality that was already here and build on it,” Peters said.

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