Blue Devil men No. 1 in Jayhawk Conference cage poll; women No. 3

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s defending Jayhawk Conference champions have been voted the team to beat in the 2021 men’s basketball pre-season poll.

Jayhawk coaches voted the Blue Devils No. 1 followed by Johnson County, Highland, Labette, Fort Scott and Hesston. Labette, the defending Region VI champion, was tabbed No. 1 in the women’s poll followed by Johnson County, KCKCC, Highland, Fort Scott and Hesston.

The KCKCC men return five veterans from the 2019-20 team that won the Jayhawk championship for the first time ever. The Blue Devils (18-13) finished 8-2 in conference play and won 16 of their last 21 games on the way to winning the NJCAA DII Region VI championship and KCKCC’s second berth in the national tournament, a tournament canceled by the COVID pandemic.

Starters returning include 6-7 forward Robert Rhodes, the Defender of the Year in the conference and runaway leader in rebounds and blocked shots; 6-0 guard Deron McDaniel, the team’s second leading scorer and assist leader; and point guard DeAngelo Bell, who was second in assists. Jermaine Yarbough, a 6-8 forward who was second in rebounding as the league’s best sixth man, is also back along with 3-point sharpshooter Cody Dortch, who is in his third season after suffering a torn ACL 11 games into the 2019-20 season.

The KCKCC women are coming off a 25-7 season and third place finish (5-5) behind Labette and JCCC. Aliyah Myers, a 5-7 guard from Derby, returns as the only starter although the other returnees, 6-0 forward Mercer Roberts and 5-6 guards Tiara Earnest and Jada Mayberry played significant minutes in 2019-20.

Both KCKCC teams open on the road at North Central Missouri in Trenton Jan. 20 and then go to Central Community College in Columbus, Neb. Jan. 23. The Blue Devil men will open at home against Link Year Prep Jan. 25 while both teams will be host to Park University’s junior varsity Jan. 28.

KCKCC is host for virtual music festival Nov. 19-20

Kansas City Kansas Community College will be the site of a November virtual music festival featuring the Los Angeles based pop-jazz vocal group, m-pact.

The m-pact Virtual Vocal Festival is Nov. 19 and 20 and can be seen through the festival’s website at

In addition to online master classes, there will be virtual clinics, video performances and a variety of other presentations and educational opportunities. The festival, which is a collaboration between KCKCC’s Music and Media Services departments, is free and open to anyone who would like to participate, however, donations are being accepted to help offset the cost of presenting the festival.

The festival will feature vocal ensembles from 10 states and three countries. KCKCC’s “Fusion,” “Funk Band” and “The Standard” are also scheduled to perform. Each night of the festival closes with a virtual concert by m-pact. To see the full schedule, visit

Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “one of the best pop-jazz vocal groups in the world” m-pact is known for its sophisticated sound that has won the group Vocal Group of the Year at the L.A. Music Awards and an Indie nomination from the Independent Grammys.

The group has been named Grand National Champs of the Harmony Sweepstakes competition and has performed with artists such as Boyz II Men, Sheryl Crow, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Maynard Ferguson Big Band and Natalie Cole, among many others. Their “signature sound” can also be heard in television theme songs as well as Disney feature films and on radio stations throughout the world.

Started in 1995, m-pact has made five full-length albums, three EP’s and several single releases and continue to receive rave reviews and multiple awards. Billboard Magazine named them the “Best Unsigned Band” and in 2014, the group joined with New York a cappella powerhouse Duwende to produce “I Wish for All Time,” an a cappella tribute to Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. M-pact continues to thrill audiences with their innovative orchestrations and stage presence as well as their vocals as they work to stay true to the music they are performing.

  • From Kelly Rogge, KCKCC public relations officer

College looks to needs of community



by Murrel Bland

I attended the second annual President’s Leadership Breakfast via Zoom, Thursday, Nov. 12, at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Dr. Greg Mosier, the college’s president, told of the school’s plans as it looks to celebrate its centennial in 2023.

A major part of the school’s strategic plan is to build a downtown campus. This new center would meet the educational needs of the downtown and the eastern Wyandotte County Community. Courses would include English as a Second Language, General Educational Diploma classes, biology, chemistry, commercial construction technology and administrative office professional training.

Cooperative partners in this downtown campus would include The University of Kansas, which would offer bachelor’s degrees in biotechnology and social work. Other partners would include the YMCA offering youth and adult programs; the Wyandot Behavioral Health Network offering various social services; and High Aspirations, a youth development agency. The college would continue with its dual enrollment program in which students can earn college-level credits with various high schools including those in the Kansas City, Kansas, District.

The cost of the downtown campus is estimated to be $60 million; that cost would be shared among the various cooperating agencies.

Business and industry here and across the nation are looking to community colleges to provide the necessary workforce. One of the issues in Wyandotte County is the lack of qualified employees for well-paying jobs. Those who are trained at the community college in such areas as machinist or diesel mechanic can expect to start at salaries in the range of $40,000 to $50,000 a year. Some of the best jobs in Kansas are in Wyandotte County. However, Wyandotte County residents rank toward the bottom when it comes to wages. Education is very obviously the solution to break this cycle of wage disparity.

The college also has plans for housing at its main campus. The college would build 100,000 square feet of first-class student housing that would provide 260 beds. It would cost $20 million. Construction could start next year.

I spoke with Dr. Mosier Friday, Nov.13, about the Higher Learning Commission’s recent status change from “Accredited” to “Accredited-Probation.” The college met all 24 core components except for two—one concerning the responsibility for quality educational programs and another for a commitment for educational achievement and improvement. Dr. Mosier said he is confident that his faculty and staff can “promote continuous quality improvement.”

The college has to face the challenge of being an urban institution. Many of its feeder schools are from the Kansas City, Kansas, School District where only about 70 percent of students graduate with their class. Many of those students, despite having a high school diploma, come to the college poorly prepared and must take remedial classes.

The Kansas City, Kansas, School District is now searching for a superintendent. I would hope the school board would select someone who has solid experience as a superintendent in an urban district and is willing to move his or her family here.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.