Matt Hammer enters his fourth year as the head men’s basketball coach at Sheridan College, as he was hired in August of 2014. Hammer came to Sheridan College after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State University (NCAA Division 2) in Saginaw, Michigan. The Generals are coming off their best season under the guidance of Hammer as they finished with a 23-9 record in 2016-17, including a 15-2 record at home in the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome.
The 2016-17 Generals offense (87.0 PPG) finished as the second highest scoring team in Region IX North play, while their defense also finished second, only giving up 59.0 PPG. After getting off to a great start to begin the season at 18-3, the Generals eventually fell to the Region IX South champions, Laramie County Community College in the quarterfinals of the Region IX tournament. The season was highlighted by freshman Channel Banks being named 2nd Team All-Region. Sophomore Celio Araujo finished the season as the assist leader in Region IX, while also finishing ranked 9th in the entire country. Freshman Ladan Ricketts had a great first season for the Generals while leading Region IX North with 96 made 3-pointers. The Generals also had success in the classroom as Celio Araujo and Elhadji Dieng were both named to the Academic All-Region team, with Araujo being Academic All-American. The Generals will see multiple players move on to four year schools from this year’s team, as Elhadji Dieng signed a NCAA letter of intent with Florida International University (Conference USA) in Miami, FL. Celio Araujo signed his letter of intent with the University of Maine (America East Conference) in Orono, ME.
In Hammer’s second year as head coach of the Generals, the team was able to post a 13-2 home record, including two buzzer beaters over rivals Casper College and Northwest College. Sophomore, Pablo Rivas was named 1st Team All-Region, and signed a national letter of intent to attend North Carolina Central University (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). In early August, after spending a season with Sheridan College, freshman qualifier PJ Savoy Jr. was able to sign a letter of intent with Florida State University in the Atlantic Coast Conference, arguably the best conference in all of college basketball. Both PJ and Pablo were able to play in the NCAA Division I March Madness men’s basketball tournament. The Florida State Seminoles got a first round win over Florida Gulf Coast, but fell in the second round to Xavier University. Pablo and his North Carolina Central teammates came up short in their first round matchup with the University of California Davis. Sophomore, Terrell Butler was able to continue his educational and athletic career at Dickinson State University (North Star Athletic Association).
In his first year at Sheridan College, the team had an impressive 12-3 start, including a season opening upset of No. 21 ranked North Idaho. The Generals eventually lost to Central Wyoming College in the first round of the Region IX tournament. Coach Hammer and the Generals saw all of their sophomores move on to NCAA 4-year schools including Jamir Andrews (University of Albany), Abednego Lufile (Eastern Tennessee State Univ.), RaVonn Posey (Cal State Univ. Bakersfield), and Kyi Thomas (Cal State Univ. Stanislaus). Prior to his time at SVSU, Hammer was a graduate assistant for two seasons at his alma mater of Northern State University under coaching legend Don Meyer. Coach Meyer retired from coaching in 2010 as the all-time wins leader in college basketball history, finishing with a record of 923-324. At the ESPY Awards in 2009, Coach Meyer was honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
Prior to entering the coaching field, Hammer played for Coach Meyer at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. While at NSU, he was a member of four consecutive 20-win teams, including one regular season NSIC Championship, and two NSIC Tournament Championships. In 2005 as a junior, Hammer became the second ever member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference to be named the regular season Player of the Year and NSIC Tournament MVP in the same season. He was a two-time selection to the Daktronics DII North Central All Region Team, as well as a three-time NSIC All-Conference selection. Following his senior season he was selected to play in the inaugural NCAA Division II All-Star Game that was played in Springfield, Massachusetts inside the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He left Northern State ranked 13th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,686 points. Hammer prepped at Elkton High School in South Dakota where he was named Mr. Basketball in 2002. Matt received his Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from Northern State in 2007, while also completing his master’s in Health, Physical Education and Coaching at NSU in 2010.