At this time last year, the South Plains College Texans rolled into the NJCAA Region V Tournament undefeated and ranked No. 1. Shooting guard Jordan Brangers was the best player on the perceived best junior-college team in America, expecting to win a national championship and then head to Texas Tech.

What a turbulent 12 months he's experienced since.

Not only did Brangers not win a title and not wind up at Tech, neither did he land at his second choice, Western Kentucky in his home state, after failing to meet NCAA transfer requirements. The odyssey didn't end there. Brangers signed a financial aid agreement in November with Colorado State, then de-committed last month when CSU started an investigation into the culture of the program that led to coach Larry Eustachy's resignation.

In between, Brangers earned himself a two-game suspension from Texans coach Steve Green in January. Frustrated at being pulled from a game, Brangers left the sideline in frustration and changed out of his uniform in the first half of a game.

He's surviving, though -- still personable, smiling and trying to make it back to the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas. South Plains (21-8) takes on No. 20 McLennan Community College (27-4) at 1 p.m. Friday in a Region V Tournament semifinal at Frenship.

"It's been a big challenge," Brangers said of this season. "Me and coach Green had a big talk. He's basically been the biggest influence on my life. He told me what I need to do, and I feel like it was a big change when I made it."

On the court, this season's been a challenge for Brangers, too. Green asked Brangers, a prolific long-range shooter, to get teammates more involved. Brangers' scoring average is down, from 20.9 points per game last season to 15.6 this year, though Green has been complimentary of Brangers since his reinstatement in mid-January. Still, the Texans have had trouble clicking for extended periods.

"Last year, we had that chemistry," Brangers said. "Everybody played together, played hard. This year, starting off the season was a little rough. I feel like down the stretch we've been playing with more passion and playing harder and coach Green, I think, sees that as well."

Brangers signed a non-binding financial aid agreement with Colorado State, not a letter of intent, so he's a free agent again for recruiting purposes. He said he has received scholarship offers from Akron and Bradley and recruiting interest from Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee State. Foremost on his mind right now, though, is going out on a good note with SPC. The Texans finished 32-2 and third in the NJCAA tournament last year.

"I definitely think we can make a run," he said. "Like a lot of people say, on paper I think we're easily the best team in the country. It's about everybody taking that next step and wanting to make it to Hutch. Me going to Hutch last year and knowing what it takes to be there ... We got so close. I really want to just make it back again."