MIAMI, Okla. — While it might seem easier to land on a Division I roster than ever before due to the transfer portal, that’s not always the case. The competition out there much stiffer now, but one NEO A&M basketball player was able to cut through the noise and find a new landing spot.

Jonathan Mogbo spent the first year of his JUCO career at Independence Community College. He had Division I offers after that first season, but didn’t feel ready to take them.

Mogbo says, “[I’ve] just been patient, talk to God, talk to my family, you know, and they told me that if if I consistently work hard, I can get better opportunities at better schools.”

So in his second year of junior college, he focused in on fine tuning his game at NEO, which definitely showed on the court.

Jeremy Jackson, NEO A&M head men’s basketball coach, says, “On the rebounding, I mean, he averaged a little over 10 rebounds a game, and he had some 17 rebounds a game type-games, and he had some nine rebounds a game, but that was pretty reliable. His ability to crash and to slash on the court was unreal.”

Several other Division I programs took notice of Mogbo’s sophomore year performance, but he felt the right fit for him was at Missouri State University.

Mogbo says, “I loved it there. The program definitely fit my game. My defense would be a great attribute because with my length and my size, and my athletic ability, I can guard [positions] one through five. So it would be a definitely a great opportunity for me.

Mogbo isn’t the only one of his teammates to reach the Division I level this next season. Coach Jackson says he, and those teammates, serve as inspiration to future NEO players.

“That helps kids to realize that we do a really good job here and it’s not because it’s me or because of our assistant coaches,” Jackson says. “It’s just hard work. And that’s what we do here is we work hard for these guys, because we asked them to work very hard for us.”

Mogbo will be joining a Missouri State team that went 23-11 overall last season, and finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference.