New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | February 24, 2024

Former New Kent standout takes team to NCAA tourney

By Andre Jones | March 19, 2014 10:15 pm

New Kent native Jamion Christian (right) protests a call made by an official during a Jan. 3 game at Norfolk State University.

Alan Chamberlain photo

New Kent native and former basketball standout Jamion Christian, now head coach of the Mt. St. Mary’s Mountaineers, led his team to an 88-71 victory over Robert Morris University to earn a berth in the NCAA Championship tournament.

Christian’s team entered the tournament as the fourth seed. After opening the playoffs with a thrilling 19-point come from behind victory against St. Francis-Brooklyn at home, he led the Mountaineers to a road victory at Wagner, before clinching the championship trophy at Robert Morris.

Mt. St. Mary’s led by as many as 20 in the first half and 19 in the second half and never trailed against the Colonials. The team finished 16-16 for the year.

Christian commented about the feelings stored up inside of him to reach the national tournament during a Mar. 13 phone interview.

“Growing up in New Kent, I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder,” he said, commenting on how the county is often overlooked because of the surrounding cities of Williamsburg and Richmond. “I wanted to come out of here and show everybody, even myself, that I could do something and that something would be big.”

“Often times as a young kid shooting basketball in my backyard I would imagine this moment of making it to the tournament,” continued the head coach. “Now, I had the opportunity to bring a mid-major program that is overlooked and take them to the next level.

While Christian never appeared in the NCAA tournament as a player, he did not want his players to experience those feelings.

“Not being able to go to the tournament as a player was disappointing, but that’s when I turned all my attention to coaching,” he said. “Being able to perform in the spotlight on national television and have these guys come out and execute the way they did was extremely rewarding and I couldn’t be happier for this group of guys.

Christian added in his thanks from the community and just the anxiousness to return back to the area.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much I and my team appreciate the support,” Christian said. “When this is all over, I just want to come down there, relax, and take a few days off and just do something simple like chill in my parents’ house.”

But for now, the Mountaineers are projected to be a 16-seed and play in an opening round game either next Tuesday (Mar. 18) or next Wednesday (Mar. 19) to open up tournament play in Dayton, Ohio. The Mt. St. Mary’s head coach sent a direct message to future competition in that area.

“We want Dayton,” the coach said emphatically. “We want that national spotlight and we want to show the world what The Mount can do.”

Mount St. Mary’s started off cold in the Tuesday matchup, eventually falling to the University of Albany 71-64 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament Tuesday night. Christian, however, sent a text message Wednesday morning thanking those who supported the journey of the team.

“I just want to say thanks to all of the fans, family, and friends who continue to encourage me and my players,” he said.

Christian is in his second year as the head coach of Mt. St. Mary’s. He attended the school and played on the team from 2000-04.