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2013 Sun Belt Men's Basketball Signing Class Releases


2013 Sun Belt Men's Basketball Signing Class Releases

Here's what is going on around the league for the 2013 men's Basketball Signing Classes, courtesy of institutional releases…


ASU Men’s Hoops Inks Forward Xavier Dupree

Credit Arkansas State Athletics

JONESBORO, Ark. – The Arkansas State University men’s basketball program has secured another solid addition to the recruiting class of 2013 as prep standout forward Xavier Dupree (Houston, Texas/Trent International) signed his national letter-of-intent this Thursday (Nov. 15) to attend and play men’s basketball at ASU, starting with the 2013-14 season.

The 6-8, 200-pound Dupree will embark on his senior year this 2012-13 season at Trent International High School in Houston, Texas.

“One of our needs was a long, athletic shot blocker and Xavier brings that to our team,” said ASU head coach John Brady.  “He’s one of the most athletic players I watched this past summer.  His length will pay immediate dividends for us and he also has the ability to step out and be an effective 15-foot jump shooter as well.”

Dupree was recognized as one of the top 35 players in the state of Texas by Texas Basketball along with being listed among the RCS Sports’ top 15 players in the City of Houston metropolitan area.  RCS Sports is regarded as the top source of Greater Houston Boys Basketball.  A first-team all-district performer as a junior at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, Dupree averaged 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 4.0 blocked shots per game in the 2011-12 season.

Dupree also was a solid contributor in AAU basketball as a member of the Rytes Warriors this past 2012 summer in which he totaled per game averages of 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocked shots.

Dupree joins guards Sean Gardner (Collierville, Tenn./Motlow College) and Jammar “Mookie” Sturdivant (Lapanto/East Poinsett County) as current A-State early signees.

FAU Men's Hoops Inks Two in Early Signing Period

Credit Florida Atlantic Athletics

BOCA RATON, Fla - The Florida Atlantic men's basketball program and head coach Mike Jarvis have signed Chris Jenkins (Gladstone, NJ-Gil St. Bernard's High School) and Grant Pelchen (Jupiter-Jupiter High School) to National Letters of Intent. The duo will attend FAU and play for the Owls in 2013-14.

Chris Jenkins in a 6-foot-4 inch shooting guard who averaged 17 points a game as a junior at Morristown-Beard High School before transferring to St. Bernard's for his senior year. Jenkins will be expected to help fill the void created by the graduation of Greg Gantt at the end of this season.

"Chris is a great shooter, and you can never have enough shooters. He will play right away and play a lot. Exactly how much he plays, will probably depend on how well he plays defense," said FAU head coach Mike Jarvis. "With the inside game we will have, there will be plenty of open shots to be had and Chris will have an opportunity to capitalize on those."

Grant Pelchen is a 6-foot-10 center who averaged 8.3 points and 7.1 rebounds last season for the Warriors. Pelchen is also a stout defensive presence, blocking 3.7 shots a game as a junior. He helped Jupiter to an appearance in the 8A Regional Quarterfinals. Pelchen will add to what promises to be a strong interior game next season, with Dragan Sekelja and Justin Raffington already in the fold.

"Grant is a sleeper, some people might call him a project, but he's a good passer and he can shoot. The doctors told us that he might grow a little bit more, so he could be a seven-footer before it's all said and done," said Jarvis. "We will not only have three big guys next season, but three very good big guys, which is a luxury very few teams around the country have."

"They are both excellent students, who we expect to succeed both on and off the court."

Cajuns Add Jackson & Register During Early Signing Period

Credit Louisiana-Lafayette Athletics

LAFAYETTE, La. - Already off to a 1-0 start to the 2012-13 season, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team added a pair of victories as Kimani Jackson (Arlington, TX/Seguin) and Hayward Register (Lafayette, La./Comeaux) have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Louisiana and play basketball beginning in the fall of 2013.

Head coach Bob Marlin made the announcement on Friday.  The NCAA early signing period runs Nov. 14-21.

“This is a very good start to our recruiting effort for the year,” Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said.  “With such a young team this year, we had very few areas where we needed to add youth and the signing of Kimani and Hayward fills two of those spots.

“Kimani will help us to improve on our size and depth in the post while Hayward gives us another perimeter scorer,”Marlin added.

Jackson, a 6-7, 220-pound forward, was a pre-season all-league selection this year.  He is averaging 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and 1.8 blocks this season at Arlington’s Seguin High.

Ranked as the No. 88 player in the State of Texas by TexasHoops.com, Jackson played his junior year at Plano West High, helping the team to a 26-9 record and a second place district finish.

Jackson plays for former Cajun Bobby Thigpen (1989-92) on a team that had three players sign letters of intent this week.

“Kimani is a post player who can play inside out and should be a physical presence in the post for us,” Marlin said.  “We think that he is still growing so 6-7 could become 6-8 or 6-9 and he has the type of frame that will allow him to fill out.”

Register, a 6-2, 170-pound shooting guard, earned second team all-state honors a year ago after averaging 20.1 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, helping Comeaux High to a 23-11 record.

Named the 2011-12 All-Acadiana MVP by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser and the district MVP, scoring a season-high 37 points against Westgate in the regional semi-finals of the state tourney.

“Hayward is a natural scorer who has the quickness to get himself to the basket and shooting range to score from the perimeter,” Marlin said.  “We also believe that he has the potential to develop into a good defensive player as well.”

“It is important to the program that we annually bring the best players from the Acadiana area into the program, and Hayward has the tools necessary to excel.”

The addition of Jackson and Register leave the Cajuns with one scholarship opening for next year.

Men’s Basketball Signs Four in Early Signing Period

Credit Louisiana-Monroe Athletics

MONROE, La. - ULM head coach Keith Richard announced on Wednesday the signing of four student-athletes on the first day of the early signing period. Joining the Warhawks next season will be junior college big men Tylor Ongwae (Eldoret, Kenya), Marvin Williams (Memphis, Tenn.) and Demondre Harvey (Minden, La.), as well as prep school point guard Nick Coppola (Richmond, Va.).

"This recruiting class is another step in our rebuilding process," Richard said. "We feel that all four of these young men bring qualities that will help improve our team next season."

Ongwae, a 6-7 small forward, currently plays at Ranger Junior College in Texas, where he is averaging 18.5 points and eight rebounds per game this season. He is also shooting 51 percent from the field. Ongwae will have two years of eligibility remaining when he joins the Warhawks next season.

Williams, a 6-8 center, is in his first season at Northwest Florida Junior College, currently the No. 2 team in the country. Williams is averaging nine points and six rebounds this season and is shooting 69 percent from the field. Williams will have two years to play for the Warhawks.

Harvey, a 6-7 power forward, is at Pearl River Junior College in Mississippi after starring at Minden High School. Harvey is averaging 8.7 points, eight rebounds and is shooting 61 percent from the field this season at Pearl River. He will have three years of eligibility remaining at ULM.

Coppola, a 6-0 point guard, averaged 11 points and seven assists per game last season to help Benedictine College Prep to a 28-7 record. He tallied 17 points and five assists per game as a sophomore.

Davis inks four to National Letters of Intent

Credit Middle Tennessee Athletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Blue Raider men's basketball head coach Kermit Davis has signed four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The class, which includes three from the state of Tennessee, will begin their Middle Tennessee careers in the 2013-14 season.

"We're extremely excited about the class we've put together," Davis said. "I give a lot of credit to our staff. They spent numerous hours and worked really, really hard. We've got three Tennessee kids in the class, and I love our length and size. It's a really good start for the November signing.

"This is going to be a critical class. We lose six really good players and a lot of leadership, but we have a good nucleus coming back. They're good guys that fit into our program and you have to include Jaqawn Raymond in that class as a transfer from N.C. State. I couldn't be happier."

The class is tied for 34th in the country according to HoopScoopOnilne.com.

Josh Phillips

Forward // 6-8 // Hendersonville, Tenn. // Pope John Paul II
Earned TSWA All-State honors last year … Named to the All-Sumner County Team in 2011-12 … Led JPII to a 20-11 record last season … Averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior under head coach Kip Brown.

Davis on Phillips: "He's a really good athlete. He's still very young and also has a great upside. He has a chance to lead the state in rebounding this year. We like him a ton and he's a great student."

Marcus Tarrance

Guard // 6-6 // Memphis, Tenn. // Eastern Oklahoma State College // Kingsbury High School
NJCAA First Team All-American in 2011-12 … Averaged 18 points and 3.7 assists last season … Led Eastern Oklahoma to a 32-5 record and the NJCAA tournament semifinals … Named the Region 2 player of the year last season … One of 12 players named to the national all-tournament team … Will have two years of eligibility at MT.

Davis on Tarrance: "With the loss of our senior guards after this year, Marcus is a great get for our program. He has experience and has won a ton of games at Eastern Oklahoma. He's very versatile and can play the 3, 2 or 1. He's a good shooter and has really good ball skills. I think he can come in and help us immediately."

Reggie Upshaw

Forward // 6-7 // Chattanooga, Tenn. // Baylor School
Averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks as a junior under head coach Austin Clark … Also played football (wide receiver) and was a member of the track and field team, winning the state title in high jump last year and competing in the state championship with the 4x200-meter relay team.

Davis on Upshaw: "Reggie is an outstanding basketball player. He is extremely talented, athletic and really skilled. He can play the 2, 3 or stretch 4. He's going to strictly concentrate on basketball for the next four years, and his upside is tremendous."

Eric Wortham Jr.

Guard // 6-6 // McDonough, Ga. // Eagle's Landing High School
Named Region 4-AAA player of the year after leading Eagle's Landing to a 28-4 record and final four state appearance as a junior … Averaged 14.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists last year under head coach Clay Crump.

Davis on Wortham: "He's a guy with great length that can play multiple positions. He was MVP of his region as a junior, one of the best regions in Georgia. He's a versatile player that impacts winning."

USA Men's Basketball Adds Three To 2013-14 Class

Credit South Alabama Athletics

MOBILE, Ala. – University of South Alabama head coach Ronnie Arrow has announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the men’s basketball program for the 2013-14 season.

The three players added to next season’s roster are Ken Williams, Terence Johnson and Vieux Kande.

“There’s no question that we feel like the guards that we’re bringing in are guards that fit our system,” Arrow said. “They can shoot and they can make things happen. We feel like they’re all good citizens, come from good families and they fit our up-tempo system. Vieux is more of a power player. He’s more like Augustine (Rubit) than Javier (Carter). Vieux knows he’s a post man; he doesn’t have any aspirations of going outside. He’s intelligent on the court, really strong and for his size he can run. He fits what we want to do with our inside guys.”

Williams, a 5-foot-11, 170 pound point guard, and the son of former University of Houston star Kenneth “Juice” Williams (1976-80), is currently a senior at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas.

“I’ve known him and his family since he was about five years old,” Arrow said. “His father was one of the best shooters to come out of the University of Houston. He was there right before ‘Phi Slamma Jamma.’ What Ken brings to the table is the ability to shoot and handle the ball. He’s a three-star basketball player that was recruited heavily. We’re very happy to have the caliber of player that he is.”

Williams earned a three-star rating from Scout and is the No. 28 player ranked in TexasHoops.com’s class of 2013. RCSSports.com lists him as the No. 11 player in the Houston area.

As a sophomore, Williams averaged 24.6 points per game, thanks in part to 57 conversions from behind the 3-point arc and a 79.1 shooting percentage from the free throw line. He led the Knights to the Southwest Prepatory Conference championship game where they lost to St. John’s on a buzzer-beater.

The following season he averaged 19.6 points per contest and led the team to a 30-4 overall record.

A three-time All-Southwest Prepatory honoree, Williams was named Third Team All-Greater Houston by the Houston Chronicle earlier this month.

“He’s a winner,” Arrow said. “Wherever he’s been, he’s won. There are three things you always want in your program: good citizens, good shooters and winners, and he has all three attributes.”

Johnson is entering his fourth year as a starter at Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School, where he has led the Bucks to a 42-10 combined record over the last two seasons. Last season he averaged 21.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest as the Bucks posted a 22-5 mark and a spot in the Class 8A regional championship game. He earned First Team All-Broward County honors from both the Miami Herald and the Sun Sentinel, and was named Second Team All-State by SourceHoops.com.

“With Terence and Ken, we feel like that we have a backcourt in the making that will be as good as any that we play,” Arrow said.

The 6-foot-4 swing player averaged a double-double in his sophomore campaign with 14.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest. He also dished out 2.1 assists per outing.

The Herald also tabbed him to their All-Broward County Third Team after a freshman season that saw him put up averages of 12.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

“He’s strong and likes to guard,” Arrow said. “He is more of a scorer than just a shooter.”

Kande, 6-foot-9 forward, currently attends the Sagemont School in Weston, Fla. The Dakar, Senegal native is in his second year of playing basketball after attending SEEDS Academy in his home country.

“What we wanted is a true post man who wants the ball and doesn’t mind getting hit,” Arrow stated. “When the ball goes up, he goes and gets it; he doesn’t care if there’s one guy around it or three guys. He feels like every ball that comes off the rim is his.”

After coming off the bench last season, he has moved into a starting role this season and is averaging 16.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks through two games. In Sagemont’s season opener, he poured in 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and made it two straight double-doubles in his second game with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and he added seven blocks.

“Vieux is a high-energy, long, athletic post player,” Sagemont head coach Adam Ross said. “He’s a guy that plays with incredible intensity and loves playing the game of basketball. He has a tremendous work ethic and has turned himself into a very good high school post player in a matter of 12 months. His best basketball is in front of him.”

South Alabama is off to its first 2-0 start since the 1996-97 season after defeating No. 25/24 Florida State to open the new campaign. The Jaguars went 17-12 last year and finished second in the Sun Belt Conference East Division.

WKU Signs Alassane Kah in Early Signing Period

Credit WKU Athletics

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU head men's basketball coach Ray Harper announced Wednesday the signing of Alassane Kah to a National Letter of Intent. Kah will join the Hilltoppers in 2013-14.

A 6-9, 210-pound forward who hails from Senegal, Kah is currently enrolled in postgraduate school at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Va., after graduating from Walnut Ridge High School in Columbus, Ohio in 2012. Kah moved to the United States to attend Walnut Ridge, where he helped the team to a 21-2 record in 2011-12 and was named to the Columbus All-City Team.

Kah chose WKU over offers from Richmond, Rhode Island, Delaware, St. Bonaventure, Bowling Green and Bethune-Cookman.

Harper on Kah:

"We are so excited about Alassane and his potential. He is an unbelievable athlete and a great kid, and he is a perfect fit for what we were looking for. He will fit in nicely here at WKU, and I know that he is excited to join the program and get to work. We could not be more pleased that Alassane is going to be a Hilltopper."

Mavs sign Anthony Walker and Brandon Williams

Credit Texas-Arlington Athletics

ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington men's basketball signed Anthony Walker and Brandon Williams to National Letters of Intent, Mavericks coach Scott Cross announced Friday. Both players will join the Mavericks for the 2013-14 season.

"They bring a lot of size and athleticism," Cross said. "That is one thing that we wanted to do is upgrade our height because we have maximized what we can get out of our guys. We want to take the next step."

Walker is currently a 6-9 sophomore forward from South Plains College. He will enter UT Arlington as a junior and have two years of eligibility remaining.

Walker played in 25 games last season for the Texans, who went undefeated season and beat second-ranked Northwest Florida State College 81-68 for the NJCAA Championship. Walker recorded season highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds during a 106-62 victory over Frank Phillips College on Feb. 16.

"Anthony is 6-9 with a 7-foot wingspan, and he jumps out of the gym and is a high level athlete with his best basketball ahead of him," Cross said. "He was on a national championship team with South Plains."

Walker graduated from Johnson High School in San Antonio in 2011. He was selected to play in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game, scoring 11 points for the South Squad.

Walker is currently playing for the defending NJCAA Division I National Champions South Plains Texans, who are currently ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA National poll. Former UT Arlington and current NBA D-League player Bo Ingram, and current Mavericks forward Greg Gainey also played at South Plains.

"Anthony is a bigger Greg Gainey," South Plains coach Steve Green said. "He's a very explosive athlete and excellent shot blocker who will thrive in Scott's system. It's a great decision for Anthony and for UTA."

Williams is a 6-9 center from Episcopal High School in Houston, Texas. He is ranked as the 17th best prospect in Houston for the class of 2013 by RCS Sports. Williams played for Texas Pro this past summer.

"Williams is at least 6-9 and a guy that can play the '4' or the '3' down the road," Cross said. "He can shoot the ball. It allows us to take the next step with those two guys. They can both really play and can likely play at a highly level than even us."
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