For all of October and the first half of November, I was working on previewing the Big Sky, culminating in this long-winded diatribe about the conference. In this, I missed a lot of recruiting news. In a series of three posts over the next week or so, I will go through the teams and the recruits they have signed thus far, in alphabetical order.
The Eagles signed two recruits in the early signing period, both guys that will be freshmen next season. One is guard Michael Wearne from Australia, continuing the Eagles foreign pipeline. Last year, he led his team to an undefeated season while averaging 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists.
Coach Hayford had this to say on him - "By our evaluation and most of the people we talked to in Australia, he is one of the top two point guards in that country. We are excited to sign him because he had other options and received other scholarship offers from universities here in America. We feel very fortunate that he selected us. He's a very athletic, quick guard. He can score off the dribble and he can shoot it off the pass. He can penetrate, and we think he is capable of leading our fast-break offense."
With Drew Brandon graduating, Wearne will team with current redshirt Will Ferris to give them some backcourt options.
The other signee was 6'7'' forward Jesse Hunt out of California. He averaged 17 and 10 last year, and is a skilled forward that can drive to the basket or shoot it from the outside, similar to other EWU bigs. He was also born in Australia, but has lived in the USA for his high school career. He will continue to add more depth and versatile talent in the EWU frontcourt.
The Vandals got a commitment from 6'4'' guard Tyler Brimhall, who hails from Logan, UT. A three year player for his high school team, Brimhall averaged 17 PPG last year as a junior. Last week, he scored 32 points on six threes in a win, showing his scoring and shooting prowess. Head coach Don Verlin called him an, "excellent shooter" while also mentioning that he "has really improved his ability to finish at the rim." He will be a shooting guard for the Vandals, and looks like a nice prospect that will score a lot of points at Idaho.
The Bengals have signed a junior college player in 6'2'' guard Ali Faruqbey. He is a sophomore at Arizona Western College who scored 16.3 PPG last year as a freshman. He shot 46% from the floor, and 38.6% from the three-point line. He looks like a great fit for them, as they are in need of offense and shooting. With Chris Hansen being a senior, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Faruqbey step into the starting lineup next year, though that speculation is a little soon. He should at least provide some perimeter scoring for them.
Last May, they also reportedly signed a guard named Anthony Knight, though I am unsure if he qualified or is playing anywhere else.
In Travis DeCuire's first full recruiting cycle, he has a couple of early commits coming to Montana next year. DeCuire's California roots may have helped in bringing in CA guard Michael Oguine, a 6'1'' guard from Los Angeles. He averaged 12.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG,m 2.8 APG, and 2.4 SPG, and was named a first-team selection by a couple of LA newspapers. He scored 32 points in last year's state semifinal game, and 26 in the championship, which seems to have made an impression on Coach DeCuire. He should be a nice pickup for their backcourt.
Also signed was 6'7'' forward Jared Samuelson, who averaged 18 and 6 last year playing for Billings West. He can hit from outside, ans he made 40% from three-point range last season. He is a three-year starter who can handle and pass the ball. It seems as though DeCuire is continuing to recruit forwards that can play the three or the four, and shoot the ball from the outside. Samuelson fits that mold.
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