Sunday, November 30, 2014

Recruiting Rundown: Eastern Washington, Idaho, Idaho State, Montana

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.

Eastern Washington
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.

Idaho State
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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  1. don't forget about Sac State's early signings.

    A 6-foot-2, 175-pound combo guard from Taipei City, Taiwan, Wu moved to the United States prior to his sophomore year of high school and has already played for a pair of conference championship teams. His first stop was Union High School in Vancouver, Wash., where he helped the team to a 16-8 overall record, a 9-1 league mark and a 4A Greater St. Helens District championship. Wu then moved south to Modesto Christian High School as he could stay just one year as an exchange student at Union High School.

    Wu was part of a Modesto Christian team that won the Div. III Sac-Joaquin Section championship and the Trans Valley League title after posting a 24-9 overall record and 12-0 league mark.

    The athletic and sharp shooting Wu was one of eight all-conference selections from a talented Crusader squad. He was named honorable mention all-league after averaging 9.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting .501 from the floor and .400 from the 3-point line. Wu will be a team co-captain on this year's Modesto Christian squad.

    As a sophomore at Union High School in 2012-13, Wu served as the team's sixth man while averaging 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

    "Jeff is a very versatile guard. Our philosophy with guards is we want guys that can dribble, pass and shoot, and Jeff does all of that very well," Katz said. "With his physical maturity and strength, he has a college-ready body right now. He has great hands, and every time the ball comes off his finger tips, you think its going in the basket. Jeff comes from an outstanding high school program, and a long line of successful players have come out of Modesto Christian


    A 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward from Manteca, Calif., Patton will redshirt the 2015-16 season with the Hornets before competing with the team as a redshirt freshman in 2016-17. The long and bouncy Patton has spent the last three seasons at Manteca's Sierra High School where he will enter his third year with the varsity squad.

    In his first full season with the varsity team last year, Patton helped the Timberwolves to their second consecutive Valley Oak League championship as well as a 20-7 overall record and 12-2 league mark. He received numerous accolades, including Valley Oak League MVP, All-Area MVP and first team all-VOL defense.

    Patton finished the season with averages of 11.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocked shots per game while shooting .620 from the field. In fact, his 48 blocked shots set the Sierra High School single-season record. He also recorded the first triple-double in school history when he tallied 18 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocked shots against Weston Ranch High School.

    As a sophomore in 2012-13, Patton was averaging 15.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.0 blocked shots per game for the junior varsity squad before he was moved up to varsity prior to the playoffs. That team lost in the Div. III Sac-Joaquin Section championship game to Modesto Christian High School.

    Patton's brother, Jerrod, currently plays basketball at Fresno State.

    "Joshua has a huge upside, and is a really long and athletic player with big shoulders," Katz said. "He is a little thin right now, but he will eventually be very strong and powerful. He comes from a great high school program, has been taught fundamentally from the ground up, and will get nothing but better every single day. We really like his skill set, and he has the potential be a very good shooter."

    Sacramento State, which won both its exhibition games last week, opens the regular season this Friday at 13th-ranked Gonzaga. Tip is 6:05 p.m., and the game will be televised live on Root Sports Northwest. The Hornets return all five starters and nine players overall from last season's team which finished 14-16 overall and 10-10 in the Big Sky Conference.

    1. Yep, I will get to them in a couple days... tackling all the teams at once was just a little too much, so splitting things up!

  2. I live in Utah (and have for many years) and coached JUCO ball here. I have seen many players from this state and Tyler Brimhall may be the best shooter I have seen. He ranks with TJ Haws (BYU recruit now on a mission) and Brian Green (led the nation in 3 point shooting at Utah St.) as the best shooters from Utah.
    As you comment on others I will give you my assessment, but Brimhall could be a nice player in the Big Sky.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, always nice to hear from people who are familiar with these players firsthand!