Wilson adds nine to men's basketball roster heading into year two at ASC
Height highlights newest crop of Grizzlies
ALAMOSA, Colo. – Adams State head men’s basketball coach Louis Wilson is pleased to announce the signing of nine new players who will be joining the Grizzlies for the 2011-12 season, and with six players over six feet, four inches tall, it’s a group that doesn’t lack size.
This year’s recruiting class includes a transfer senior, five transfer juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen. The class is geographically diverse, hailing from Alaska, California, Colorado and Oregon and Brazil.
“We added size, athleticism and depth,” said Wilson, who last season led the Grizzlies to a NCAA Division II-era (1992-93/present) record 20 wins and an NCAA tournament appearance during his first as head coach. “This is a very good league, and we will have to do more than physically improve to go where we want to go.”
The tallest of the class is 6’9” Vinicius Novaes (Jundiai, Brazil), who weighs in at 255 pounds. Novaes comes to ASC from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he helped lead the Badgers to an 18-13 record in 2010-11, as well a Region 18 tournament appearance.
“Vinny gives us obvious size, but is also highly skilled in the post with a nice face-up perimeter jump shot,” said Wilson. “He played a high level junior college, but I believe he is a Divison I talent. He is strong, smart, and has a chance to be an immediate and game-changing impact for us.” Along with junior Jack Osborn (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia), Wilson believes that Novaes will give the Grizzlies depth at a strong position in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC)."
Both junior Kaimyn Pruitt (Los Angeles, Calif.) and freshman Ron Fore (Salida, Colo.) come in at 6’8” and 220 pounds. Pruitt was a First Team All-South Coast Conference performer at Mt. SAC, where he tallied 247 points durin the 2010-11 season and grabbed 8.5 boards per game.
“Long, athletic, skilled and talented are the best ways to describe Kaimyn,” Wilson declared. “I coached in the Big West Conference, and he is a Big West talent. Every player has to adjust from junior college to the four year level, but when he makes that adjustment, he will be one of the more talented and effective players in the RMAC.”
Fore, a product of Salida High School, was a 2010 Denver Post 3A All-Colorado Honorable Mention, is described by Wilson as a diamond in the rough. “We found out about him by chance, and when we investigated him we realized we were lucky but, as they say, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” commented Wilson.
“He can shoot, is athletic enough to play our way and is only a freshman, and at the same time he adds critical size and depth."
Senior Tyler Barnes (Tualatin, Ore.) joins the Grizzlies after having gained experience at both the junior college and NCAA Division II level. He was a Second Team All-Kansas Jayhawk Conference selection in 2009-10, and spent last season at Montana State-Billings where he averaged 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Wilson describes Barnes as being “not only experienced, but versatile. He improves our skill level and he gives us great depth. He can face up, is athletic enough to compete around the basket, has great length and can run. We like to run. Tyler will fit in well."
Alamosa High School grad Randall Loch (Alamosa, Colo.) checks in for the Grizzlies at 6’4” and 180 pounds. Loch averaged 21.1 points and was named as the Intermountain League Player of the Year following the 2010-11 season, and averaged 18.2 points per game as junior. He was also a second-team all-state selection while leading the Mean Moose to a 15-8 record, a district championships and trip to the 3A state tournament second round appearance.
“Randall is a local kid who demonstrates that the San Luis Valley has quality kids with the talent to play at the collegiate level,” said Wilson. “His skill set fits our way of playing, as he is an outstanding young man who can shoot the ball. It doesn’t mater where a kid comes from, but when a local kid demonstrates that he has what t takes to make us better, we are very proud to keep them home.”
Joining Loch as an incoming player with strong shooting ability is junior Marcus Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.).
“He is another player we were fortunate to pick up who played at the junior college level for a good coach at a good program,” and Wilson added that he believes “Marcus can play both the three and four positions for us.”
Junior James Lake (Fairfield, Calif.) and sophomore Justin Kauffman (Anchorage, Alaska), both coming in at 6’2”, are players that Wilson describes as the most athletic of the class. Lake, who last played at Delta College (Calif.), was the Mustangs leading scoring and a deep threat last winter, averaging 17 points per game whie draining 47 3-pointers.
“James is a skilled athlete who can shoot the ball with range and is explosive,” Wilson noted. “He’s built like a running back, and I think his physicality can be hard to match up with. His impact will be dictated by his ability to adjust to how hard we want to play, and once he consistently does that, the sky’s the limit.”
Kauffman, too, is built like a football and with good reason. He was named Alaska’s 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in football, and is currently a redshirt-freshman for the Grizzly football team. Kauffman spent the 2010-11 year at Laramie County Community College, where he played basketball and helped LCCC to advance to the third round of the Region IX tournament and a 20-13 overall record.
“Justin played for (Adams State Assistant) Coach Chuck White in Alaska on Coache White’s last state championships team. I have known Coach White for close to 40 years, and we have talked about every kid he has coached in his legendary career,” said Wilson. “He has never spoken more proudly and positively about a player than he does about Justin, who his also playing football and will redshirt for us this season. He is the definition of a winner and I am excited to coach him.”
Junior Shaheed Young (San Francisco, Calif.) joins the Grizzlies as a point guard following a stint at San Jose City College, and before that, as a standout for San Leandro High School.
“Shaheed comes to us from one of the best programs in junior college basketball, where he played for a legendary coach who is a stickler for details, execution and character,” Wilson said. “He has been coached the right way and he is a winner. He helps us improve at the most important position on the court with his speed and quickness, and he will be a great fit for our system.”
The Grizzlies are scheduled to kick-off their 2011-12 season with a pair of exhibtion games in Utah, where they’ll take on the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 4, and Utah State in Ogden on Saturday, Nov. 5.