Raiders load up with new recruits
Brian is one thoroughbred away from hitting a recruiting trifecta.
The Southern Oregon University men&
s basketball coach will lose a couple of horses to graduation, but he&
s trying to restock his stable largely with players from the region.
On Thursday, signed Grants Pass post Jason Nunnemaker to a scholarship.
Two weeks ago, high-scoring Roseburg post Eric Thompson inked with the Raiders.
As recruiting enters the stretch run, only Hidden Valley guard Jordan Hayter is left to be reined in from southern Oregon.
s what we&
said , who, in 10 seasons with the Raiders, has elevated the program to national prominence. &
He told us we&
re No. — right now.&
The 6-foot-3 Hayter averaged 16.2 points as Hidden Valley won the Class 3A state championship with a 27-1 record, and he was named state player of the year.
was on the ground floor in recruiting Hayter and was cognizant of the Mustang star&
s athleticism &
Hayter was one of the state&
s top defenders and excels in the pole vault and hurdles in track. But the coach gained even more of an appreciation when Hayter played pick-up ball with the Raiders last week.
I knew he was good,&
said . &
t know he was that good.&
— — — Nunnemaker
Hayter confirmed SOU is his top choice. He&
s comfortable with the coaches and players and is intrigued about playing with so many friends from southern Oregon. (The Raiders also have former Grants Pass player Matt Cowell and &
s son, Josh, who played at Ashland.)
Recruiting interest in Hayter escalated after the state tournament. He&
ll visit NCAA Division II University of Alaska Anchorage late next week and expects to make his decision upon returning.
In the meantime, he&
s visiting community colleges in the Albany and Portland areas this weekend to showcase his skills. playing junior-college ball, he could transfer to a four-year program without restriction.
His dream has been to play at the highest level, NCAA Division I.
t want to rush into anything,&
said Hayter, who also received late interest from Western Oregon.
feels good about SOU&
s chances, but, he said, &
in recruiting, until you have them, you don&
t have them.&
Two other players, both from College of the Siskiyous, have signed with the Raiders: 6-4, 250-pound post Chris Rodriguez; and 6-0 off-guard Daveoncq Fleming.
hopes to sign three more players, including two point guards.
The Raiders, ranked No. — in the nation for part of last season, went 23-9 and lost in the first round of the national tournament.
Gone from that team are five seniors, including Shea Washington, the school&
s all-time leading scorer, and fellow post Jeff Williams, a strong rebounder.
acknowledged that Washington is incomparable, but he said SOU went a long way toward filling the post holes with Thompson and Nunnemaker.
t think we&
d ever get two high school post kids in the same class as good as the two we have coming in,&
said . &
s just not going to happen in our situation.&
The 6-7 Thompson was the state&
s second-leading scorer at 25.2 points per game. He began high school as a point guard, but a growth surge landed him in the paint.
We think he&
s as skilled a big man as you&
said , noting Thompson is comfortable with his back to the basket as well as facing it or taking the ball outside. &
ve seen him take a rebound, go the length of the floor and make the right play. We think he has a chance to be a special player at our level.&
Thompson, who was shunned in all-state voting &
t receive so much as honorable mention &
developed strong ties to the SOU coaches and &
really felt wanted.&
When he saw the Raiders play and realized how strong they were, &
that made me want to go even more.&
Nunnemaker, 6-7, averaged 15.5 points per game for Grants Pass and is expected to provide a strong post presence.
t fill Shea&
said Nunnemaker, &
but I can sure try.&
labeled him &
much more of a post guy.
The good thing about Jason is he&
s a very good post defender.&
The idea of joining Thompson and possibly Hayter, with whom Nunnemaker was a teammate for years before Hayter transferred to Hidden Valley, is particularly appealing.
We know how each other works,&
said Nunnemaker, who has played on all-star teams with Thompson. &
As far as college, you usually don&
t have players coming in who have played together. It should be easy to come together.&