Here's the latest list of recruits, and an analysis, of players joining men's and women's MAAC programs for the coming season.
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Marial Dhal, 7-3 center, Hillsboro (Tampa, Fla.) Community College
Dhal averaged 3.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game as a sophomore at Hillsboro CC last season.
He has two remaining seasons of eligibility. He will not only be the tallest player in Canisius history, but the tallest ever to play in the MAAC.
"Marial is someone who can change a game for obvious reasons," said Canisius coach Tom Parrotta said. "At 7-foot-3, he'll provide us with a versatility defensively that not a lot of teams enjoy. He can run and rebound effectively and it will be our job to catch his offensive game up to his defensive game. He's a big, long individual, obviously. Can he play? What we look for is can he run and can he catch the ball, and he can do those things. Can he defend? Absolutely. He can block shots and can change things defensively. Is his defense ahead of his offense? Absolutely."
Chris Manhertz, 6-5 forward, Cardinal Spellman H.S., NYC
Manhertz averaged 18.5 points and 13 rebounds and four blocked shots per game this past season.
"He fits the mold of what we look for out of the forward position," said Parrotta. "Chris is a very tough competitor with good size and a great motor. He can change ends of the floor very well, and we expect him to excel in the system we have in place here at Canisius. If there's anything around the rim, he'll get there. He's a very physical player, but he needs to expand his game a little. Rim-rattling dunks are great, but he needs to expand beyond that. From a strength standpoint, though, he's college-ready."
Ashton Khan, a 6-1 guard, Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, N.H.
Kahn, a native of Scarborough, Ont., averaged 10.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game this past season.
"He's a pivotal piece for us," said Parrotta. "He is extremely quick. He might not be quite as quick as Frank Turner was for us, but he's not far behind ... and that's quick. His speed and athleticism will compliment our offensive and defensive systems immediately. We fully expect him to contribute from day one."
Gaby Belardo, 6-2 point guard, South Florida University
Belardo is a transfer from South Florida of the Big East where he played just 50 total minutes and scored 13 points in 18 games as a freshman in the 2008-09 season.
He practiced with Canisius this past season and is eligible to play for the coming season. He has three remaining years of eligibility. "He didn't play much at South Florida, and didn't play for us last season so he's got two years of playing rust that we hope he can shake off very quickly," said Parrotta. 'But there were many days (at practice) when our coaches looked at each other and said that he was our best player on the floor. He can play."
David Santiago, a 6-4 guard, transfer from American University in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Santiago averaged 14 points, five rebounds and two assists per game at the Puerto Rico school this past season playing against other member schools in the Inter University League of Puerto Rico.
As a transfer Santiago will sit out the current season but will able to practice with Canisius. He will have three seasons of eligibility beginning with the 2011-12 season. "We are thrilled to have David join our program,” Parrotta said. “He is very athletic and he can really shoot the ball. What we really like is that he understands the game and he will have this year to get bigger and stronger. I feel that he will contribute greatly to our team when he is eligible to play.”
ANALYSIS: Canisius has four solid veterans returning to the starting lineup, but need Belardo to step in as Turner's replacement at point guard and really contribute if it hopes to move into the conference's upper level this season. And, indications are that Belardo, who can produce points himself but is reported to be more of a distributor than Turner, can do that. Manhertz and Khan should both provide considerable athleticism off the bench. Obviously, the 7-3 Dhal is an intriguing newcomer but appears more of a role player than a program changer.
Jennifer Lennox, 6-3 foward, Kitchener, Ontario
No statistics available for Lennox, who spent a year with the National Elite Development Academy. She was also a member of the Team Canada squad, along with current Golden Griffin Stephanie MacDonald, that participated in the U19 World Championships in Thailand last summer
“At 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Jen is a difficult matchup as she can post up and play on the perimeter,” said Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “We’re looking forward to taking advantage of those skills and using her in a variety of ways.”
Jennifer Morabito, 5-9 guard, Binghamton, (N.Y.) H.S.
No senior season stats available, but she averaged 19.5 points per game as a junior.
"I’ve watched Jen’s development during her career, and I’ve always been impressed with her tremendous work ethic and dedication to the game,” Zeh said. “She brings with her an outstanding skill package that will help us in a variety of ways.”
Jamie Ruttle, 6-3 foward, Notre Dame High School, Burlington, Ontario
No 2009-10 stats available, but Ruttle averaged 22 points per game in the 2008-09 season.
“Jamie has tremendous hands and great feet, and at 6-foot-3 it makes her very difficult to guard in the post,” Zeh said. “When you couple that with her improved ability to shoot the 3-point shot, we’re excited to see her continued development.”
Courtney Bovenkamp, 6-1 forward, General Amherst School, Amherstburg, Ontario
No 2009-10 stats available, but she averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game in the 2008-09 season.
VandeBovenkamp has played four seasons at General Amherst and was her league's MVP for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. “Courtney’s skill package for her height allows her to score in a variety of ways,” Zeh said. “She has a craftiness about her game that is very mature for her age.”
ANALYSIS: Lennox was recruited at higher levels, including by Wisconsin, mostly because of her height. With two 6-3 front-court players joining the program there might eventually be a change in the Golden Griffin's reliance on 3-point shooting at some point. Canisius graduated its top two scorers and three of its top four point-getters, so the incoming recruits are likely to get a good look and an opportunity to get into the playing group. Morabito appears to be the primary candidate for early playing time, although Lennox's length almost ensures that she'll be able to contribute relative soon, too.