Here's the latest installment looking at incoming players to conference programs.
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Skylar Jones, 6-3 guard, Mount Vernon H.S. of Alexandria, Va.
He averaged 19 points, six rebounds and three steals per game this past season.
“Pun intended, the sky is the limit for Skylar," said Niagara coach Joe Mihalich. "He’s athletic, rangy and can do a lot of good things.”
Marvin Jordan, 5-11 guard, Manual H.S., Peoria, Ill.
No senior season statistics available. He averaged 11 points and 4.1 assists per game as a junior.
A true point guard who originally committed to Ball State but that school controversially withdrew its scholarship offer this spring when denied Jordan admission to the school for what it termed academic reasons. Jordan's high school coach, though, contends, Ball State pulled Jordan's scholarship to give it to a player it liked better.
Malcolm Lemmons, 6-3 guard, Gonzaga H.S., Washington, D.C.
Lemmons averaged 11.1 points anbd 6.3 rebounds per game this past season.
Accounts in D.C.-area newspapers actually list Lemmons at 6-4 and his position as a wing forward. He played at Gonzaga alongsise two other highly recruited guards, Duke-bound Tyler Thornton and Richmond signee Cedrick Lindsay.“He kind of played in the shadows of those guys,” Mihalich said. “We got a steal.”
Antoine Mason, 6-2 guard, New Rochelle, N.Y.
Mason averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game this past season.
The well-built Mason is the son of former NBA player Anthony Mason and, reportedly, has his dad's well-regarded work ethic. "He is a hard-shell guy, extremely competitive," said Mihalich. "The bigger the game, the tougher he gets.”
Joe Thomas, 6-7 forward, Michael M. Krop H.S., Miami, Fla.
He averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists per game this past season.
Thomas is already a strong inside player at 220 pounds. "He's an inside, back-to-the-basket player whose rate of improvement has been astronomical considering he hadn’t played much basketball up until the ninth grade,” Krop coach Marcos “Shakey” Rodriguez said. “Wide body, long arms, does most of his damage close to the basket. When he fills out, he’ll be about 240, 245 pounds. He’s very athletic, raw, still in the developing stages. Excellent rebounder, has to improve his shooting. He runs the floor, he can guard perimeter players. He loves the game and works hard. I think his best days are ahead of him.”
ANALYSIS: Niagara lost three standout perimeter players in Bilal Benn, Rob Garrison and Tyrone Lewis, so it's only natural that it would reload with an incoming group mostly devoted to perimeter performers. Jordan, according to reports, should be a nice addition to the program. Mason is also likely to be an immediate contributor.
Jazmyne Frost, 6-1 forward, Charles F. Brush H.S., South Euclid, Ohio
She averaged 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this past season.
"Jazmyne is a great athlete who will to battle on the boards for us,” said Niagara coach Kendra Faustin. “She will bring energy every time she steps on the court with her intensity, passion and emotion.”
Lauren Gatto, 6-2 center, Illinois-Chicago College
Gatto is a transfer after averaging 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this past season for Illinois-Chicago.
Gatto will sit out the 2010-11 season and will have three remaining seasons of eligibility beginning in 2011-12. She played a game against Niagara this past season, grabbing a career-high seven rebounds in the contest. “Lauren is incredibly talented offensively,” Faustin said. “She will add a scoring and rebounding presence to our post game.”
Kaitlin Gattuso, 6-1 forward, Seton La Salle H.S. of Pittsburgh
No senior season statistics available, but she averaged 15.7 points and 14.0 rebounds as a junior.
“Katie is the epitome of a team player,” Faustin said. “She is a great passer, rebounder and a true competitor.”
Chanel Johnson, 5-10 guard, Plainfield (N.J.) H.S.
Johnson averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals per game this past season at Plainfield.
“Chanel is an athletic scorer and rebounder who can really defend,” Faustin said. “She will be an asset on both ends of the floor.”
Noelle Zletni, 5-10 point guard, St. Theresa of Lisieux School in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
No statistics available.
Zletni has been part of the 2008 and 2009 Nike All Canada Prospect Camp Top 20 and was selected to the Team Ontario U-17 Development Team in 2008. Zletni was recently selected to play in the 2010 All Canada Classic at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, an event equivalent to the McDonald’s All-American Game. Zletni was a member of the Classic’s “Rising Star” team as a sophomore and junior and will now be featured on the “Rumble” team this season.
“Noelle is a versatile combo guard,” Faustin said. “Her mid-range game is remarkable and she is great at getting others shots, too.”
ANALYSIS: Niagara was the surprise team of the conference last season, and a strong incoming group should keep the Purple Eagles moving forward. Sources indicate that Zletni could be an immediate contributor, and that Gatto, who will sit out this season as a transfer, will also be a nice addition eventually.