Monday, July 18, 2011

A Look at Niagara Men's Reruiting

Here's the first in a series examining players joining MAAC teams, either via traditional recruiting or through a transfer situation.

Your scribe will offer opinions of players he knows something about, whether through personal observation on the AAU circuit, or by word of mouth from sources who have seen the player involved.

And, now, the annual cautionary note: We all love to talk about new players coming into the conference. They bring a fresh sense of hope, a promise of great days on the court.

But please remember that this is an inexact sience. For every impact transfer, like former Manhattan star Luis Flores or former Loyola standout Andre Collins, there are at least an equal number of players dropping down to the MAAC from higher-level conferences who don't have much of an impact. No need to name them.

And, highly touted recruits coming in directly from high school or prep school don't always have the expected flash.

But, some highly overlooked players often becomd the conference's biggest surprises. Your scribe remembers a certain undersized guard a few years back who accepted the only real Division I level offer he received.

That offer came from Saint Peter's, and the player was 5-foot-8 Keydren Clark. All Clark did was lead the nation in scoring in consecutive seasons and become one of just a very select group of players with 3,000 career points.

Anyway, our recruiting reports have no particular order. We'll just concentrate on one program at a time, doing the same for women as for men.

First up ...


- Ali Langford, 6-6, 225-pound forward from Allen Hancock Junior College in California.

Langford averaged 21.6 points and 12.8 rebounds per game in junior college this past season.

"He is a high-energy, fill-up-the-stats-sheet kind of guy," said Niagara coach Joe Mihalich, about Langford. "He is undersized, but is all over the floor."

- Juan'ya Green, 6-3, 200-pound guard, Archbishop Carroll H.S. (Pa.)

He averaged 21 points, 5.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game as a junior this past season, and drew recruiting interest from, among others, Villanova, Temple, St. Joseph's, Maryland, George Mason and Drexel.

"He is one of those players that gets you excited when he has the ball in his hands," said Mihalich. "When he doesn't have the ball, you an't wait until he gets it back."

Ameen Tanksley, 6-4, 175-pound guard, Imhotep harter School, Philadelphia.

A swingman at the high school level Tanksley averaged 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks per game this past season. He also drew interest from, among others, Hofstra and VCU.

"He doesn't have a position ... he is just a player," Mihalich said. "He is extremely versatile and beats you any way he can."

ANALYSIS: Langford is likely to be an immediate contributor, and Niagara's fortunes this season could depend on just how much he's able to contribute. The Purple Eagles need help inside, and he seems capable of providing it. Green and Tanksley are both highly sought-after perimeter players. Niagara was already fairly well-stocked on the perimeter, but head coach Joe Mihalich certainly knows how to use guards and has never been adverse to using unconventional lineups to succeed. Overall, a nice incoming group that should help Niagara return to winning seasons in the foreseeable future.

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