Monday, October 22, 2012

Men's Recruiting: Transfers To Help At Canisius

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs this season.

Up now ...


- PHIL VALENTI (6-7 forward Aquinas Institute, Victor, N.Y.): He averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds per game as a high school senior last season and was named the Greater Rochester area's Player of the Year by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper. A skilled, yet solid post player who should develop into a significant contributor when he adds bulk/strength to his current 195-pound frame.

- DOMINIQUE RANEY (6-4 sophomore guard, transfer from Navarro Junior College of Oklahoma): He averaged 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in his one season of junior college play.
As a high school senior (Putnam City, Okla., H.S.), he averaged 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

- JORDAN HEATH (6-10 center transfer from Robert Wesleyan College): Already a mature inside/outside player,  he averaged 14.7 point, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game as a sophomore at Robert Wesleyan, a National Christian College Athletic Association school. He sat out last season as a redshirt at Canisius and has two remaining seasons of eligibility. He is effective both inside and on the perimeter and is also an athletic shot-blocker.

- FREDDY ASPRILLA (6-10 center, transfer from Kansas State): He averaged 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds as a junior at Kansas State. He redshirted as a transfer at Canisius last season and is a senior, meaning this will be his only season of eligibility. He will miss the team's first three games due to a rules' violation committed last season. A much-traveled player, he played one season at Florida International, attended two junior colleges, and played one season at Kansas State before coming to Canisius. A true "big," he is listed at 280 pounds.

- JERMAINE JOHNSON (5-10 guard, St. Christopher's H.S., Richmond, Va.): He is a "scoring" point guard who averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 steals and 4.0 assists per game as a high school senior. An extremely quick, smaller guard who is expected to eventually have a big role with the Golden Griffin.

- BILLY BARON (6-2 guard, transfer from Rhode Island): He is the son of new Canisius head coach Jim Baron, transferred in to play for his dad and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA, meaning he can play this season as a junior and has another year of eligibility after this one. He averaged 13.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game last season at Rhode Island. A very capable guard, capable of playing either backcourt position, but more likely to be the team's point guard.

- ISAAC SOSA (6-3 guard, transfer from Central Florida): He averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in 2010-11 as a junior at Central Florida, after averaging 10.3 points there as a sophomore. A terrific long-range shooter, he made 45.2 percent of his three-pointers as a freshman, 42.7 percent as a sophomore and 39.2 percent as a junior. He sat out last season as a transfer and has only this year to compete for Canisius.

ANALYSIS: Canisius was loaded with eligible transfers already and, then, Billy Baron was a late addition coming aboard not long after the his father was named coach. Asprilla, Baron, Sosa and Heath will all compete for major minutes and three of them, if not all four, could be in the starting lineup a the season progresses. The front-court transfers allow Valenti to develop as a bench player this season, but expect him to be a nice piece of the program's future in subsequent years. Same goes for Johnson, who appears to have a playing style similar to former Canisius standout Frank Turner.

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