Monday, September 30, 2013

Recruiting: Iona Men's Team Adds Quality Group

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

Up now...


- Kelvin Amayo, a 6-4, 210-pound sophomore guard: He is a transfer from Marshall University where he played just three games last season, averaging 2.7 points per game in an average of 9.3 minutes.  "Kelvin is a treat athlete with tremendous leaping ability," said Iona coach Tim Cluess, in a release issued by the school. "He's a slasher/scorer and will look to contribute to our rotation right away. He can also hit from long distance with the best of them on our squad." Amayo has a waiver request in with the NCAA to play immediately, but there has not yet been a decision on that. If he doesn't get the waiver, he won't be eligible until the 2014-15 season.

- Ryden Hines, a 6-10, 230-pound freshman forward: A native of Anchorage, Ala., he played at the prep school level at Impact Academy in Las Vegas this past season where he averaged 21.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. "Ryan has a great motor and really plays hard," said Cluess. "He has a good basketball IQ and can knock down a jumper. At 6-10 he's going to have to help us right away, but as he physically matures and adjusts to the college game he has an opportunity to be a very successful player at Iona."

- Mike Poole, a 6-5, 195-pound senior wing: He is a transfer from Rutgers and is eligible immediately after receiving an NCAA waiver this summer. At Rutgers he averaged 5.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 95 games. His career high came, ironically, against Iona with an 18-point, 7-rebound performance last season. "Mike is a veteran ... and will look for a leadership role on this year's squad," said Cluess. "His all-around ability on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball will be a great asset for our program."

- Daniel Robinson, a 6-11, 215-pound freshman forward: He played at the prep school level last season at the IMG Academy in Brandenton, Fla. No statistics from there are available. But, as a senior at Atlantic Shores Christian School in Chesapeake, Va., in 2011-12, he averaged 9.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. "At 6-11, Daniel can step out and hit a jumper," said Cluess. "He is not our prototypical back-to-the-basket post performer but has solid offensive skills. We'll also look to use his size in the middle as a big, interior defensive presence."

- Shackquiel Scott, a 6-6, 205-pound freshman wing: He played at the prep school last season at the Robinson School in Irvington, N.J. where he averaged 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks per game. "Shack is an extremely athletic wing with a solid mid-range game," said Cluess. "His athleticism and energy will be a great addition to our program.

- Isaiah Williams, a 6-7, 180-pound sophomore forward. He comes to Iona after a year at State College (Fla.), a junior college program, where he averaged 17.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in an average of just 21.6 minutes per contest. He is eligible immediately. "Isaiah is a 6-7 wing and can really fill it up," said Cluess. "He can also shoot a three as well as anybody we have and will also help us a lot defensively as he is very active and has a lot of length to him."

ANALYSIS: As usual, Iona will benefit from bringing in players with experience beyond the high school level. Of the six newcomers, the three freshmen all have a year of prep school experience, while Williams, Poole and Amayo have all played at some level of college ball. It means the adjustment period for all the newcomers isn't quite as difficult as with traditional freshmen. Poole will add a level of toughness on the defensive end, while Williams, Hines and Amayo (if he gets an eligibility waiver) all can help provide some of the offense lost with the graduation of Player of the Year Momo Jones. Iona lost some key players from a year ago, but the program did a nice job of reloading. As is always the case with a large group of new expected contributors, there will be a period of adjustment as the cast builds chemistry. But, at some point ... barring the unexpected ... Iona's incoming players will help contribute to the team being one of the best in the MAAC in the coming season.

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