Here's another in the series looking at newcomers joining conference programs for the upcoming season.
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- Josh James, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound freshman guard: A combo guard who averaged 18.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game this past season as a senior at Archbishop Stepanic H.S. in White Plains. Included was a 34-point outburst in his final scholastic game, a loss in the Cathlic High School Athletic Association's state tournament's semifinal round. "Josh is a tough young man that scores the ball," said Monmouth coach King Rice, in a statement released by the school. "He can play the one and the two, and is a great competitor. He should be able to step in and help us."
- Greg Noack, a 6-7, 190-pound freshman forward: He averaged 12.8 points per game as a senior at Liberty H.S. in Bethlehem, Pa., after averaging 13.2 ppg. as a junior. Your Hoopscribe saw Noack play several times on the AAU circuit, and recognized him to be a hard-nosed combo forward who is capable of going outside to make mid-range shots, or driving hard to the rim. "Greg is a long athlete that can step away and shoot and is the prototypical four man," said Rice. "He runs the floor well, is very athletic and well skilled."
- Zachary Tillman, a 6-9, 280-pound freshman center: He averaged 12.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game as a senior at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pa., this past season. "Zach is a wide body that has great hands, scores around the rim and also rebounds outside of his area," said Rice.
- Deon Jones, a 6-6, 210-pound sophomore guard: He was at Monmouth last season after transferring in from Towson, and is now eligible with three remaining seasons of eligibility. He started all 32 games as a freshman at Towson, averaging 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest. He averaged 18.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a high school senior at Sanford (Del.) H.S., and was Delaware's Player of the Year as a senior. He is a big guard who can get to the rim.
-= Justin Robinson, a 5-8, 165-pound freshman guard: The Kingston (N.Y.) High School graduate averaged 17.1 points, 6.4 assists, 3.9 steals and 3.8 rebounds per game this past season. He was the MVP of the 2012 GymRat AAU basketball tournament held in the Albany, N.Y., area. Based on what we saw of Robinson in that event, he is adept at running a team while also finding offense for himself, either from the perimeter of sneaking inside.
- Marcelo Ruedinger, a 6-10, 220-pound freshman center: He averaged 6.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game at the Lee Academy in Maine, and made big strides after being primarily a role player there in his first season at the school. A true back-to-the-basket inside player who is originally from Brazil, he also reportedly can consistently make mid-range jumpers.
- Chris Brady, a 6-9, 250-pound freshman center: He averaged 10.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and seven blocked shots per game this past season as a senior at Harborfields H.S. in Greenlawn, N.Y.
- Collin Stewart, a 6-7, 200-pound freshman guard: He was a redshirt at Monmouth last season. He averaged 29.6 points per game at Merkeel Christian Academy in Scotia, N.Y. in the 2011-12 season as a high school senior.
- Vuk Baletic, a 6-9, 225-pound freshman center: No statistics available. He attended Proctor Academy in New Hampshire last season. Reported to be a versatile, multi-talented player capable of playing any of the three front-court spots.
ANALYSIS: A program that occasionally had no player taller than 6-6 on the court last season got big in a big way in the off season. Four players at least 6-9 are on this year's roster, along with another one, 6-7 Greg Noack, who is a good inside player. But, the smallest newcomer, Robinson, might have the biggest impact as he competes for the starting point guard spot. He is a very good one. The bad news is that all the height comes with inexperience. It's extremely rare that a "big" comes in and contributes as a freshman at this level, and Monmouth's infusion of big men will probably need at least a year of development before any of them become significant contributors. The team's best players will still reside on the perimeter. In addition to Robinson, there are two other outstanding guards coming aboard in transfer Deon Jones and freshman Josh James. there's also redshirt freshman Collin Stewart who was a big-time scorer in high school.