Posted: Jun 28, 2012 6:10 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2012 7:52 PM
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. - A Missouri high school state champion, a high school graduate decorated for both his athletic and academic success and a forward who helped his junior college team win 37 games in two years are among the six incoming student athletes who will join the Lincoln men's basketball team in 2012-13. Head coach John Redmond announced the signings on Thursday June 28.
"When we started the recruiting process, I wanted to get players who could help our team, but who were also going to be good students," Redmond said. "All six of these guys have done well in the classroom, and all six will have the opportunity to play right away. Some of these guys will compete for starting positions in training camp, but all of them will contribute from day one."
Four junior college transfers Charles Cole, Lorenzo Dean, Sean Harris and Shakir Preston and two recent high school graduates Devin Booker and Jeremy Jackson have signed letters of intent to continue their basketball careers at Lincoln, beginning with the upcoming 2012-13 season. The class will add depth to the Blue Tiger roster, which lost three seniors to graduation last year but returns nine other players.
Both Booker and Jackson will join the Blue Tigers after decorated high school careers. Booker, a 6-4 shooting guard from St. Louis, Mo., helped lead his Soldan High team to the Missouri Class 4 State Championship in 2011-12. Booker was a key contributor on the team, which won the school's first state title in 31 years. Booker also helped Soldan win three consecutive Public League titles, including helping the team reach the state final four as both a sophomore and junior. As a junior, he averaged 7.7 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.3 assists before averaging 5.0 points as a senior. In his final season at Soldan, playing under coach Justin Tatum, Booker was one of the team's best free throw shooters, making over 70% of his attempts.
Jackson, a member of the National Honor Society, is a point guard from Memphis, Tenn. While playing at Fairley High, Jackson earned all-region honorable mention distinctions in both 2011 and 2012. In addition to being one of Fairley's top players, Jackson also excelled academically, becoming one of the recipients of the school's scholar athlete awards following his senior season.
Along with Dean, a 6-4 power forward who played at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City, Mo., Lincoln is adding three other junior college transfers who have had success at both the high school and collegiate levels. Cole, a 6-6, 200-pound forward from Lancaster, Calif., helped lead his Antelope Valley Community College team to winning seasons in both of his years at the program. Playing under head coach John Taylor, Cole helped the Marauders go 17-13 as a freshman and 20-10 as a sophomore. Nicknamed "The Diesel" by his teammates for his strength and determination, Cole also averaged 18.2 points and 5.3 rebounds as a senior at Los Angeles' Monroe High.
Harris, a 6-8 center from San Antonio, Texas, is joining the Blue Tigers after a strong season at Mississippi's Delta Community College. In his only season at Delta, Harris averaged 6.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and a team-high 1.6 blocks per game. Harris joined Delta after beginning his post-high school career at South Plains, where he played in six games and made over 70% of his shot attempts. An all-district selection at Warren High, Harris averaged 10.8 points, 8.9 boards and 4.1 blocks during his senior season.
A 6-3 guard from Phoenix, Ariz., Preston helped lead Phoenix College to a 25-9 record in his final season with the program. Preston tallied 4.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game that year. He also a good high school career at South Mountain High, scoring 11.6 points and pulling down 5.1 boards per game during his senior season.