Recruiting

Recruit Brandon Peters clarification (April 15, 2010)

I can clarify a bit of information I’ve been seeking for a long time now. Brandon Peters, a 6-2, 180-pound guard from Houston, Texas, is signed, and he has been since the NCAA’s Early Signing Period.

There was some apparent confusion between Head Coach Ken McDonald and the media relations department at Western.

In short, Peters signed, but the right people weren’t told. Or so I’m told. Of course those folks couldn’t comment on Peters, and his coach at Houston Yates High School didn’t return multiple phone calls.

But Director of Media Relations Brad Fields was able to clarify today that Peters did sign during the early period, and Western waited until he could join Ken Brown and Kahlil McDonald in Thursday’s official release.

Peters will enter in the fall of 2010 as a freshman and have four years of eligibility.

-Jonathan Lintner

Q&A: McDonald confirms pair of signings (April 15, 2010)

Head Coach Ken McDonald confirmed Thursday that junior guards Ken Brown and Kahlil McDonald have signed as part of Western’s 2010 class.

Here’s what he had to say over the phone:

“I think we are very, very excited about the admissions. Ken Brown is a true point that just has incredible quickness. He has a lot of energy and confidence coming in at the point guard position, can score a little bit and really creates shots for others.

He can defend, fights hard to defend, he just has a good motor and doesn’t get tired. I like his attitude. I think he is a really confident kid, and he has been tested and been around a bit so I am excited about that.

McDonald is a very versatile scorer. He has put up some good numbers in a good basketball league in JUCO. I don’t think he has even scratched the surface when it comes to his talent. I think he has a lot of ability that hasn’t even been tapped into. He has been put in a situation where he has had a lot on his shoulders and not a lot around him to help him, so I think that when he gets put in a system with some other players that can offset his scoring ability, I think it will really help him. He can play a couple of positions. I like his versatility.  Athletically, I think he is going to make good strides with our strength and conditioning coach.”

On added depth at guard: “At times you saw us this year when we were good, our guard play was really good. When we struggled, our guard play was up and down, so there is no question that we have to be better defensively out front. We have to push the ball better and have better depth to do that. I think we have to score the ball better — shoot the ball better. When you look at the areas we struggled at at times and finishing games, and just sheer athleticism at the guard position, I think we addressed those needs.”

On immediate playing time: “I think that’s definitely up to them. That was a big selling point. We have a lot of minutes leaving the program with A.J. (Slaughter) and (Anthony) Sally leaving the program. There’s a lot of potential with these guys, and I think they are excited about the opportunities.  Nothing is going to be given to them. They have to come in and earn it.”

On the program McDonald is developing: “It takes time — more time than you want to get your system in place. You’d like it to happen immediately. You learn from that process that it does take time. I’m really excited for the competitive nature of some of the guys we are bringing in. I think that’s got to be a standard for our program. It has to be the culture we want to create with this coaching staff, and that’s important to me to put a product on the court that fans are excited about. It takes time to get to that point, but where we are right now, I’m pretty excited about. I think there is a chance for this team to do something  and be a good basketball team. Everyone has to buy into the team concept, and that’s where chemistry is so important. I’m really excited we got more competitive kids and will have a more competitive environment.”

On the addition of juniors: “We got some kids that are coming of age and growing up and maturing, and some kids that are a little more mature and have been tested, so I like the position we are in right now.”

On whether or not he’s done recruiting: “You never know. The program is always in the position where you can’t get off guard. We are constantly recruiting. You are always making sure you are covered and seeing what’s out there and what is available.”

-Mike Stunson

Recruit McDonald signs with WKU (April 15, 2010)

Just got off the phone with Blinn College (Texas) point guard Kahlil McDonald, who told me he sent his signed letter of intent into Head Coach Ken McDonald yesterday.

Kahlil McDonald joins Cerritos College (Calif.) point guard Ken Brown as players that have signed during the NCAA’s Regular Signing Period. Brandon Peters, Kene Anyigbo and Stephon Drane signed during the Early Signing Period and complete a five-player class for Western.

With freshmen Jameson Tipping and Will Green announcing transfers last week and leaving eight returning Toppers, the five members of the 2010 class give Western the NCAA’s regulated 13 filled scholarships.

Western’s Director of Media Relations Brad Fields said Ken McDonald is expected to comment on the players as soon as Thursday.

-Jonathan Lintner

Recruit Ken Brown signs with WKU (April 15, 2010)

I just received word from Cerritos College (Calif.) point guard Ken Brown that he has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Western next season.

Brown will come to Western as a junior and have two years of eligibility.

The school will officially announce its signees when all letters come in. Head Coach Ken McDonald’s other verbal commitment — Kahlil McDonald, of Blinn College (Texas) — is expected to join Brandon Peters, Kene Anyigbo and Stephon Drane in Western’s 2010 class.

Brown and Kahlil McDonald visited Western the weekend of March 19 and committed not long after. Wednesday marked the beginning of the regular signing period, which runs through May 19.

-Jonathan Lintner

Signing period begins Wednesday (April 13, 2010)

Head Coach Ken McDonald freed up two scholarships with freshmen Jameson Tipping and William Green announcing transfers last week.

How he fills them when the NCAA’s Regular Signing Period begins Wednesday should come without surprise.

A pair of junior college players guards — Kahlil McDonald and Ken Brown — have already given verbal committments to McDonald and need only to sign a letter of intent to finalize the process. Should Brown and McDonald sign, they’ll join Stephon Drane, Kene Anyigbo and Brandon Peters in Western’s 2010 class.

The signing period runs from Wednesday through May 19.

-Jonathan Lintner

Recruit McDonald Tweets about his future (April 7, 2010)

Kahlil McDonald, a 6-4, 190-pound guard from Blinn Community College (Texas), has verbally committed to Western, according to McDonald’s personal Twitter account.

McDonald Tweeted on Wednesday, “Jus verbally committed 2 WKU…bout 2 hit that next level wave.”

The incoming junior’s next chance to sign comes on April 14 with the beginning of the regular signing period. McDonald would add to a 2010 class that already contains three signees and a verbal commitment from Ken Brown, a guard from Cerritos Community College in California.

UPDATE: Nick Baumgardner of the Bowling Green Daily News confirmed through McDonald’s coach, Tra Arnold, that the JUCO guard has given a commitment to Western.

-Jonathan Lintner

WKU offers Denson (April 1, 2010)

Terry White, high school coach of Chris Denson, a class of 2010 point guard, said Denson has received a scholarship offer to play at Western.

Denson (of Shaw High School in Georgia) visited last weekend, White said, but hasn’t yet decided where to commit.

“He’s liking Western Kentucky as an option,” White told the Herald on Monday.

Denson has offers from Buffalo and North Carolina-Greensboro, according to Rivals.com, and White said the 6-2, 180-pound senior is in talks with Connecticut and Florida.

After an offer, White’s next chance to sign a letter of intent is during the NCAA’s regular signing period from April 14 through May 19.

-Jonathan Lintner

Denson remains undecided (March 29, 2010)

Just got off the phone with Shaw High School (Ga.) coach Terry White, who coaches class of 2010 guard Chris Denson — now a solid target on Head Coach Ken McDonald’s recruiting map.

White said Denson made a visit to Western this past weekend, but the 6-2, 180-pound point guard hasn’t alerted him of a commitment yet or even a scholarship offer from McDonald.

“He’s liking Western Kentucky as an option,” White said.

Denson is as dangerous as any player in the open court, according to White.

“He does very well off screen and rolls and just making plays for himself with teammates,” White said.

White said Denson, a three-star prospect rated by Rivals.com, is talking to Florida and Connecticut, but is in no hurry to sign a letter of intent. According to Rivals.com, Denson has offers from Buffalo and North Carolina-Greensboro.

The NCAA’s late signing period begins April 14 and runs through May 19.

-Jonathan Lintner

WKU offers 2011 recruit Zollo (March 18, 2010)

Vinny Zollo, a 6-8 power forward from George Rogers Clark High School, told the Herald that coach David Boyden offered him a scholarship to play basketball at Western on Wednesday, and that the Toppers’ staff is “really hitting him hard” on the recruiting trail.

“I’ve been talking to them throughout the season, pretty much off and on whenever I can,” Zollo said.

The Girls’ Sweet 16 high school basketball tournament first lured Zollo to campus this past weekend, but the junior said he plans to make a return visit this spring or summer to better gauge Western’s program.

Zollo gave a verbal committment to Billy Gillispie, formerly of Kentucky, during his freshman year of high school, uprooting himself and family from Ohio to Lexington, Ky., to play at George Rogers Clark. Once Gillispie left, however, new Kentucky coach John Calipari never offered Zollo.

Now Zollo said he has no idea where he’ll be playing college basketball.

“Right now I’m pretty much wide open,” he said. “I’m taking every offer that I get seriously and just looking at everything. I’m not really making a list yet — just looking at my options.”

Zollo also has offers from Dayton, Oklahoma State and South Florida, according to Rivals.com.

-Jonathan Lintner

Gordon reconsidering verbal commitment (March 10, 2010)

Gordon, a junior at St. Patrick’s High School in Plainfield, N.J., said as of right now, his plans are still to remain committed to Western. But he’s also beginning to have second thoughts.

“I really have been thinking about that for a while,” Gordon said. “I don’t want to base my whole decision on if a school made it to the NCAA tournament or not. I mean, then again, sometimes I have second thoughts that I rushed my decision. I want these other coaches to get a chance to recruit me and stuff like that. As far as my verbal (commitment), I’m still committed to the school, but I mean, I did have second thoughts. Right now I still don’t know what I’m going to. I haven’t signed anything yet.”

Gordon said questions about what his role as a player would be at Western is only adding to his uncertainty.

“My solid verbal has definitely went down a little bit,” Gordon said. “I’m starting to really think now. The main reason I guess is I want to see what else is out there. I just want schools to come at me. I liked that feeling when schools were calling me and wanting me, and I don’t get that feeling anymore. I think I ended it too early committing to Western.”

Gordon said schools such as Marquette, Villanova, Maryland, Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Indiana and Syracuse have shown interest in him.

“When I watch college basketball and see all these big-time schools playing, I know I can do the same thing there that I’d do at Western,” he said. “So it definitely has me thinking a lot because Western is only a mid-major. All the other schools on my list were high-major schools. I’m just doing my research and thinking if this is the right school for me.”

Gordon has planned a visit to Western for the weekend of April 9-11. He said this visit will determine whether he stays committed or not.

“I plan on the unofficial visit going good, but who knows what’s going to happen,” he said.

-Cole Claybourn

Early signing period yields two additions to basketball team (Nov. 13, 2009)

Western signed two prospects Friday to National Letters of Intent as part of college basketball’s early signing period.

Stephon Drane of Raleigh, N.C., and Kene Anyigbo from Belaire, Texas, joined Head Coach Ken McDonald’s 2010 class and will enter as freshmen next fall with four years of eligibility. McDonald said this class is just the start of filling the Toppers’ roster with players that fit the second-year coach’s system.

“I’m very pleased with the efforts by the assistant coaches with our second true class that we’re able to figure out what’s best for our team,” McDonald said. “We try to get as many guys with size and skill in our system that will do well.”

Drane, who averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds in his junior season at Word of God Christian Academy, played on a team McDonald said signed eight Division I players, including Kentucky’s John Wall.

According to McDonald, sometimes players don’t put up the numbers they’re capable of when surrounded by such talents, and that’s the case with Drane.

“That definitely happens some,” he said. “It’s probably similar to our team. We’ve got good players. Last year, Orlando (Mendez Valdez) gets a lot of attention, A.J. (Slaughter) gets a lot of attention and you forget how good of a player Steffphon Pettigrew is.”

Anyigbo also received offers from Houston and Memphis.

Another highlight of the early class, McDonald said, is that both players already have good character — something the coach said he learned to look for after finalizing Western’s 2009 class.

Terrence Boyd and David Laury, highly touted recruits with questionable personalities, failed to make it through last summer and were released from the team.

“I think you learn a lesson in every recruiting situation,” McDonald said. “I’m very pleased with the character coming in, and it’s definitely a focal point in recruiting because you don’t want sleepless nights when you’re recruiting guys — you really don’t. We don’t have to have that here, and it’s great.”

McDonald was not sure as to whether he would ink a third player during the early signing period, which runs through next Wednesday.

-Jonathan Lintner

One response to “Recruiting

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