SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University men's basketball Head Coach Kip Ioane has announced the incoming recruiting class for the Bearcats in 2011-12. The list of recruits includes seven freshmen.
Three of the recruits attended high school in Oregon. Two are from California, one is from Washington and one is from American Samoa.
Willamette finished the 2010-11 season with a 7-18 overall record, including 4-12 in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats averaged 80.3 points per game to rank 28th in NCAA Division III in scoring offense.
Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) shot 66.7% on field goals (112 of 168) to rank #2 in the nation despite missing five games with a foot injury. Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) was named Second Team All-NWC after averaging 20.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Willamette started slowly in 2009-10 in Ioane's first season as head coach, but the Bearcats finished strong, earning a 6-3 record in the last nine games. WU completed the year with a 9-16 overall record, including 6-10 in the NWC.
The 2011-12 Willamette men's basketball recruiting class:
Kyle McNally (6'6", Wing/Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS)
McNally led Sprague High School to the second round of the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Class 6A Tournament. He averaged 15 points and eight rebounds per game, while blocking 1.6 shots per game. He was named First Team All-Central Valley Conference.
Coach Ioane on Kyle:
"Kyle brings us a rare combination of athleticism and length that should transfer into him providing minutes immediately at two different positions."
Joseph Jackson (6'2", Guard, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS)
Jackson helped Hillsboro High School reach the first round of the OSAA Class 6A Tournament. He contributed 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals per game. He earned All-Pacific Conference honors and was nominated for the McDonald's All-American Game.
Coach Ioane on Joseph:
"Athletically and defensively, Joseph has the ability to make an impact on our team immediately as a freshman. Perhaps more importantly, he is a natural leader and the type of person who can make an impact in the locker room as well."
Alex Brown (6'5", Wing, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS)
Brown was a leader as Clackamas High School got within one game of reaching the quarterfinals of the OSAA Class 6A Tournament. He was named First Team All-Three Rivers League while averaging 16 points, six rebounds and two assists per game.
Coach Ioane on Alex:
"Alex is an explosive, powerful finisher, who can compete against taller bodies with his athleticism. He should bring us a finishing dimension we haven't had."
Talanoa Smith (6'2", Guard, Pago Pago, America Samoa/Tafuna HS)
Smith led Tafuna High School to back-to-back American Samoa High School Activities Association Championships. He was named First Team All-ASHSAA and has been a member of the American Samoa All-Oceania Under-19 Team. He averaged 15 points and eight assists this past season at Tafuna HS. He also earned four rebounds and two steals per game.
Coach Ioane on Talanoa:
"It was a unique opportunity and a privilege to be able to recruit a talented, humble kid like Noa, who continues a tradition of Samoans who have played for Bearcat Hoop (including Ioane, Cavan Scanlan and Avery Manu)."
Derek Newhof (6'1", Guard/Wing, Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS)
Newhof scored 22 points and hit six three-pointers to help Mercer Island High School upset Rainier Beach High School, 50-43, in the Washington Intercollegiate Activities Association (WIAA) Class 3A playoffs in 2011. He was named First Team All-King County League. He averaged 13.0 points, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game for Mercer Island.
Coach Ioane on Derek:
"Derek has the ability to play multiple perimeter positions for us, and aside from being a steady floor general, he can put up points in bunches."
Robbie Gibbs (6'1", Guard, Aptos, CA/St. Francis Central Coast HS)
Gibbs played basketball at St. Francis Central Coast High School in California. He was an All-Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League selection. This past season, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game.
Coach Ioane on Robbie:
"Robbie's athleticism, work ethic and passion for the game will allow him to develop into an impact player for us."
Justin Abraham (5'10", Guard, Walnut Creek, CA/Athenian HS)
Abraham competed in basketball as a guard at Athenian High School in Danville, Calif. He earned First Team All-Bay Country East recognition. He was a tremendous scorer with 20 points per game. He also provided four assists and two steals per contest.
Coach Ioane on Justin:
"Justin is another player who can put the ball in the basket with range. His work ethic will serve him well as he adapts to our style of play."