D&E hoops team adds 7 players

By Joey Kittle

Sports Editor

Davis &?Elkins College first-year coach Chris Cottrell announced the signing of seven new players on Monday.

Jacob McLennan, Wesley Sprinkle, Rashad Parker, Kevin Bracy-Davis, Tivius “TJ” Guthrie. Aleksander Vasiljevic and Bruce Komakech will join the Senators for the 2013-14 season.

McLennan, a 6-5 forward from Huntland, Tenn., averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds at Huntland High School last season. He was a five-year starter at the school, earning all-District honors.

“Jacob was a terrific first signee for our program,” Cottrell said. “Recruiting to build a program that can sustain success takes players of high character and high talent. Jacob is a proven shot maker who possesses all of the character traits we want in a student-athlete.”

Sprinkle, a 6-0 point guard, hails from Fayetteville, N.C., and played at Trinity Christian School the past two seasons after spending one year at Terry Sanford High School. He averaged 8.0 points and 3.0 assists in leading Trinity to a 22-8 record and an appearance in the North Carolina state title game.

“When we recruited Wes, I told him that I really wanted to coach him,” Cottrell said. “He is a relentless competitor and a natural scorer. I am very pleased that he is a part of our program. Wes will be a tremendous backcourt asset and leader for our young team as he comes from a winning program.”

Parker, who also hails from Fayetteville, N.C., averaged 10 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks at Hoke County High School.

“Rashad Parker is super athletic, super aggressive and has a super high ceiling,” Cottrell said of the 6-9 post player. “I think he can develop to become a dominant presence inside for our program and I’m thrilled about his potential.

“Rashad is a quality individual who wants to continue to improve and has high aspirations for himself.”

Davis, a 6-6 forward out of Western High School in Cincinnati, averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game last season. He was an all-conference selection.

“Kevin has unlimited potential, both on and off the court, and I am excited that he has chosen to attend Davis & Elkins College,” Cottrell said. “His size, athleticism and skill set will allow him to play multiple positions on the perimeter, and he will no doubt be one of our best defenders.”

Guthrie, a 5-10 point guard, originally committed to Grambling State University out of Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. High School before attending Action Sports Academy Prep School this season and pledging to Cottrell’s Senator program. As a high schools senior, Guthrie averaged 18 points and 8.0 assists per game. While playing at Action Sports Academy, Guthrie averaged 10 points and 8.0 assists.

“TJ is a highly skilled player with an uncanny ability to score,” Cottrell said. “He will provide adept ball handling in the backcourt as well as leadership from the point guard position. I am thrilled to be adding such an accomplished young man to our program.”

D&E also added a pair of transfers to this year’s class in Vasiljevic and Komakech.

Vasiljevic, a 6-5 post player, is originally from Belgrade, Serbia, and arrives to the program by way of Brevard College in Brevard, N.C. Vasiljevic was a freshman starter during the 2011-12 season and averaged seven points and five rebounds per game.

However, he was forced to take a medical redshirt last season. He will have three years of eligibility for the Senators.

“When Aleks became a viable option to transfer to our program I acted quickly,” Cottrell said. “Aleks is highly skilled and a proven scorer at the Division II level. He immediately became a high priority recruit based on his basketball skill, as well as, his high level academic acumen. Aleks is a high character, high talent individual who will be a tremendous asset to the rebuilding of our program.”

Komakech, a 6-9 forward, transfers from the University of Rio Grande in Ohio. Before Rio Grande, Komachek played one season at Mountain State University. Both Mountain State and Rio Grande are members of the NAIA. Originally from Canada, Komachek transferred to Rio Grande from Mountain State University after it disbanded the men’s basketball program in 2012. At Rio Grande Komakech averaged five points per game and five rebounds per game.

“Bruce is a great final piece to our recruiting class of 2013,” Cottrell said. “He is extremely athletic, strong and has the ability to not only score on the block, but also protect the rim defensively. He is a great person on and off the court. I truly believe he will have a tremendous senior year as a Senator.”

In just seven weeks time, Cottrell has assembled a highly-regarded coaching staff, built a competitive non-league schedule and signed seven highly-touted recruits.

“I could not be more proud of where our men’s basketball program is after seven weeks,” Cottrell said. “To have completed a competitive schedule and signed seven recruits in this short timespan is a credit to my assistant coaching staff, Cam Carden and Josh Wamsley, as well as the rest of our staff at Davis & Elkins College. From the administration and the athletic department to our admissions offices and everyone in between, it has been a team effort to begin the rebuilding of the men’s basketball program. I am confident we are moving with serious momentum in the right direction.”