Spring Hill College men's basketball head coach Aaron Niven has announced the signing of five players for the 2014-2015 season.
The Badgers have inked James Clarke and Jack Morrissey from Loyola Academy in Chicago, Ill., Sawyer Glick from Columbus, Ind., by way of Quakerdale Promise Academy Prep in New Providence, Iowa, and Mobile natives Reginald Harbin of Blount High School and Walter Massey, Jr. of LeFlore Magnet High School.
"We are extremely proud to have added not only a strong group of basketball players to our roster, but also a great group of young men that will represent Spring Hill College well both on and off the basketball court," Niven said.
Niven believes that the Badgers have addressed some of the pressing needs that will help in the program's transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II with this group of players. "When we began this process we had two areas that we really wanted to key in on," he said. "We needed to shoot the ball better as a team as well as increase our overall athleticism around the basket. We think that we have filled these needs with this class."
The Badgers have reopened a long-standing tradition of men's basketball players who hale from Loyola Academy in Chicago with the signing of guards Clarke and Morrissey. The outstanding duo recorded an impressive record of 25-6 and finished as back-to-back Chicago Catholic League Champions as well as Regional and Sectional Champions, posting a No. 9 ranking with Comcast Sports Net, No. 10 in the Chicago Sun Times and No. 11 in the Chicago Tribune.
Clarke is a 6'0 point guard who appeared on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) All-State honorable mention roster. He stands as the sixth leading scorer in Loyola Academy history with 1,020 points in his career. Clarke was also a two-time Chicago Catholic League All-Conference selection who finished his career averaging 15 points and five assists per game as a senior.
"James is a smart, tough point guard who will bring a strong basketball IQ," Niven said. "He has an adept ability to create shots for his teammates as well as the ability to really shoot the ball both in transition and the half court."
Morrissey is a 6'1 shooting guard and an IBCA All-State 2nd team selection and is one of the most decorated players in Loyola Academy history. He averaged 17 points and four rebounds per game as a senior on his way to earning several post-season awards including two 1st team All-Chicago Catholic League selections and the MVP Award of the Chicago Catholic League as a junior. Morrissey scored 1,340 career points which is second best in Loyola Academy history. He converted 331 career 3-pointers for ninth best in Illinois high school basketball history.
"Jack is a tough kid who can flat out shoot it and is an underrated passer of the basketball," Niven said. "He has a high basketball IQ and that allows him to get open off of screens."
Sawyer Glick is a 6'4 shooting guard who joins the Badgers from Quakerdale Promise Academy Prep where he averaged 14 points and six rebounds per game. Glick is a decorated high school standout who also attended Columbus North High School where he led the Bulldogs to a 23-2 season and a Sectional Championship. As a senior, Glick was named All-Area Player of the Year, two-time 1st team All-Conference and two-time honorable mention All-State.
"Sawyer is a big wing who has the ability to hit the mid-range jumper off the bounce as well as catch and shoot the ball from behind the arc," Niven said. "He will also bring a level of toughness on the court as well."
The incoming Badger freshman class also boasts two Mobile prep standouts in Harbin and Massey. Harbin is a 6'6 forward from Blount High who was a four-year starter. He averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds his senior season that resulted in a Class 6A state runner-up finish with and a record of 27-4. Harbin was a member of the Academic All-County Team as well as the Southeast Alabama All-Region Team. He was also named to the Class 6A All-State Tournament Team.
"Reggie is a big strong athlete that is really bouncy around the rim," said Niven. "He can alter shots on the defensive end and does a great job of rebounding the basketball. I believe that his potential to improve is through the roof."
Massey is a 6'5 wing from LeFlore Magnet where he averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior and helped lead his team to a 19-8 record. A Mobile All-County Team selection, he was also named to the honorable mention All-State team.
"Walter is a guy who has not yet tapped into his full ability," Niven said. "He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He can shoot the ball from the three point line and his athleticism helps him rebound well. The sky is the limit for a player like Walter."
The Badgers are scheduled to open their inaugural NCAA Division II campaign at Shorter University in Rome, Ga., at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 14, 2014.