-- Three MAC players at Portsmouth event
-- Owens inks his first RedHawks recruit
-- BGSU lands Latvia/Philadelphia product
-- Cardinals sign a pair
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Toledo forward Steve Taylor Jr., Akron center Isaiah Johnson and Kent State forward Jimmy Hall are participating in the 2017 Portsmouth invitational this weekend.
The Portsmouth Invitational is in its 65th year and is a four-day, 12-game tournament, in front of representatives from every NBA organization and numerous international leagues. Notable MVPs include Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls (2011) and DeMarre Carroll of the Toronto Raptors (2009) with former participants including Rick Barry, Dave Cowens, Tim Hardaway, John Lucas, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and John Stockton.
Owens inks his first RedHawk recruit
Miami University men’s basketball coach Jack Owens has announced the signing of Jalen Adaway (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) to a National Letter of Intent. Adaway will begin play for the RedHawks during the 2017-18 season.
Adaway, a 6-5 guard, was a four-year lettterwinner for Logansport High School in Logansport, Indiana. As a senior he averaged 15.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.5 blocks per game, while leading the Berries to a 23-2 record and their first conference title in 40 years. For his efforts, Adaway was named to the Large School All-State Team by the Indy Star.
For his career, Adaway scored 1,444 points. A high-flyer, he competed in the 2017 American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk Championship at the Final Four earlier in April.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to coach Jalen, he’s a quality kid and obviously a really good basketball player,” said Owens. “He provides athleticism to our team, which you always need. He’s someone who can defend multiple positions and will continue to grow as an offensive player. He’s the type of guy who can eventually be an all-league caliber player.”
BGSU lands Latvia/Philadelphia product
Bowling Green head coach Michael Huger has announced the signing of Matiss Kulackovskis to a National Letter of Intent. Kulackovskis, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward from Saldus, Latvia, will enter the program and have four years of eligibility, beginning with the 2017-18 season. Kulackovskis spent his final two seasons of high school at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia.
"I would like to welcome Matiss Kulackovskis to the Bowling Green family," said head coach Michael Huger. "Matiss is a highly-talented stretch forward who can score on all levels. At 6-foot-8, his offensive versatility and ability to guard multiple positions makes him a unique and special player. Our fans will love his soft, feathery stroke from the perimeter, ability to take his man off the dribble, and his skilled interior post game.
"Originally from Latvia, Matiss spent the past two years dominating the Philadelphia Catholic League at Archbishop Ryan. When my staff and I saw him play, we knew we were recruiting a young man who is a perfect fit for our offense."
This past season, while serving as a team captain, the Latvian averaged 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the Raiders. He also shot an impressive 40 percent from three-point range as a senior, while shooting 55 percent from the floor overall.
Cardinals sign a pair
The Ball State men’s basketball program added one of the top players in Indiana and a standout big man from Tennessee to its incoming class.
The Cardinals signed Zach Gunn of Hamilton Southeastern in Fishers, Indiana, and Blake Huggins of Obion County Central in Troy, Tennessee, to national letters of intent.
Gunn will leave Hamilton Southeastern as the all-time leading scorer (1,660) and rebounder (791) in the history of a program that boasts former Mr. Basketball winners Gary Harris (2012) and Zak Irvin (2013). He averaged 21.1 points and 8.5 boards as a senior, leading the Royals to a 21-6 record in his fourth year as a starter for coach Brian Satterfield.
The 6-foot-6 wing was named to the Indiana All-Star Team last week and will join five previous Indiana All-Stars on next year’s Ball State roster. He was also named to the All-State Supreme 15 by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association and the All-State Second Team by the Associated Press.
A three-star recruit by several major services, Gunn has been rated among the top 10 Indiana prospects in the class of class of 2017. He played AAU basketball on the Under Armour circuit for the Indy Hoosiers and coach Mike Peterson.
“Zach is a very talented player who left his mark on a terrific high school program,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “Zach brings a great shooting touch, and he can really rebound the basketball. Above it all, he is a great teammate. He understands how to play the game and really knows how to make his team win.”
Huggins, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound center, lettered four years for coach Bill Kail at Obion County Central. He averaged 15.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game during his senior season while shooting 60 percent from the floor.
An all-district and all-region selection, Huggins scored more than 1,000 points for his high school career. He helped his team to 83 wins over his four years, including three 20-win campaigns.
Huggins, who did not start playing basketball until he was in eighth grade, competed in AAU basketball on the Adidas circuit for the Memphis Bulls and coach Ajhuel Wright.
“Physically, Blake is a very gifted big guy,” Whitford said. “He is young, still only 17 years old, but he is a great athlete with really good hands and a great work ethic. Blake comes from a great family and has a bright future. We think he has a chance to be a very good big guy in the years to come.”