After signing two players in the early signing period, the Idaho men's basketball team added four more Wednesday — three junior college signees and prep guard Suki Wiggs from Seattle. The four signees include two point guards and two power forwards.
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The Vandals lost four seniors from the 2012-13 team, and they also lost junior college big man Marcus Bell, who decided to transfer in the middle of the season, as well as guard Antwan Scott. That's six departures and six incoming players, four of which are JC products.
The gems of this class appear to be Perrion Callandret and Wiggs, both athletic Seattle-area high school guards. They also got much-needed size with the additions of 6-foot-9 Paulin Mapwe, who has three years of eligibility, 6-7 Bira Seck and 6-7 Ayodele Ojo.
Callandret and Ojo signed in November.
Here is Idaho's release about today's signings — and I've also included its November release for those who want a refresher on the early signees.
MOSCOW – Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin has bolstered his roster for the 2013-14 season with the addition of four players, he announced Wednesday.
Bira Seck, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Olney Central College; Mike Scott, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Antelope Valley Junior College; Paulin Mpawe, a 6-foot-9 PF/C from San Bernardino Valley Junior College and “Suki” Wiggs, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Kingdom Prep Academy will join the Vandals this fall.
Seck averaged 8.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game for OCC in 2012-13. He will have two years of eligibility when he arrives at Idaho.
“Bira is a tremendous athlete with a huge motor,” Verlin said. “He can do it all on the basketball court. He can defend guards and bigs, he rebounds above the rim and has a good skill set offensively. A player that can play multiple positions is always a plus and Bira can definitely do that.”
Scott was the leading scorer for Antelope Valley JC in 2012-13, averaging 12.7 points to go along with 4.7 assists per game. He started all 29 games for AVC and earned California All-State honors while leading the team to a 20-9 record. Scott attended Washington Prep HS in Los Angeles and earned league MVP and first-team All-Los Angeles City honors. His Washington Prep team reached the Final Four of Los Angeles. Scott will have two seasons of eligibility at Idaho.
“Mike is an outstanding young man as well as a player,” Verlin said. “His instincts for the game and ability to make plays make him a great addition to the point guard position. He played in a great program at Antelope Valley for John Taylor which uses a style very similar to ours and therefore the transition to Idaho should be a smooth one next year. Mike will be a great Vandal.”
Mpawe led San Bernardino Valley JC to a 22-9 overall record and an appearance in California’s Final Eight in 2012-13. He averaged 8.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game during his freshman campaign in 2012-13. Mpawe, who originally signed with Pepperdine coming out of high school before enrolling at San Bernardino Valley JC, will have three years of eligibility with the Vandals.
“Getting a big man with three years remaining with Paulin’s upside is a tremendous get for our program,” Verlin said. “He has all the skills to be successful but needs to add strength and weight to be an elite player for us. He is very motivated and after meeting (Idaho strength and conditioning coach) Jake Scharnhorst on his visit it became very clear to him that Idaho was a great fit. Again, like the others we signed today, he is a tremendous young man and is going to be a great addition to the Vandal family.”
Wiggs attended NACA Division III national champion Kingdom Prep Academy in Columbus, Ga., after a successful high school career at Seattle’s O’Dea High School. At OHS, Wiggs averaged 17.6 points and 4.8 assists per game during his senior season.
“Suki is a big, strong and athletic point guard that will be able to solidify our backcourt immediately,” Verlin said. “He is a great penetrator and can knock down the open shot, but his best asset is his leadership qualities he displays on the court. He has played point guard his entire career and knows how the position is played, therefore knows how to lead. He loves the game and he displays that when he’s on the court. He has a magnetic personality.”
And from November:
MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin announced the signing of two new Vandals to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday during the early signing period.
Idaho basketball added forward Ayodele “Ayo” Ojo of Jonesboro, Ark. (State Fair (Mo.) CC), and guard Perrion Callandret of Bothell, Wash. (Bothell HS). Ojo will join Idaho as a junior in 2013-14, while Callandret will be a freshman.
Ojo is a 6-7, 225-pound forward in his sophomore season at Missouri’s State Fair Junior College. As a freshman last year, he averaged 6.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 49.2 percent from the floor. He led SFCC with 2.3 offensive boards per game last season, as well.
He has helped lead SFCC to a 3-2 record early in the 2012-13 season.
“Ayo brings a physical and athletic presence that we need on our front line,” Verlin said. “He is big and physical on the block and yet has the ability to step out and shoot the outside shot. His athleticism will make him a force on the boards for the Vandals, as well. I can’t wait to get Ayo in a Vandal uniform next year.”
In high school, Ojo was a Third-Team Arkansas All-State selection by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in 2010-11 as a senior after averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds for Jonesboro High School. He was also voted an Arkansas 6A All-State pick by the Arkansas Activities Association. He was a McDonald’s All-America nominee and was voted Defensive Player of the Year for his team.
Callandret is a scoring guard who has Bothell High School among the favorites, both in the 4A KingCo league and in the Washington 4A state classification, going into his senior season this year. The 6-2, 180-pound guard was a First-Team All-KingCo pick last year after leading BHS to a 17-11 overall record and 9-7 league tally.
“Perrion is one of the biggest sleepers on the west coast in the 2013 class and will be a great Vandal that the fans will love watching,” Verlin said.
He averaged 17 points for the Cougars last season after transferring from O’Dea High School and posted double-figure scoring totals in all 28 games for Bothell.
“Perrion is a very athletic, ‘do it all’ guard with great instincts for the game,” Verlin said. “He’s a tremendous person with a great personality and I look forward to not only coaching him but just having him in the locker room and walking the halls at Idaho.”