EWU men’s basketball adds to roster
An athletic point guard and a versatile forward are the latest additions to the 2013 men’s basketball recruiting class at Eastern Washington University.
Junior college point guard Drew Brandon and forward Ognjen Miljkovic signed letters of intent to attend EWU and play for the Eagles next year, coach Jim Hayford announced Monday afternoon.
The signings bring the current class to four; the Eagles had previously recruited guard Sir Washington and Australian forward Felix Van Hofe.
Point guard was considered Eastern’s most pressing offseason need after the departure of Justin Crosgile and the graduation of Kevin Winford.
The 6-foot-3 Brandon “checks all the boxes” at the point, Hayford said.
“When you look at the returning minutes of the players in our program, the one big gap was at the point guard position,” Hayford said. “What we wanted in that position is a capable new leader who also is a scoring threat.”
Brandon played for Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif., and is originally from Corona, Calif., where he graduated from Santiago High School. In his second year at Sierra, the Wolverines finished 19-8. He had a 38-point performance last January to help him earn player of the month accolades among all California junior colleges.
“He’s a very athletlic player and very good in the open court,” Hayford said. “He gives us great size at the point guard position.”
The 6-7 Miljkovic is from Belgrade, Serbia, but played his last two years at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif., which was 33-2 overall in this season and at one time was ranked No. 8 nationally.
Although he never played with Brandon, Eastern guard Tyler Harvey also played for Bishop Montgomery, which had four players from this year’s team to sign with NCAA Division I schools.
Hayford believes Miljkovic can play at either small or big forward.
“I think we really blur those positions in our offense,” Hayford said, “so I think that he’s exactly what we’re looking for in that position.
“We think he’s going to fit in really well. He is a big man who can shoot the 3-point shot, but he has multiple offensive skills.”
As a senior, Miljkovic averaged 17 points and nine rebounds per game to earn All-Del Rey League honors. He scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter when the Knights improved to 19-0 on the season with a 74-63 victory on Jan. 13 over traditional power St. John Bosco.
He played in a pair of all-star games following his senior season. As a junior, he helped the Knights finish 23-5 and in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Playoffs.
“When you look at this class as a whole with Sir Washington and Felix Von Hofe, I feel like we have added the next layer of the base that we needed to have,” said Hayford, who is entering his third year.
“That base will enable our program to sustain success year to year.”