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Idaho men’s basketball signs players who could have immediate effect

MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin had a similar theme for each of the three new basketball signings he introduced during a teleconference Thursday afternoon.

The eighth-year Vandals coach announced the signings of point guard Patrick Ingram from Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College, point guard Myles Franklin from Hart High School in Newhall, California, and forward Nick Blair from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.

These three players join guard Tyler Brimhall from Logan, Utah, who signed in the fall, as the class of 2015.

Of Ingram, who began his career at Iowa, Verlin says “he’ll be a good player the minute he steps on campus.”

“Myles is a guy we think can come in and play right away,” Verlin said of Franklin, a quick 5-foot-11 point guard.

Of Blair, who won three straight state titles at Bishop Gorman and played with teammates bound for Duke and UNLV, Verlin said he will be “a freshman with his size and athleticism who could come in and play immediately.”

There’s a noticeable hole in Idaho’s backcourt with Connor Hill and Mike Scott exhausting their eligibility and Sekou Wiggs’ decision to transfer, explaining three guards and a wing player being added in this signing class.

But Idaho also has to replace its three leading scorers from last season in Hill, Scott and Wiggs.

“We never promise anybody that they’re going to start, because there’s guys in the program who’ve worked their tails off to get that opportunity,” Verlin said. “But we do anticipate them all to come in and battle for starting spots and have the opportunity to play immediately.”

The crown-jewel of the class may be Blair, an athletic 6-5 wing known for high-flying dunks and slashing the lane. When Wiggs decided to transfer, Blair said he saw an opportunity to play right away and decided to commit.

“Nick is a fantastic athlete,” Verlin said. “He will be the best athlete on our team. (Blair) and Perrion Callandret are similar athletically. He’s won a number of dunk contests.”

Ingram comes with Division I experience having played at Iowa and IUPUI before landing at Trinity Valley. He didn’t play last season while he improved his grades. The Indianapolis native brings size to the up-for-grabs point guard positions at Idaho.

“He’s a big strong, physical guy who can come in and play we think right away,” Verlin said. “Has a very good feel on how to play – good shooter, good handle on the ball.”

Franklin could push Ingram at the position with his quickness and ability to score.

“Myles is a quick, athletic guard, can really play off the ball screen,” Verlin said. “He’s a guy who can score in the lane, outside the lane and had an excellent high school career.”

The Vandals are at the maximum scholarship limit of 13, but Verlin said additional players could be signed later in the spring signing period.

“We may have one more available,” he said. “We don’t know yet. We’re still kind of trying to make sure all of our guys are academically eligible. … We lost three seniors and Sekou, so that’s four, and we’ve signed four to this point right now. But taking that next step as spring progresses, you never know.”

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