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2015 Early Signing Period Breakdown: Atlantic 10

  • Best Player: De’Riante Jenkins, VCU
  • Best Potential: DeJon Jarreau, Massachusetts
  • Best Scorer: De’Riante Jenkins, VCU
  • Best Shooter: Nick Sherod, Richmond
  • Best Rebounder: Kevin Marfo, George Wasington
  • Best Passer: Jeff Dowtin, Rhode Island
  • Best Defender: DeJon Jarreau, Massachusetts
  • Best Glue Guy: Chris Baldwin, Massachusetts
  • Best Athlete: Unique McLean, Massachusetts

1. Massachusetts Minutemen

Unique McLean | 6′-1″ | PG | MacDuffie School (MA)
DeJon Jarreau | 6′-5″ | PG | McDonogh 35 (LA)
Chris Baldwin | 6′-8″ | PF | Notre Dame Prep (MA)
Brison Gresham | 6′-9″ | C | McDonogh 35 (LA)

It hasn’t been often, if at all, in the current era that UMass has been mentioned as having a prominent recruiting class, but the quartet of talent they have in the 2016 recruiting cycle has the potential to spur an Atlantic 10 championship down the line.

They scored a rare “package deal” in New Orleans talents DeJon Jarreau and Brison Gresham. Jarreau is a top 100 talent as an oversized point guard with scoring abilities to go with defensive skill. Gresham is a post player long on potential, who has substantial length and athleticism. He can block shots and also use his size to finish in transition.

Bullish power forward Chris Baldwin could take no prisoners in the Atlantic 10 as he develops, and is also considered a borderline top 100 prospect. Whereas Gresham lacks strength, Baldwin comes in at 235 pounds and has the force to play either power forward or center going forward. Athletic guard Unique McLean can score in bushels at times, and is also a key member of the class. He is likely the most athletic new player to the Atlantic 10, and can also defend. McLean was another key factor the Minutemen’s class  reaching top 25 status by most sources nationally.

2. Rhode Island Rams

Jeff Dowtin | 6′-3″ | PG | St. John’s (DC)
Cyril Langevine | 6′-8″ | PF | Patrick School (NJ)
Michael Tertsea | 6′-9″ | C | John Carroll (MD)
Mike Layssard | 6′-9″ | C | Northwood (LA)

Jeff Dowtin (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
Jeff Dowtin (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

The turnaround of Rhode Island’s program engineered by Danny Hurley has been marked by a consistent upgrade in talent, year over year. A quartet of newcomers for 2016 continues that trend, in a particularly sizable haul for the Rams. Two legitimate big men, Michael Tertsea and Mike Layssard inked to join the program, from across the country. Tertsea is a defensive-focused player who hails from Nigeria. He hasn’t put up big numbers at the high school level but is considered to be a high-potential prospect. Layssard is sizable at 260 pounds and had plenty of suitors before picking the Rams. He was a double-double performer in high school and likely is more ready for Atlantic 10 basketball then Tertsea is. Rhode Island might have another gem in the paint in Cyril Langevine, who hails from one of New Jersey’s top high school program. He’s considered a capable shooter who can also mix it up inside. Langevine has the ability to get much better also. Guard Jeff Dowtin was brought in to bolster both guard slots. He comes from a winning background in high school in a top notch program, and can pass, score and defend.

3. VCU Rams

Marquell Fraser | 6′-4″ | SG | The Hill Academy (CAN)
De’Riante Jenkins | 6′-5″ | SF | Hargrave Military (VA)

Former head coach Shaka Smart brought in top 100 players with regularity to VCU, which certainly wasn’t an easy task. The early returns are new head coach Will Wade may do more of the same. The Rams popped De’Riante Jenkins for the early signing period, a former Florida high schooler who is finishing his last year prior to college in the prep school ranks. Jenkins is a long and athletic wing who should thrive in the VCU system, and a consensus top 100 prospect in his own regard. Canadian combo guard Marquell Fraser also inked as part of the class. A member of his country’s junior national program, Fraser is clearly a high-level prospect who perhaps is underrated nationally. Expect Fraser to use his size and skill level to perhaps get time at both guard slots early.

4. George Washington Colonials

Darnell Rogers | 5′-3″ | PG | Shiloh (GA)
Jair Bolden | 6′-4″ | SG | Westtown School (PA)
Kevin Marfo | 6′-8″ | PF | Worcester Academy (MA)
Arnaldo Toro | 6′-8″ | PF | Saint Benedict’s Prep (NJ)
Collin Smith | 6′-10″ | C | The Bolles School (FL)

A veritable starting lineup of new recruits inked with George Washington, in a class which head coach Mike Lonergan described as having the potential to be the best class he’s ever had. Arguably they key element of the class is in the paint, where Kevin Marfo and Arnaldo Toro both hit campus with a full head of steam, and Collin Smith has terrific size. Marfo is a tremendous rebounder who played in successful high school and grassroots programs. Marfo was called a potential four-year starter by Lonergan. A member of Puerto Rico’s youth national team, Toro is solid at 240 pounds and was a double-double performer for a top 25 high school program as a junior. The name of the game for Smith is athleticism and length. He can run the court and Lonergan expects him to block shots down the line as well. Legacy recruit Darnell Rogers is the son of former Colonials standout Shawnta Rogers. There’s no doubt Rogers lacks size, but so did his father who had a highly-successful career at GW. Rogers is a diehard defender and very quick. Off the ball, Jair Bolden is another promising newcomer. He was an all-state selection as a junior in a top program in Pennsylvania. Lonergan was especially bullish on Bolden’s potential as a defender down the line, as well as Bolden’s ability to hit long-range shot.

5. Richmond Spiders

De’Monte Buckingham | 6′-4″ | SG | Henrico (VA)
Nick Sherod | 6′-4″ | SG | St. Christopher (VA)
Grant Golden | 6′-9″ | PF | St. James (VA)

The Spiders netted a quality three player recruiting class, which includes two local prospects. On the wing, Richmond got much stronger and more diverse by adding De’Monte Buckingham and Nick SherodBuckingham was the All-Metro Player of the Year in Richmond’s backyard as a junior, making him a key target. He is a tremendous rebounder for his size and is versatile in scoring. Meanwhile, Sherod has the torch from long range, and the ability to really stretch defenses. Sherod should be an immediate upgrade to the Spiders’ perimeter attack. On the interior, Grant Golden also can step out and shoot, adding versatility. Golden can rebound in the paint, and may have been a bit underrated after missing all but three of his games as a junior due to a broken foot.

6. Duquesne Dukes

Michael Lewis | 6′-2″ | PG | Chaminade (MO)
Spencer Littleson | 6′-4″ | SG | Adams (MI)
Isiaha Mike | 6′-8″ | PF | Trinity International (CAN)

Duquesne head coach Jim Ferry addressed several needs on his roster during the early signing period, by grabbing three quality prospects. A highly-touted Canadian power forward, Isaiha Mike, is arguably the headliner of the class. He is an Ontario-native with good size to help at power forward as he develops. The Dukes also added a quality shooting backcourt in efficient guards Michael Lewis and Spencer Littleson. Lewis plays on one of the top high school teams in the country and is used to playing with talented teammates. Littleson is a long-range assassin who was a breakout scorer over the summer.

7. Dayton Flyers

Trey Landers | 6′-5″ | SG | Wayne (OH)

Hailing from one of the top teams in Ohio, Trey Landers brings a winning background to campus in Dayton. Head coach Archie Miller noted Landers as a player who brings a toughness to the game, and is also a physical defender at 220 pounds on his 6′-5″ frame. Landers reportedly can guard multiple positions and also is versatile offensively.

8. Saint Joseph’s Hawks

Charlie Brown | 6′-6″ | SF | St. Thomas More (CT)
Gerald Blount | 6′-7″ | PF | Pomfret School (CT)

Saint Joseph’s bolstered their frontcourt during the early signing period with the addition of Charlie Brown and Gerald Blount at each forward slot. Brown returns to Philly after a year in prep school. He previously starred at George Washington (PA) and was a breakout scorer with a skill game. A two-way forward, Blount can help in the paint down the line for the Hawks as well. Playing football as well as basketball, Blount can provide a certain toughness on the hardwood as well.

9. George Mason Patriots

Ian Boyd | 6′-4″ | SG | Apex (NC)
Justin Kier | 6′-4″ | SG | Spotswood (VA)
Kamari Newman | 6′-4″ | SG | East English Village (MI)
Troy Temara | 6′-8″ | PF | West Genesee (NY)

The Patriots largely upgraded their perimeter by landing a trio of 6′-4″ guards during the early signing period. George Mason has a player hailing from a winning program in Ian Boyd at guard. Boyd can score in a variety of ways according to head coach Dave Paulsen. Versatile guard Justin Kier has the athleticism guard multiple positions, and was a stat stuffer at the high school level. A high-level scorer at his high school, Kamari Newman has long distance shooting range, coupled with a strong basketball IQ, according to Paulsen. Athletic big man Troy Temara completes the class. He’s known as a bouncy frontcourt prospect who can run the floor.

10. Saint Louis Billikens

Zeke Moore | 6′-6″ | SF | Riverview Gardens (MO)

Versatile wing Zeke Moore was a tremendous shooter and scorer in high school, and therefore an important recruit for Saint Louis to keep close to campus. Coach Jim Crews noted Moore is the son of his high school coach at Riverview Gardens, and a player with versatile skills in conjunction with his size.

11. Fordham Rams

Will Tavares | 6′-6″ | SG | Monroe CC (NY)

Rhode Island-native Will Tavares was a standout in a strong junior college program at Monroe CC, and hopes to bring that track record of success to Fordham. As a freshman Tavares was named Region XV player of the year, posting a blazing 42 percent clip from beyond the arc. Tavares attended Monroe CC after starring at Bishop Hendricksen (RI).

12. St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Amandi Ikpeze | 6′-10″ | C | Amherst (NY)

From nearby Amherst, St. Bonaventure inked Amandi Ikpeze to hold down the paint. Ikpeze is a committed rebounder who can block shots, making him a force in the paint at 245 pounds. He has good size and soft shooting touch according to coach Mark Schmidt, who noted that Ikpeze should develop at the college level after only playing organized hoops for three years.

13. LaSalle Explorers

Cian Sullivan | 7′-1″ | C | St. Andrew’s (RI)

Head coach Dr. John Giannini expects a development period for Cian Sullivan, a native of Ireland, but he certainly possesses an impressive frame. Giannini noted he has the size and skill to be a quality center at LaSalle, after moving to St. Andrew’s from Mercy Mounthawk school in Ireland.

NR. Davidson Wildcats

No known signings or commitments.

About K.J. Hassenstab

K.J. Hassenstab is the publisher of the College Basketball Newcomers Guide book and Hoopniks.com. He founded Hoopniks.com in 2009, and has contributed to SlamOnline, Dime Magazine's HighSchoolHoop.com, and NBCSports.com, along with other publications in the past. Hassenstab has covered grassroots, high school and basketball recruiting for over a decade. Follow on Twitter, @Hoopniks.

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