May 7, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin basketball coach Danny Kaspar announced Monday the completion of his team's 2012-13 signing class with five additions during the spring signing period. Junior college transfers Deshaunt Walker, Ice Asortse, Nikola Gajic and Jared Harrison, along with prep recruit Trey Pinkney, have all signed national letters of intent with SFA.
This group will team with eight returning players from last year's team which put up a 20-12 record and finished second in the Southland Conference.
"This recruiting class fills our needs for next year very well," Kaspar said. "With this class and the quality core group we have returning should put us in great position to compete for the Southland Conference title next year as long as we are able to avoid the injury bug."
Walker is a 6-0 shooting guard from South Plains Junior College. After two years with the Texans, he will join the Lumberjacks with 65 games under his belt at the junior college level. This past season, Walker helped lead the Texans to a perfect 36-0 record and an NJCAA championship.
During his time at South Plains, Walker averaged 7.3 points per game off the bench for the Texans while playing behind Marshall Henderson, one of the nation's top junior college prospects who signed with Ole Miss after averaging nearly 20 points per game and being named the WJCAC league MVP.
Walker hit 38.9 percent of his field goals, including 33 percent of hits shots from behind the arc and 90.5 percent from the free throw line. A native of Silver Springs, Md., Walker had success at the high school level too, leading Spring Brook High School to a pair of state titles.
"Deshaunt is a combo guard that shoots the ball very well," Kaspar said. "He is a very competitive player who is used to winning and is coming from winning programs at both South Plains Junior College and his high school in Maryland. In addition, he will add a lot of athleticism to our roster next season."
Asortse is a 6-8 forward from Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College. In two years with the Bulldogs, Asortse helped his team to a 43-11 record and a MACJC title in 2011. As a sophomore the native of Nigeria helped his team reach as high as No. 16 in the NJCAA polls and was named as a member of the MACJC South Division's men's all-star team.
Asortse joins the Lumberjacks after two seasons in Perkinston that saw the incoming junior average 10 points and better than nine rebounds a game as a freshman before putting up nearly nine points and just over seven rebounds per contest as a sophomore.
"Ice is a very strong and physical post player," Kaspar said. "His rebounding is his most outstanding trait, which should play well in our system and in this league. He will battle Taylor (Smith) next year for a starting position on our squad."
Harrison is a 5-11 point guard who is expected to come in and compete for immediate playing time after averaging 12.4 points per game as a sophomore at Connors State College in Warner, Okla. He hit better than 83 percent from the foul line and 39 percent from three-point land last year, dishing out 3.2 assists with 2.7 rebounds a game.
That came on the heels of a freshman campaign that saw him hit better than half of his field goals and average 5.1 points and nearly four assists per contest in his first season out of Salmon High School in Slidell, La.
"Jared is a very good point guard prospect and with him and Trey (Pinkney), I feel as though we have significantly improved our team at that position," Kaspar said. "He is skilled and shoots the ball very well, and comes from two very well-coached and respected programs in Salmon High School and Connors State College."
Gajic is a 6-5 forward from Jacksonville College (Jacksonville, Texas). He appeared in 55 games for the Jaguars across two seasons, averaging 13.2 points per game during his time at the junior college ranks.
As a sophomore, Gajic led the team in made field goals and points, scoring 14.1 per game and canning 46 shots from behind the arc. The Bratunac, Bosnia native, also averaged 5.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals a game last season
"Nikola is a skilled forward who can shoot, pass and handle the ball," Kaspar said. "He is a very smart player who led his team and the Texas Eastern League in steals and is a very coachable player."
Pinkney is a 5-8, 150-pound point guard from Seven Lakes High School (Katy, Texas). He was a four-time first team all-district 17-5A choice for the Spartans, in addition to being named to the all-region squad in 2010 and VYPE's Fan Poll Boys' Player of the Year in 2012.
The four-year letter winner helped his team to a 118-32 overall record and 40-8 in district play. Pinkney leaves Seven Lakes as the school's all-time, season and single-game leader in steals and assists. In four years, Pinkney accumulated 802 assists and 506 steals.
The 2012 district defensive MVP, he ended his prep career in March after leading Seven Lakes High School to the Class 5A regional semifinals. The incoming freshman has led his team to post-season play three of his four years, including the regional semifinals in 2011 and the area round in 2009.
"Trey is a freshman signee who is a winner and a leader," Kaspar said. "He has led Seven Lakes to an outstanding record as a high schooler, starting all four years there. He reminds me a great deal of Eric Bell, who also had an outstanding career here."