Nov. 21, 2007
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team can bank on losing three players this spring, thanks to the departure of its senior class. Luckily for the Lumberjacks, though, they can also bank on three solid replacements, thanks to a talent-laden early signing class.
Head coach Danny Kaspar announced Wednesday the addition of Lu Griffin, Walt Harris and Zach Williams, all of whom inked with SFA during the NCAA early signing period. The class includes two stellar junior college players and the highest-rated high school signee in Kaspar's eight-year tenure.
"We are very excited about this recruiting class," Kaspar said. "It will help us fill the holes created by the graduation of our three senior players -- Gerald Fonzie, Scott Weaver and Kyle Jacobs.
"All three of our recruits come from respected and well-coached programs. I sincerely believe these young men have the character and discipline to represent us in a most positive way, both on the floor and off."
Griffin is a 6-5 power forward from Greenville, S.C., by way of South Plains College. He averaged 5.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a freshman at South Plains, showing spurts of explosiveness with 18 points against Pima College and 19 rebounds against New Mexico Junior College. Griffin helped lead the Texans to the Western Junior College Athletic Conference championship last season. The team went on to reach the Region V championship game before losing to eventual national champion Midland College.
This season, South Plains is off to a 7-0 start, and Griffin has already recorded a 14-rebund game against San Jacinto Junior College.
As a high school senior, Griffin averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots for Greenville High. He led the squad to a 26-3 record that season.
"Lu is a very athletic power forward," Kaspar said. "With the graduation of Scott Weaver and Kyle Jacobs, we needed to sign a player like Lu. He is an excellent rebounder and a good scorer."
Harris is a 6-5 guard from Killeen, Texas, currently playing at McLennan Community College. He was named North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and was a First-Team All-NTJCAC selection last season, when he led the team with 12.3 points per game. Playing alongside current Lumberjack Eric Bell, Harris scored a season-high 22 points in back-to-back games last year.
This season, Harris is averaging 14.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals per contest. The Harker Heights High School product participated in Jerry Mullen's Top 120 Junior College Prospect event over the summer.
"Walt is an exceptional player who will help us immediately," Kaspar said. "He is an outstanding shooting guard prospect who played very well in a tough NTJCAC last season."
Williams is the lone prep recruit of the bunch and is the most highly touted high school player ever signed by Kaspar. Mike Kunstadt's Texas Hoops has Williams ranked among the state's top 15 players this year. The Dallas Skyline senior averaged 12 points per game with six rebounds and two assists last season. He was a first-team all-district selection as a junior.
"Zach is the highest-ranking high school player we have ever signed," Kaspar said. "He plays the same position as Josh Alexander and will give us a great deal of added depth there next season in Josh's senior year. I expect Zach to be a major contributor to our program during his time with us."
-- SFA --