Nov. 15, 2013
ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio University men’s basketball head coach Jim Christian has announced the signing of four student-athletes that will compete for the Bobcats beginning in fall 2014.
The quartet of future Bobcats includes Kendall Crute, Nehemias Morillo, Tariq Owens and Rodell Wigginton.
“We are very excited to add four student-athletes during the early signing period,” head coach Jim Christian said. “The new players not only help satisfy our needs with the loss of five seniors but even more importantly, have the type of work ethic and attitude to fit in very well with our returning players.”
“Our two high school recruits, Tariq Owens and Kendall Crute, bring skill sets that will be able to help us right away but also have a potential for growth that is truly exciting. The two junior college recruits, Rodell Wigginton and Nehemias Morillo, both play for nationally-ranked junior college programs and will provide a great combination of length, athletic ability and skills that will be needed to replace four departing senior perimeter players.”
Crute is a six-foot-three-inch guard from Marietta, Ga. A three-year letter winner at North Cobb Christian High School, Crute averaged 15.4 points and 3.3 assists during his junior season while earning second team all-state honors. He helped the Eagles reach the Elite 8 of the 2013 Georgia State Tournament and led North Cobb Christian to GHSA Regional Championships in 2011 and 2012.
He is ranked as the 17th best Georgia prospect in the Class of 2014 and No. 57 at his position by ESPN.com.
“Kendall plays for a great high school program at North Cobb Christian under head coach Greg Matta,” Christian said. “He is a powerfully built guard who is a very confident scorer. He has great range from three and is excellent off the dribble. In time, his athleticism and strength will make him an outstanding defender. I look for him to have a great senior season.”
Morillo is entering his second season at Monroe College and suited up with current Bobcat junior forward Maurice Ndour last season. A 6-foot-6-inch combo guard from the Dominican Republic, Morillo is averaging 18.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals in two games for the Mustangs this season. He was named MVP of Monroe’s opening Owens CC Tip-off Classic in Toledo, Ohio.
“Nehemias plays for an outstanding program at Monroe led by Jeff Brustad,” Christian said. “He is a very fast and long guard who is a very good ball handler. His strength and speed give him the ability to really break down the defense and get into the lane. Nehemias has outstanding length and toughness which should make an excellent defender on the perimeter.”
Owens is a 6-foot-9-inch forward from Laurel, Md., who has played for Saint Vincent Pallotti High School over the past two seasons and starred on the AAU circuit as a member of Under Armour B’more’s Finest. A four-star, top-100 recruit according to Scout.com, Owens is listed as the No. 21 power forward in the Class of 2014 and the 99th best prospect overall.
“Tariq is a special talent who is spending his post graduate year at TAAG Academy led by Darwin Floyd,” head coach Jim Christian said. “Tariq is an excellent shot blocker and rebounder who has great length and the ability to get off the floor quickly. He has worked extremely hard on improving his ball handling, shooting and low-post skills. We could not be more excited about his future.”
Wigginton is a 6-foot-6-inch guard/forward from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He is entering his second season at the College of Central Florida after leading the Patriots to a NJCAA National Championship during the 2012-13 season. Wigginton averaged 14.0 points per game and shot 57 percent from the field during CCF’s run to the national title last season and is averaging 25.8 points per game over the Patriots’ first four games in 2013-14. CCF is the No. 1 ranked team in the NJCAA this season.
“Rodell was a major factor in the College of Central Florida national championship a year ago and is working hard to repeat this season,” Christian said. “Rodell is a very strong and athletically gifted wing who can score both on the perimeter and in the post. He possesses a great feel for the game and has been well coached by Tim Ryan at Central Florida. He has the potential to be a high volume rebounder.”
The 2013-14 Bobcats (1-1) return to action Sunday (Nov. 17) with a 2 p.m. contest vs. Valparaiso inside the Convocation Center.