SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team will add ten new players for the 2017-18 season, the largest incoming group in head coach Matt Logie's seven seasons.
The Pirates graduated four starters following the 2016-17 season, including three-time All-Northwest Conference honorees Kenny Love and Christian Jurlina.
The group of ten new players includes five transfers and five freshmen.
"We knew that reloading with impact-ready players and adding experience could help us remain a top-10 level team but it's not often that those pieces come together like they did this year," Logie said. "We also feel fortunate to have added a deep and talented group of freshmen as well."
The transfers include Jared Christy, Kevin Crosno, Isaiah Hernandez, Garrett Hull and Jordan Lester. The freshmen are Reed Brown, Tanner Fogle, James Harland, Ke'a Vargas and Chewy Zevenbergen.
Christy is coming to Whitworth from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Christy graduated from Ferris High School in Spokane before attending PLU for two years. He earned second team All-NWC as a sophomore after averaging 13.8 points per game and leading the league in rebounding (11.2 rebounds per game). The 6-6 forward averaged 7.8 points and 8.0 rebounds in his first year as a Lute.
"Jared is a late-blooming local product that really blossomed during his first two seasons at PLU under head coach Steve Dickerson," Logie said. "Jared's combination of size, skill and athleticism make him a matchup nightmare for opponents and we are looking forward to the impact he can make in our frontcourt here in his home town."
Crosno is joining the Pirates after earning his associates degree from Diablo Valley College in California. The 6-6 forward graduated from College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, California where he was a first team All-Diablo Valley League honoree. He scored 4.9 points per game as a freshman and 2.0 points as a sophomore at DVC, where he was on the All-Academic Team.
"We've followed Kevin for a number of years and have always appreciated his combination of size, shooting ability and toughness," Logie said. "After graduating a large class we wanted to add more depth to our upper classes and Kevin will be a perfect fit."
Herandez will transfer to Whitworth with freshman eligibility after a redshirt season at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. The 6-1 guard earned first team All-Greater Spokane League as a senior at Lewis & Clark High School in 2016 and he helped lead the Tigers to a WIAA 4A state tournament appearance.
"Isaiah is a very versatile guard who defends well, makes others around him better and can do a little bit of everything offensively," Logie said. "We are excited he has chosen to continue his basketball career with our basketball family."
Hull, a 6-1 guard, starred at the Community Colleges of Spokane and earned second team All-Northwest Athletic Conference in 2017 by averaging 13.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game. He averaged 6.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a freshman as CCS won the NWAC title. The Sasquatch went 52-12 during Hull's two season. He was a standout at Ellensburg High School prior to playing in Spokane.
"Garrett will do whatever it whatever it takes to win a basketball game – make shots, run the team, defend the opponent's best player or make hustle plays," Logie said. "For all those reasons we knew early on that Garrett could be a key part of this recruiting class."
Lester joins the Pirates after two seasons and NCAA Div. I Robert Morris University (Pa.). The 6-2 guard was limited to three games during his sophomore year, but played in 21 games as a freshman and averaged 11.4 minutes and 1.4 points per game. He averaged 21.2 points, 4.0 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a senior at Eastlake High School near Seattle, earning first team All-Kingco recognition. He was his team's captain and MVP as a senior.
"Jordan brings a high level of experience to our backcourt at just the right time," Logie said. "Jordan adds an attacking and athletic presence to our perimeter and has the ability to create for himself or others. We think Jordan can impact our program immediately."
Brown is the first of five freshmen joining the squad in 2017-18. He earned second team All-Metro League as a senior at Sunset High School in Portland, Oregon by averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and two assists per contest. He is a 6-7 forward who was also third team All-Metro as a junior.
"Reed is an extremely versatile and skilled frontcourt player who we feel can make a big impact in our program," Logie said. "Reed was very productive in the summer circuit and was even forced to play some point guard in high school, which is a testament to his skill level. Reed is a great student and high-character kid who will be a great addition to our community."
Fogle comes to Whitworth from Camas High School near Vancouver, Washington. The 6-4 wing averaged 10.6 points, six rebounds and three assists per game while making 42% of his three-pointers as a senior. He earned honorable mention All-Greater St. Helen's League (4A) recognition and was invited to play in the Les Schwab Roundball Shootout.
"Tanner is a dead-eye shooter who loves to be in the gym working on his craft," Logie said. "It was evident early on that the culture of our program was one that fit Tanner to a T and we are looking forward to seeing him develop as a Pirate."
Harland is another in a long line of Pirates who come to Whitworth from Down Under. The 6-3 guard starred at Yarra Valley Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia and also for the Frankston Blues, his club program. He averaged 15.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game in his final year at Yarra Valley. His numbers for the Frankston SEABL/ Under 20 team were 18.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game.
He joins Xavier Cooke and Cameron Rutherford, both from Australia, and Sam Lees from New Zealand on the Pirates' roster. Jurlina was from Sydney before his stellar Pirate career.
"James is a coach's son who has a tremendous passion for the game," Logie said. "James can really shoot and he plays with that Aussie toughness and basketball IQ we have come to appreciate. His combination of size and ability at the guard position will suit him well as he transitions to the U.S. college game."
Vargas is a Pirate legacy, following in the footsteps of his dad Louie, who played for Warren Friedrichs at Whitworth in the 1990s. Ke'a graduated from Gonzaga Prep in Spokane as a second team All-Greater Spokane League honoree. The 6-1 guard averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists as a senior, leading the Bullpups to a third place finish at the WIAA 4A state tournament in both 2016 and 2017.
"As Louie's son we've followed Ke'a since we arrived at Whitworth seven years ago and it's not often that those relationships come full circle," Logie said. "Ke'a is a gritty competitor who has done nothing but win during his career. He shoots the ball extremely well and makes the game easy because he plays the right way."
The final incoming freshman is Zevenbergen, a 6-8 post from Edmonds, Washington who attended King's High School. He averaged 9.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game as a senior, earning first team All-Cascade Conference recognition.
"Chewy is a late-blooming front court player who continues to grow into his body and his abilities," Logie said. "Chewy was a part of a very successful program at King's and he is accustomed to winning. His length and athleticism can be a factor at the rim and, with continued hard work, we look forward to his best basketball being ahead of him."
This group of ten players joins a team that made its 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament and finished 23-5 in 2016-17. Kyle Roach, a second team All-NWC honoree in 2017, is the lone returning starter. Ben College, Ben Bishop and C.J. Johnson also played significant minutes for the Bucs last season.
"We feel our roster is going to be as deep and strong as ever," Logie concluded. "Obviously there is a lot to put together in terms of chemistry, leadership and role allocation, but that is the joy of the journey in any season. I can't wait to see these guys compete as we build upon the success of past Pirate teams."