Men's Basketball Coach Chris Mack And His Staff Secure A Top 20 Recruiting Class
Nov. 11, 2009
CINCINNATI --- Xavier University head basketball coach Chris Mack announced today that he has received four signed national letters of intent from young men who will be a part of the Xavier team beginning with the 2010-11 season, an impressive list of signees which earned Xavier a top 20 recruiting class ranking by rivals.com and many other experts. The signees include Jay Canty, a 6-5, 185-pound guard/forward from Oak Ridge (NC) Military Academy; Jordan Latham, a 6-8, 220-pound forward from City College High School in Baltimore, Md.; Justin Martin, a 6-7, 200-pound forward from Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W.Va.; Griffin McKenzie, a 6-9, 220-pound forward from Cincinnati’s Moeller High School.
Jay Canty, 6-5 guard/forward from Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy
Canty, ranked 130th by rivals.com, averaged 22 points last season at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, N.C., before transferring to Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy. Oak Ridge Military Academy head coach Stan Kowalewski said Canty is a young man that will make Xavier fans proud. “Jay is a tireless worker, the first player to arrive and the last player to leave practice,” said Kowalewski. “He only plays one way and that’s hard all the time. When you add that to his tremendous athleticism, he has a chance to be a special player at the next level. He has always been a great slasher and scorer and his length and desire make him a great offensive rebounder. He is working hard right now on his shooting and, the way that he works, I know that is going to improve consistently as well.”
Mack was excited about the signing of Canty: “Jay is a terrific player and an even better young man hailing from High Point, N.C., a few miles down the road from where Coach Kelsey and I worked for years. We are thrilled to have him in the Xavier family. His length and athleticism at the wing position and his ability to finish at the rim is of the highest level. He has that “inspector gadget” look around the basket as his arms seem to be everywhere. He could be a dominant rebounder and defender in our system as well.”
Jordan Latham, 6-8 forward from City College High School in Baltimore, Md.
Latham, ranked 121st by rivals.com, averaged 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocks a game last season playing for head coach Mike Daniels at City College High School. “Jordan is a special young man from a great family,” said Daniels. “He is going to be great for Xavier University because he will not only be a special player but he takes his academics very seriously. His versatility and skills at his size set him apart from other players. He can rebound, post up and put the ball on the floor and with his length he is very disruptive at the defensive end as well. He was a big part of our state championship team last season and he is unquestionably our team leader this season.”
Latham’s AAU coach, the legendary Carlton “Bub” Carrington, said Latham is a treat to coach. “In this time many kids are all about ‘I’ and Jordan’s all about the ‘we’ and putting the team first,” said Carrington. “Jordan is the perfect teammate. He just cares about winning and losing. He is a lot further along offensively than many people realize because he’s such an unselfish player. Jordan can really rebound. He has a very quick second jump going up for the ball. With his work ethic, I know he is committed to continued improvement.”
Mack said Xavier University and its fans will love Latham: “Jordan should hold a special place in the heart of Musketeer fans. He does in mine. After committing to the previous staff, Jordan decided to open up his recruitment during the period of time in which there was not a head coach in place. Ultimately Jordan felt that there wasn’t a better fit in the country than Xavier University for his academic and basketball future. Jordan has the size, quickness and toughness to cement his place at a program that former NBA great Reggie Miller once deemed “Power Forward University”. Most importantly, Jordan is a winner. As a junior, Jordan won the 2009 Maryland State Championship under Coach Mike Daniels at City College High School.”
Justin Martin, 6-7 forward from Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W.Va.
Martin, ranked 83rd by rivals.com, averaged 10.4 ppg. as a junior at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Ind., the same school that sent XU current freshman Jeff Robinson. Martin is now a standout at Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W.Va., under head coach Rodney Crawford. “Justin is a terrific kid on and off the court and he’s very mature for his age,” said Crawford. “Justin understands the game very well. He is a great shooter and a great captain and leader for us. With his size he can really shoot the ball over a lot of defenders. He is long and athletic, which helps him at both ends of the court. He has really picked it up and been a leader for us defensively this year.”
Mack said Martin can really shoot the ball: “Justin, a sharpshooter from Indianapolis, joined the Xavier basketball family earlier today. Playing his first three years under legendary coach Jack Keefer at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Justin is finishing his high school career at Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W.V. Justin has a high IQ for the game, can shoot it from deep and is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential as a player. Justin is more than a shooter. He can really pass and has the ability to rebound defensively and push the ball.”
Griffin McKenzie, 6-9 forward from Cincinnati Moeller High School
McKenzie, ranked 115th by rivals.com, averaged 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds a game as a junior at Moeller, although his production was slowed last season by an injury. This season he’s 100 percent healthy and is expected to lead the Crusaders to much greater success.
Moeller head coach Carl Kremer, who counts among his recent success stories 2008 Xavier graduate Josh Duncan, said that McKenzie is getting better every day. “Griffin is a 6-9 big kid with great ball skills,” said Kremer. “Off the court you are getting a kid who is a great person and will succeed academically. On the court he is a big guy with guard-like skills who can handle the ball and is an excellent three-point shooter. He will continue to get stronger and work on his game. He has tremendous upside. His statistics from last year don’t tell the real story since he wasn’t really cleared to play much until the last few games of the season. The fact that he hit 9-of-11 three-pointers in limited time down the stretch gives you an indication of some of that potential.”
Mack is excited that another local standout, McKenzie, will be a Musketeer: “Griffin McKenzie was as sought after as any skilled post player in the country during the all-important month of July. We are thrilled and lucky to have a young man with his skill set and size in our program. Players like Griffin are considered weapons at the college level. Most importantly, however, Griffin will be a great ambassador for our school and basketball program. He is an outstanding person and student which is a direct reflection on his family and Moeller High School. Griffin continues the lineage of GCL greats that have gone onto play at the highest level of college basketball.”