Xavier Receives Five Signed Commitments for Men's Basketball
CINCINNATI --- Xavier University men’s basketball head coach Thad Matta has received five signed national letters of intent from prospective student-athletes. The list of signees includes three prep stars: 6-0 guard Dedrick Finn from Newburgh (Ind.) Castle High School, 6-7 forward Brandon Cole from Richton Park (ll.) Rich South High School and 6-8 forward Angelo Smith from Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence North High School. The two other Xavier signees are junior college standouts: Randy Holbrook, a 6-10 forward/center from Odessa (Texas) College, and Anthony Myles, a 6-9 forward from Olney (Ill.) Central College. Holbrook played high school ball in Kirkwood, Mo., while Myles played in Chicago.
“We’re excited about the class,” said Matta “I think we filled some voids that we had to get filled and I think we also received five guys who can come in and fit our system and what we are trying to do on offense and defense. We got a late start and had some time constraints since we just arrived here in May but I’m very pleased to say that we got the guys we wanted.”
Dedrick Finn averaged 20.5 points, 6.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game as a junior last season at Castle High, while helping his team finish 19-4 under head coach Steve Brunes. Finn, a 2001-02 Street & Smith’s preseason honorable mention All-American, shot 51 percent from the field, including 43 percent from three-point range, and 88 percent from the free-throw line. Finn, who was chosen by Hoosier Magazine as one of the top 15 players in the state, had one game his junior year where he exploded for 11 three-pointers.
“Dedrick (Finn) loves to play,” said Matta. “He loves to compete. He’s a very good athlete who is quick with the ball. He has good range on his jump shot. He’s a tenacious defender who can really get up and pressure the basketball. But what I really love about Dedrick is that he is a winner and a leader. He does a great job making everyone around him better.”
Brandon Cole averaged 19.5 points and 10.0 rebounds a game as a junior last season at Rich South High, while shooting 58 percent from the field. Cole earned First Team All-Area and First Team All-SICA South Conference honors while leading the young Rich South squad to a 14-12 mark.
“Brandon (Cole) is a guy that has a great knack for scoring,” said Matta. “He is very good around the basket but he can also step out a little bit and take a guy off the dribble if he needs to. He’s got great feet and is a very good defender who can guard a couple of positions for us.”
Cole’s high school coach, Fred Jacobeit, said he “leads by example. For a player his size he handles the ball well, and he can shoot it from 15-to-17 feet. He has good touch around the basket and is solid on the boards. He has good quickness and footwork, which also allows him to run the floor and be effective on defense.”
Angelo Smith averaged 11.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a game as a junior at Lawrence North High, while helping his team finish 24-6 and reach the Class “AAAA” state semifinals. Smith, a 2001-02 preseason First Team All-State selection by Hoosier Basketball magazine, earned a long list of honors following his junior season: First Team All-Metro Interscholastic Conference, First Team All-Marion County and was named to the 12-member Indiana Junior All-Stars Team. Smith had an impressive showing at this summer’s AAU state tournament, earning Tourney MVP honors.
“Every time that I’ve seen Angelo (Smith) over the last couple years he’s gotten better.,” said Matta “Angelo is a long athlete that has worked hard on developing his 15-to-17 foot jump shot. He’s a guy who can also score inside and does a nice job on the boards. He’s a very intelligent player, who I think will be able to defend a couple of different positions for us.”
Lawrence North High School head coach Jack Keefer said: “Angelo is a very athletic, energetic kid. We list him at 6-7 or 6-7 1/2 but with his long arms and the way he jumps he plays more like a 6-9 or 6-10 guy.”
“I like the coaches and players at Xavier and the way that they play," said Smith. "(Academic Advisor) Sr. Fleming was also a big factor in my decision.”
Randy Holbrook averaged 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds as a freshman at Odessa College, while helping his team finish 27-7 under head coach Orlando Ontiveroz. Holbrook was slowed by injury during the season but exploded for 23.5 points and 9.0 rebounds a game in the junior college postseason tournament. Holbrook is listed as the fourth-best junior college power forward prospect by Van Coleman of Future Stars. PrepStars.com lists Holbrook among 13 juco “Players to Watch” this season. Rick Ball of Ballplayers J.C. Report lists Holbrook on his “Top 60” list.
“I first saw Randy (Holbrook) play in high school,” said Matta. “Randy has great shooting touch. He can step out and hit the three but with his body he is able to go inside and bang. He’s a guy that’s had games where he has scored and rebounded big for his team. With his size and ability, we think he can do that for us as well.”
Anthony Myles averaged 9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds a game as a freshman at Olney Central College, while shooting 50 percent form the field and helping his team to an 18-14 record. Myles was ranked number 17 among junior college power forwards by Van Coleman of Future Stars. Rick Ball of Ballplayers J.C.
Report lists Myles on his “Top 60” list. “Anthony (Myles) has a great body at about 6-9 and about 235, and he is very good on the low block,” said Matta. “He does a nice job finishing around the basket. Anthony gives us some added toughness under the basket and a solid low post scorer.”
Olney head coach Jim Glash said Myles "really knows how to finish.”
Myles put in simply when describing why he chose Xavier: “They graduate their players. They have a great coach. It’s the right place for me.”