BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – In Head Coach Bennie Seltzer's first full recruiting class since taking over the reins last season, the Samford University basketball team officially received national letters-of-intent from six highly-acclaimed players Thursday as the Bulldogs announced their talent-laden 2013 signing class.
"I really like our class," said Samford head coach Bennie Seltzer. "I like the fact that we took care of almost every position. We didn't take care of a specific position, but we took care of a combination of all of the positions. I like the talent level and I think we have some very skilled guys in this class that can really shoot the ball. We also satisfied a lot of needs with this class."
A total of six players officially signed to play for Samford Thursday, in what is arguably the Bulldogs' most talented recruiting class in school history.
Samford's signees for the 2013-14 season consist of the following standouts: Michael Bradley, Jordan Capps, Emeka Ikezu, Nnamdi Enechionyia, Brandon Roberts and Isaiah Williams.
"Recruiting is all about building relationships," Seltzer said. "Last year, we came in after I took the job on April 5, and we didn't have a lot of time to go and form those relationships. This year, we've had time to go in and recruit the players the right way in terms of building the relationships with them and their families, so that made it a lot better for us."
Michael Bradley, who originally signed with UConn out of high school, will be the only junior in this year's class, while the remaining five athletes are all true freshmen.
At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, Bradley will immediately add size to the Bulldogs' front line. A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Bradley spent two years at UConn, but never played in a game for the Huskies. He redshirted his first season in Storrs, Conn., and was then forced to miss the 2011-12 campaign with an injury.
Following his redshirt freshman year at UConn, Bradley famously gave up his scholarship to make room for highly-touted 2011 recruit Andre Drummond and attempted to transfer to Western Kentucky. But when the NCAA denied his appeal to play immediately, the 6-foot-10 Bradley needed a place to play right away, so he ended up at Vincennes University, a two-year junior college on the southwest Indiana.
Last year at Vincennes University, Bradley recovered from his injury late in the season and earned playing time in nine games. He finished with 2.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest as the Trailblazers tallied a stellar 33-4 overall record and advanced to the Final Four of the NJCAA Tournament.
During his prep career, Bradley led Tyner High School to a District championship, a Sub-State championship and Regional title in 2010. He averaged 5.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and three blocks per game as a senior and was a 2010 McDonald's All-America Nominee.
Jordan Capps also signed a national letter-of-intent with Seltzer's squad Thursday. An athletic 6-foot-6 small forward, he was ranked by ESPN as the 18th-rated player in Georgia and chose to attend Samford over Appalachian State, Furman, Gardner-Webb, Georgia, Western Kentucky and Winthrop.
According to the national recruiting experts, Capps' athleticism and rebounding are his best assets. He has good length, runs the floor and finish above the rim not only on the break, but also in the half court with quick short dribble rim attacks. He can also knock down the open 3-point attempts on kick outs with needed time and space.
Capps earned all-state honors as a senior at Peachtree Ridge High School and averaged 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest.
Emeka Ikezu, a 6-foot-9 center originally from Nigeria, is only two years removed from leaving his friends and family in Africa to move to the United States to pursue his dream of playing basketball.
An impressive athlete, Ikezu is long and athletic and extremely active on both ends of the court. Defensively, he plays extremely big and utilizes his wingspan to alter shots on the opponent's offensive end of the floor.
Nnamdi Enechionyia, a native of Hagerstown, Md., was personally recruited by Seltzer and signed his national letter-of-intent to play for the Bulldogs on Thursday.
An athletic 6-foot-6 forward, Enechionyia averaged 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a senior at St. James School and chose to attend Samford over interest from Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Drexel, Quinnipiac, Colgate and Mount Saint Mary's. An ever-improving prospect, Enechionyia's first love was soccer and he only started dedicating himself to basketball in 2010.
Blessed with the natural ability to shoot from anywhere on the court, Enechionyia tallied the top single-game scoring mark in the Tri-State area this season with a 41-point performance in December. He was also an outstanding cross country runner for the Saints will most likely study psychology or pre-law at Samford.
Brandon Roberts, a native of Decatur and an all-state performer at West Morgan High School, was recently rated as the No. 3 prospect in the state of Alabama by Future150.com.
As one of the top prospects in the area, Roberts is a great ball handler with good court vision who can score in bunches. He has really good athleticism and can finish at the rim with either hand. Roberts can also score on all three levels and can play and guard both guard positions. He is also a very consistent 3-point shooters as well.
Roberts garnered interest from a number of Division I Universities and chose to attend Samford over the likes of Auburn, Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Murray State, Marshall, Tulane, Lipscomb and UNC Wilmington.
As a senior at West Morgan High School, Roberts averaged an impressive 32.5 points per contest and was chosen to play in the prestigious Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
Roberts finished his senior campaign with 1,006 points scored in a single season, a total which ranks eighth all-time in Alabama High School history. He also finished second all-time for most field goals made in one season with 354. A prolific scorer, Roberts also touched 50 points a few times, but his best total was a 51-point performance, which ranks 42nd in Alabama history.
Isaiah Williams, a speedy 6-foot-1 point guard from Buford, Ga., will join Samford's roster next year after choosing the Bulldogs over Chattanooga, Jacksonville and Ole Miss.
According to the national recruiting experts, Williams is a high-level scoring point guard who can do it all. He scores when his team needs him to, he dishes out passes that lead to baskets and rebounds down from the perimeter on the defensive end. Williams also uses his excellent athletic ability and good size to bully smaller defenders.
Williams possesses the ability to score in bunches and reeled off 15 straight points in a game against Wesleyan last season. During his senior campaign at Buford High School, Williams scored a game-high 25 points versus North Hall and boasts excellent shooting range off the catch or the dribble.
"Before players come to campus, our recruiting pitch is that they will be able to come here and help make something special happen at Samford," said Seltzer. "I think we have the resources and facilities that are probably the best in the Southern Conference. We have unbelievable facilities, so we can compete in that aspect with anybody in our conference."
All six members of Samford's 2013-14 signing class will be eligible to compete for the Bulldogs in the fall. Next season, Samford will also add the talents of 6-foot-4 shooting guard Chris Longoria, who transferred in December from Binghamton University, where he started in 15 games as a true freshman and averaged 6.5 points per game.
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2013-14 Samford Basketball Signees
Name Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School)
Michael Bradley Jr. C 6-10 250 Chattanooga, Tenn. (Tyner HS)
Jordan Capps Fr. G/F 6-6 195 Suwanee, Ga. (Peachtree Ridge HS)
Emeka Ikezu Fr. F/C 6-9 230 Greensboro, N.C. (Hargrave Military Academy)
Nnamdi Enechionyia Fr. G/F 6-6 175 Hagerstown, Md. (St. James School)
Brandon Roberts Fr. G 6-1 165 Decatur, Ala. (West Morgan HS)
Isaiah Williams Fr. G 6-1 160 Buford, Ga. (Buford HS)
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