Davis Inks 2003-04 Recruiting ClassNovember 14, 2002 · MT Media Relations
Blue Raider Head Coach Kermit Davis has announced his 2003-04 signing class and it looks like quite a haul for the first year bench boss.
The class is being tabbed as one of the best in school history, and, judging from the credentials of the newest Blue Raiders, it's hard to argue the point.
"We really wanted to focus on high school kids and we feel very good about the quality of the people, the character on and off the floor, and their talent level," Davis said. "We really think that this class will improve our program in the next three to four years."
The class is made up of five high school seniors and each one possesses outstanding credentials. Three players hail from the state of Tennessee while one is from Georgia and the other is from Indiana.
Three Tennesseans make up the bulk of this year's signing class, and HoopScoop Magazine rated each among the state's 20 best players.
Ben Britt, a 6-4 guard, averaged 20 points as a junior in leading Chattanooga Red Bank to a 19-13 record in 2001-02. Britt is also an excellent student and will be enrolling in MT's Honors College next year.
Kenyona Swader, a 6-8 forward from Smyrna, is rated the third-best player in the state and the best frontcourt player within Tennessee's borders. Swader averaged just over 14 points and 10 rebounds as a junior while earning All-District and honorable mention All-Midstate honors.
Montrelle Crittendon rounds out the Tennessee delegation to the recruiting class. Crittendon is rated just ahead of Swader as the number two player in the state. Crittendon, a 6-3 guard, has led Dyer County to an 82-19 record during his career. He has also maintained a double-figure scoring average during his Dyer County tenure.
Bryan Smithson, a 5-11 point guard from North Cobb (Ga.) High School, has the coaching staff excited. Smithson is an extremely athletic player and was named the Atlanta Tipoff Club Player of the Year following his junior season. He averaged 21 points per game last year while shooting a solid 36 percent from behind the arc.
Keith Christmas rounds out the recruiting class. The 6-6 forward from Gary (Ind.) Westside High School, is already enrolled at MT and will be ready to play next season. He led Westside to the Indiana State Title as a senior while posting 15 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He was also one of only 12 players from the Hoosier state selected to play in an all-star game against the 12 best from Kentucky.
Davis also indicated that the staff hopes to sign one more player before next season and that they will go after the best available player, regardless of position.
"First, I have to give credit to Donnie [Tyndall], Jeff [Walker] and Tres' [Chapman] for their hard work on recruiting. Second, I can only say good things about the things we have to sell here as an academic institution and a place for these kids to come and play basketball," Davis said.
Davis also indicated that recruiting high school talent from winning programs was an approach that the staff took in recruiting this class.
He said, "We wanted to bring in kids that have won some games. Keith Christmas, for example, led his team to a state title in the highest classification in Indiana. That type of attitude is very important for us in building this program. We think we have signed a good class, but it will come down to how they develop over the next few years. This class will be measured by how many games we won with them."
Guard, 6-4, 185
Chattanooga, TN (Red Bank HS)
Inside Scoop: A pure scorer ... Can play the point as well as shooting guard ... Can shoot from the perimeter as well as slash to the basket ... Constantly working to improve ... played in the Tennessee State Tournament as a sophomore.
Notable: Averaged 20 points, four assists, and seven rebounds as a junior ... Led Red Bank to a 19-13 record as a junior ... Ranked as the #17 prospect in Tennessee by HoopScoop Magazine ... Will be enrolled in MT's Honors College ... Played for Coach Scott Cook at Red Bank High School.
Davis on Britt: I think Ben is the most underrated player in our state. He's a bouncy 6-4 guard with good feet. He can play either the point or the two-guard. He shoots it well and he's very athletic around the rim. We got a chance to see him in our team camp this summer five or six times and he played well every time.
Forward, 6-6, 225
Gary, IN (Gary Westside HS)
Inside Scoop: A physical scorer ... Has nice size ... Is already on campus and will be competing next season ... One of three players from his high school team to ink Division I scholarships.
Notable: Averaged 15 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest as a senior ... Was one of only 12 players selected for the Indiana All-Star Team which plays in an annual game vs. the Kentucky All-Stars ... Led Gary Westside to an Indiana State Championship in the state's highest classification ... Was an All-Conference and All-Area selection ... Played for head coach John Boyd at Gary Westside.
Davis on Christmas: Keith's winning attitude and toughness are his best attributes. He is a four-man that is strong around the goal and is a good rebounder. We feel that we can develop his offensive skill level facing the goal to make him a complete player.
Guard, 6-3, 175
Newbern, TN (Dyer County HS)
Inside Scoop: Rated the third best prospect in Tennessee by HoopScoop Magazine ... Excellent shooter ... Led Dyer County to a Tennessee State Tournament appearance as a junior ... Can play both guard spots.
Notable: Named to the All-State Tournament Team as a junior ... Has been an All-District and All-Region selection for the past two seasons ... Has averaged double figures in scoring in each of his three seasons ... Plays for head coach Butch Hopkins at Dyer County ... In his three years, Dyer County has posted an overall record of 82-19 ... Also recruited by Tennessee and Memphis among others.
Davis on Crittendon: Montrelle is a combo guard that had a fantastic State Tournament last year. He comes from an outstanding winning program at Dyer County. He's a really young kid who's going through his senior year at 16 years of age, so he's only beginning to scratch the surface physically. He will only continue to get stronger.
Guard, 5-11, 160
Kennesaw, GA (North Cobb HS)
Inside Scoop: A true point guard ... Possesses great athleticism ... Has great toughness ... Can shoot from the perimeter, but is athletic enough to take the ball to the rim.
Notable: Averaged 21 points and four assists per game as a junior ... Plays for head coach Terry Gorsuch at North Cobb ... Named Atlanta Tipoff Club Player of the Year ... Earned Marietta Daily Journal Athlete of the Week honors ... Garnered Cobb County Tipoff Team of the Month Award ... Shot 36 percent from 3-point range as a junior ... Also recruited by Clemson, St. Louis, Furman, and Marist among others.
Davis on Smithson: Bryan is a very, very athletic true point guard. He can get his own shot off the dribble and can finish at the rim due to his athleticism. He's going to continue to improve shooting the ball from three, and we just love his toughness. He loves to play. We feel really good about him and we think he's going to have an outstanding career here.
Forward, 6-8, 175
Smyrna, TN (Smyrna HS)
Inside Scoop: Versatile athlete who can shoot the ball from the outside as well as play in the paint ... One of the top-rated post players in the state.
Notable: Ranked no. 2 player in Tennessee by HoopScoop Magazine ... Averaged 14.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as a junior ... Blocked 65 shots and led the team with 97 assists during junior campaign ... Is a career 57.6 percent shooter ... Plays for head coach Billy Mooney at Smyrna High ... Named honorable mention All-Midstate after junior season ... Also garnered All-District honors.
Davis on Swader: Kenyona has been rated the best front line player in our state. He is very skilled for his size. He is long and can shoot the ball. He needs to add 20 to 25 pounds. Once he gets that strength, he's going to be very difficult to guard, because he can step out and shoot it from 15 feet.
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