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Men's basketball lands five as Early Signing Period begins

Davis excited about character, quality of incoming standouts

November 12, 2008 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee will begin the anticipated 2008-09 men's basketball season in just two days but head coach Kermit Davis got a head start on the program's future Wednesday.

The Blue Raiders signed five players to National Letters of Intent as the NCAA Early Signing Period began Wednesday, and the list includes quality players with impeccable credentials. The class includes four prep standouts and one junior college transfer.

The group includes James Gallman, 5-11, 185, guard, Fulton (TN) HS; John David Little, 6-3, 180, guard, Olive Branch (MS) HS; David Murray, 6-4, 200, guard, Leeds (AL) HS; Trevor Ottley 6-9 ½, 215, forward, Garden City (KS) JC; and J.T. Sulton, 6-7, 195, forward, Yazoo City (MS) HS.

All signing classes are important but Davis said this one had even greater significance.

"This recruiting class is a critical class because of the players we lose" Davis said. "We wanted to focus on high school (prospects) and we did that. The one junior college player we signed (Trevor Ottley) was a predictor out of high school as a good student. Academically, I feel very good about all of them and we filled a lot of needs from guards, to size and athletic ability. Our assistant coaches worked very hard in the process."

All of the players possess ability in respective areas but qualities that stand out with all of them are character and each plays for quality programs which compete at a championship level.

"I think we have guys who can shoot the ball and we like their character. All of them have played in successful programs and competed at a high level. James Gallman has won a state championship, Trevor Ottley won a state championship in high school, David Murray has a chance to win a state championship this year, John David Little's team was 29-1 last year and will have a chance to win it. J.T.'s team will be a great high school team. They all come from good families and they all have been well coached. It's a good blend and we look forward to developing these guys."

Gallman is a tough guard who area basketball fans may remember from his performances at the TSSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament last March. Gallman helped lead Fulton to a 28-4 record and the 2008 state championship.

Little averaged 17 points, five rebounds and four assists to help lead Olive Branch High School to a 29-1 record in 2007-08. The versatile guard is off to a solid start to his senior season and his play could make Olive Branch a contender for the Mississippi state championship.

Murray is a high-scoring guard at Leeds High School and proved to be one of the top scorers in Alabama as a junior when he averaged a double double with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Ottley is expected to be an impact player for the Blue Raiders. He overcame an early-season injury last season and played his best basketball down the stretch and in postseason. He helped lead Garden City to a 20-11 record for coach Kris Baumann, who played for Davis at Idaho. Ottley led his high school team, Thomas More Prep, to the Kansas 4A state title as a senior when he averaged 18 points and nine rebounds.

Sulton is a highly-rated forward at Yazoo City High School in Mississippi. The talent was selected to play in the Mississippi All-Star game for rising seniors last July and made his mark among the state's best with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He received the game ball for his All-Star effort. Sulton also has been selected to the preseason Dandy Dozen Team for rising seniors in Mississippi. He recently poured in 28 points and 14 rebounds to help Yazoo City upset Jackson Murrah, the No. 3-ranked team in Mississippi.

Middle Tennessee Men's Basketball
NCAA Early Signing Period Quotes

Head Coach Kermit Davis
Sizing up the class:

"I think we have guys who can shoot the ball and we like their character. All of them have played in successful programs and competed at a high level. James Gallman has won a state championship, Trevor Ottley won a state championship in high school, David Murray has a chance to win a state championship this year, John David Little's team was 29-1 last year and will have a chance to win it. J.T.'s team will be a great high school team. They all come from good families and they all have been well coached. It's a good blend and we look forward to developing these guys."

On the significance of the class:
"All signing classes are important but this recruiting class is a critical class because of the players we lose. We wanted to focus on high school (prospects) and we did that. The one junior college player we signed (Trevor Ottley) was a predictor out of high school as a good student. Academically, I feel very good about all of them and we filled a lot of needs from guards, to size and athletic ability. Our assistant coaches worked very hard in the process. A lot of these guys were recruited for a long period of time so we are excited about them but like we always say these classes are judged two and three years down the road to see exactly how good they are."

On James Gallman (5-11, 185), Guard, Fulton (TN) HS:
"We have worked James Gallman from his sophomore year. He is about winning. He has won a state championship and I think he is the hardest-playing guy in Tennessee night-in, night-out. He competes and shoots the ball well. He is another guy who can play the one and the two, kind of the combo guard. James has great character and he has a chance to come in here and have a solid career at Middle Tennessee."

On John David Little (6-3, 180), Guard, Olive Branch (MS) HS:
"I think John David is a guy who is really under the radar in Mississippi. He played on a 29-1 team last year at Olive Branch. He can really shoot the basketball. He gets to the rim and is a high character guy. John David has really good feet, and I think he can play the point or play off. His high school team is off to a great start and John David has had really good games. I think character and everything he really has a chance. He kind of reminds me of Kevin Kanaskie four years ago when we signed him and Kevin was kind of under the radar. If he will have the same work habits Kevin has then I believe he will have a chance to have a good career."

On David Murray (6-4, 200), Guard, Leeds (AL) HS:
"David is a great rebounder for his size. He averaged 14 rebounds and 24 points at Leeds High School. He can make shots behind the arc. He is a tough, physical guard and we love him."

On Trevor Ottley (6-9 ½, 215), Forward, Garden City (KS) JC:
"Trevor has a great motor. He has great communicative skills on the floor. He is long and athletic, 6-9 ½; I think weight will be a priority but he's really though. He can shoot balls from the 3, he is a good passer, and I think he has a chance to come and really help us if his motor runs and he can defend like he does in junior college."

On J.T. Sulton (6-7, 195), Forward, Yazoo City (MS) HS:
"We think J.T. is one of the top two or three players in his class in Mississippi. He is athletic, 6-7 ½, about 195 pounds. He has a good motor and can really rebound it. People will love the way he can defend and he has very good offensive skills."

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