Raiders add three to 2014-15 signing class
2014 recruiting class completeApril 16, 2014 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball program and head coach Kermit Davis added three student-athletes to the 2014-15 recruiting class Wednesday, joining six others who signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period back in November.
The newest signees of the MT recruiting class consist of a junior college transfer, a high school senior and a graduate transfer. They will suit up for the Raiders next season alongside four junior college transfers and two high school players hailing from Davis' home state of Mississippi.
Guard / 6-1 / Athens, Ala. / Athens HS
Potts is one of three players in the state of Alabama currently in the running for the title of Mr. Basketball. He led Athens High School in a deep postseason run this year, eliminating the three-time defending state champion on the way to advancing to the Class 5A Northwest Regional final. The guard paced Athens, averaging 20.8 points per game during his senior campaign. He was second on the team in rebounding, pulling down 8.0 boards a contest.
The Athens, Ala., native can play both the point guard and shooting guard positions on the floor. Potts is a strong three-point shooter, draining 66 treys this season, while also managing to get into the lane and play above the rim. Since January of 2012, Potts has been held to single-digits in just four games.
Davis on Potts: "Obviously Giddy is a really strong, physical guard; he's about 6-2 and 230 pounds, an excellent shooter. Everyone around the state talks about how tough he is. He's got great character. He played for an outstanding high school coach in Stace Tedford, who has won a lot of games. We really think Giddy has a chance to help our team as a freshman."
Guard/Forward / 6-7 / Decatur, Ala. / Southwest Tennessee
Buford will join his Southwest Tennessee Community College teammate DeVante Jones (DJ) at MT next season. Jones signed with the Blue Raiders during the early signing period and the two were counted among the best JuCo players in the state of Tennessee this past season. Buford was an All-Tennessee Community College Athletic Association First Team selection this year. He averaged 14.0 points per game and dished out a team-best 3.6 assists during his sophomore campaign, while scoring double-figures in 22 of 26 games.
Before playing with the Saluqis, Buford played with Jones at Motlow State Community College as freshmen. Buford was named first team All-TCCAA during the 2012-13 season, averaging 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 blocks a game. He led the team to a 26-4 record, the TCCAA/Region VII Championship title and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament.
Davis on Buford: "Perrin Buford visited our place in the fall. We've been recruiting Perrin for a long time and we've always loved his talent. He's long and can play multiple positions. He could end up being the best passer on our team. He's a really skilled forward and won a lot of games over the last two years in junior college. He's also played for an excellent junior college coach in Jerry Nichols."
Guard / 6-3 / Knoxville, Tenn. / Mississippi State
Steele will finish his undergraduate degree from Mississippi State this summer and finish out his eligibility as a graduate student at Middle Tennessee next season. At Mississippi State, he averaged 10.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game during the 2012-13 campaign. A torn ACL at the end of his junior year sidelined Steele and he missed the 2013-14 season, but the guard is back to full strength.
He scored double-figures 10 times in just 18 games of action during the 2012-13 campaign. Steele led the team in free throw percentage in SEC games, shooting .903-percent from the line (28-of-31). The guard's SEC highlights include, scoring a career-best 21 points at Georgia Jan. 12, 2013. He finished his sophomore season with the Bulldogs, putting up 8.7 points a contest and snagging 1.8 boards an outing. He drained a career-high five three-pointers three times, including a 15-point effort at Vanderbilt Jan. 21, 2012. In the 2012 SEC Tournament, Steele put up 19 points against Georgia, going 6-for-12 from the floor. As a freshman, he recorded 17 points at Kentucky Feb. 15, 2011 on 6-of-9 shooting, including five made three-pointers.
Davis on Steele: "Jalen Steele, obviously has had a lot success at a very high-level at Mississippi State. He won two state championships at Fulton High School. We've been following Jalen since his sophomore year. He's an excellent scorer, excellent shooter. Jalen is coming off of a knee injury, but he looks great. I know he is so hungry to get back on the court. Jalen has to finish his degree at Mississippi State this summer and we really look forward to getting him here to provide us with not only a really talented player, but a guy that I think will provide us with really strong leadership."
Potts, Buford and Steele complete the Blue Raiders' recruiting class. They join JuCo guard Jones, JuCo forward Xavier Habersham, JuCo forward Darnell Harris, high school guard Jacob Ivory, high school guard Ed Simpson and JuCo forward Shaheed Davis.
"We feel really, really good about our class," Coach Davis said. "We think we've fulfilled a number of needs and have added great depth to our program. I think a sign of winning programs is when you can absorb the loss of good players graduating, can replace those players with a talented recruiting class and obviously have those returning players continue to get better and play at a high level the next year. I think that's where we are. Our returning players have worked extremely hard this spring and all have an opportunity to play key roles next season, but I do think this group of newcomers has a chance to be very successful. They need to all have great summers and quickly adapt to the pace of high-level Division I practice. Like all newcomers, their success depends on how good of physical condition they can get in and how receptive to coaching they can be on a day-to-day basis. Once again, we have a group of student-athletes with very high character and we look forward to having a great summer. Our goals have not changed at all; we're trying to become the best team we can be every day and win another Conference USA Championship with the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament."
According to HoopScoopOnline.com, the 2014-15 Blue Raider recruiting class is one of the best signing classes in C-USA and ranks among the top 25 in the country.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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