I'd like to thank everyone for taking time to attend this press conference. As you know, this is my first season as head coach of the Shenandoah Hornets. What I'd like to do here is start out by introducing and saying some general things about each of this year's recruiting class, and then I'll field a few short questions from you wonderful folks in the press
-- James Rutz is a 6'0, 179-pound point guard from Our Lady of Sacred Heart HS in Coraopolis, PA. (49-50-15-46-1-10-38-37-42-47-71-2). When we sat down as a staff and analyzed our needs, one of the things that became immediately clear was that we needed to add another player at the point from this year's class, and Rutz fulfills that need. He averaged 20.1 points and 3.8 assists as a senior, but what we were struck by was the upside we felt he still had in his game. He's got incredibly high potential as a ball handler and what he can do down low, and as those two things develop to a college level, with his speed and athleticism, I think you'll see a very capable dual threat point who can slash to the bucket or distribute the rock.
--Matthew Trapp is a 6'4, 196 lb, shooting guard from Hamtramck, MI (41-51-29-42-14-10-28-26-15-62-69-31). Obviously, the first thing you notice about Matthew is that he's capable of playing the two or the three for us and creating some matchup issues potentially. In our press, his length could create some issues by getting his arms up in the passing lanes a little more than your standard-sized guard at this level. Like Rutz, we feel his ball handling has incredibly high potential. He's also a kid whose stamina will go through the roof. Combined with his work ethic, he's going to be one of those kids we have to drag off the floor and lock out of the gym.
--Charles Fisk is a 6'1", 178 lb. player from Denmark Olar HS in Denmark SC (35-50-24-37-9-47-25-41-25-25-50-41). We're calling him a small forward, which might raise some eyebrows, but when you see film and sit and watch this kid play -- wow! He plays like he's about six inches taller and he has huge potential with his low post game. He's someone we'll be able to send inside with the big boys and not have to worry about him holding his own. His stamina and passing also have incredibly high potential, so again we're talking about a player we can swing around between a two and a three, maybe even a one, and create some matchup issues.
And, with that, I'll field a few questions...you, in front here:
Being this is your first year, could you perhaps provide us with an idea of what you were looking for in players?
Certainly. Obviously, when we came in, we looked at the roster and it immediately became clear that we were stocked at power forward and center, so we really didn't look there much. As we looked closer, we saw that to get where we want to be and to take that next step as a program, we needed to get faster. We needed to defend better, and these three guys will make an immediate impact in those areas because they already perform at a level that you'd see in the 25 or so fastest programs or the best defending programs here in Division 3. As an added bonus, all three are athletic and all three have shown that, for perimeter types, they won't shy away from getting in there, mixing it up and grabbing some rebounds, and at the end of the day, that makes us smile. Lets see...over there?
Who would you say is the star of this year's class?
Well, the first thing I'd say is that when you've been as down as we have been here in Hornet Nation, you don't get the sort of kids that are going to be that next D3 All-American. You get hard-working, blue collar kids that are going to head out there and bust it, day in and day out. That said, all three of these guys initially told us they were looking at D2 and we sold them on the vision we have here at Shenandoah.
No guess at all then?
I'd say as a staff, we're most excited to see how Fisk develops, because you don't often see a combination of his potentials for a kid that size. He's a kid we expect to play 10 min. a game or so this season as a freshman. I've got a special formula that I use to try and forecast where each of our players will be after four or five years and he's someone that I think could finish in the 575 range, which isn't too shabby for this level.
How did you get him?
Well, that was easy. I told Scott over here at a staff meeting that I needed him to fly to Denmark to scout a player, and Scott was all over that idea thinking he was getting some international miles on his frequent flyer account. I guess he didn't know there was a Denmark, South Carolina.
Will any of these guys redshirt?
Absolutely not. With their speed and the way they get after it on defense, we're going to throw the pumpkin in the air and let them get out there and get a feel for what college ball is all about. One last question -- over there?
I've heard that James Rutz has a peculiar pre-game ritual, could you tell us about it?
Yes, he does. In high school he would have his dad set up a ladder that he could walk under when he left the house -- he views it as stepping out into his arena, I guess. He always takes a counter-clockwise lap around a cemetery on his way to the gym and he buys a bunch of cheap hand mirrors so he can break one before every game...something about shattering the competition. On the floor if you watch him, he does everything in sets of 13 -- kid even asked us in recruiting if we could give him 13 for a jersey number. We joked with him and asked him if he wasn't worried about something happening due to all the bad luck he was courting and he just laughed and said being at a Catholic school took all those worries off his mind. So, that's the scoop on that...if he gets injured, I guess you'll have lots to write about.