Zeigler, Chippewas Sign Four Prep Players

MOUNT PLEASANT - Four high school seniors have signed national letters of intent to play men's basketball for Central Michigan University.

Central Michigan head coach Ernie Zeigler announced that Jevon Harden of Detroit Loyola High School, Derek Jackson, Cleveland Benedictine, Nate VanArendonk, Grand Haven (Mich.) High School and Colin Voss of East Grand Rapids (Mich.) High School will join the Chippewas next season.

"We're really excited about this class because we were able to replenish our front court as well as add a point guard," Zeigler said. "This class complements each other well, and gives us size and athleticism as well as depth. The potential in this class could make it one of our best classes as a program."

The Chippewas will lose four seniors after the 2009-10 season in Jordan Bitzer, Brandon Ford, Robbie Harman and Chris Kellermann. CMU opens up the 2009-10 campaign on Saturday against Princeton at Rose Center. Tipoff is scheduled for noon.

Below are bios on each of the four signees:

Jevon Harden Detroit, Mich. Loyola HS 6-8/218

High School: Ranked as the No. 4 forward in Michigan by Bankhoops.com and the No. 5 power forward in Michigan by InsidePrepSports.net ... played three seasons at River Rouge High School before transferring to Detroit Loyola High School for his senior season ... played his AAU ball for Team Detroit.

Personal: Born Jevon Anthony Harden on March 13, 1992 in Houston, Texas ... son of Theresa Harden and nephew of Leonard Harden ... undecided on major ... also considered Dayton, Bowling Green, Idaho State, Stony Brook, Florida International, Murray State and Morehead State.

Zeigler on Harden: "Jevon is an extremely athletic post player who is a very good rebounder and defender. He plays with a lot of passion, and that's one of the cornerstones of our program. He's just starting to scratch the surface of how good he could be, and he's a very coachable individual who I think will have a very good college career."

Derek Jackson Cleveland, Ohio Benedictine HS 6-1/170

High School: Averaged 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 4.3 steals per game while shooting 56 percent from the floor as a junior ... guided his squad to a district championship game ... earned first-team all-state honors and was named co-District Player of the Year by the Associated Press ... shared the award with his teammate Cameron Wright ... also earned second-team All-Ohio honors by the Associated Press ... averaged 17 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals as a sophomore while helping his team to a district championship ... lost in the regional championship game that year ... earned all-state honorable mention honors and first-team all-district accolades ... earned team co-MVP honors as one of the squad's captains ... helped the school to a district championship and a regional championship game as a freshman, starting 20 of 26 games ... averaged 7.5 points and 3.0 assists as a frosh ... played his club ball for the King James Shooting Stars ... rated the No. 13 prospect in Ohio by BuckeyeGrove.com.

Personal: Born on Oct. 14, 1991 ... son of Derek Jackson and Marshalander Tucker ... undecided on major ... also considered Ohio, Kent State, Youngstown State, Eastern Michigan, Duquesne, Butler and James Madison.

Zeigler on Jackson: "His abilities are going to give him a chance to compete for time right away. He has an ability to score the ball, but he understands how to run a team. His toughness and athleticism will bode well for us once he arrives on campus. He has the ability to play both guard positions, but we see him as more of a point guard."

Nate VanArendonk Grand Haven, Mich. Grand Haven HS 6-10/230

High School: Named one of the top 100 players in the state by the Detroit Free Press in 2009 ... ranked the No. 2 center in the state by MLive.com and InsidePrepSports.com and No. 3 by Bankhoops.com ... helped the Buccaneers to a 17-9 record and a district title as a junior, averaging 10 points, 14 boards and finished with 57 blocked shots ... earned honorable mention all-area honors from the Muskegon Chronicle following his junior year ... lettered twice in basketball and three times in tennis ... played AAU ball for Shoreline Hoops and the Grand Rapids Storm.

Personal: Born Nathan Russell VanArendonk on July 18, 1992 in Waukesha, Wis. ... son of Jane and Craig VanArendonk ... undecided on major ... also considered Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Stony Brook, Iowa, Drake, SMU, Nevada and Pacific.

Zeigler on VanArendonk: "Nate is an extremely skilled post player who's just starting to scratch the surface of his ability. He has very good hands and is very quick laterally. He's a big man with great footwork, and we look for him to have an opportunity to blossom into a very productive player here at CMU. He could play the four or the five for us once he gets a little stronger."

Colin Voss Grand Rapids, Mich. East Grand Rapids HS 6-8/235

High School: Earned first-team all-conference honors from the Grand Rapids Press as a sophomore and junior ... earned second-team all-state honors from the Detroit Free Press as a junior ... named one of the state's top-100 players in 2009 ... rated the no. 1 forward in the state entering his junior year by MLive.com ... averaged 16.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks as a junior ... earned first-team all-area honors from Advance Newspapers after his junior campaign ... earned three letters for both basketball and football ... earned second-team all-state honors on the gridiron as a junior.

Personal: Born Colin Voss on Nov. 9, 1991 in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... son of Jim and Judy Voss ... undecided on major ... also considered Providence, Drake, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Toledo, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Detroit and Pacific ... also had options to play football at the Division-I level.

Zeigler on Voss: "Colin fits our program mentality perfectly. He's a tough, rugged, physical player. We were looking for an athletic power forward who had a rugged ability to rebound. He's had a tough mentality instilled in him at an early age, and he'll have an opportunity to be a significant part of our future."

Chippewas Insider Top Stories