The trio includes Charlie Jones and Sean Morris from Katy, Tex., and Jason Smith from Kersey, Colo. All three will enroll at Colorado State for the fall semester in 2004.
Smith is one of the state of Colorado's most highly regarded prep basketball players. A 7-foot forward currently enrolled at Platte Valley High in Kersey, Colo., Smith was named the state's player of the year last season in helping Platte Valley to the conference and district championships and a berth in the state tournament.
"Jason is a player who has the versatility and the skills to play inside with his back to the basket, and on the perimeter, facing the basket," said Layer. "He is a very talented player who is going to be successful in our program as a player and as a student. His versatility will enable us to play two or possibly even three big guys at the same time."
Smith averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocked shots per game last year at Platte Valley High. He was named the Colorado Class 3A player of the year, and was a first-team all-state and all-conference selection. He is rated as the sixth best big man in the West by TheInsidersHoops.com, a recruiting website. He was also a McDonald's All-American award nominee. He was also a nominee for McDonald's All-American honors.
He has a family history with Colorado State. His father, Jack, and mother, Roberta, both are CSU graduates. Smith also has a history of successful collegiate athletes in his family. His sister, Joyce, formerly played volleyball at the University of Illinois.
"We are thrilled to have Jason joining our program," said Layer. "It is imperative that we have the opportunity to have the best player in the state remain in the state by coming to Colorado State."
Smith is one of three players to sign national letters of intent with the Rams. Prep teammates Charlie Jones, a 6-foot point guard and 5-foot, 10-inch shooting guard Sean Morris of Cinco Ranch High in Katy, Texas, also signed national letters of intent.
Jones is considered one of the top point guards in the nation.
"Charlie is a true-point guard. He has the ability the create opportunities for his teammates and get them the ball on the floor in a position where they can score," said Layer. "He also has a point-guard mentality. His focus is on running the offense and getting his team in a situation to be successful offensively."
Jones is a 6-foot senior at Cinco Ranch High in Katy, Tex., and the teammate of another Rams' signee, Sean Morris. Both of those student-athletes played alongside current CSU player Micheal Morris, Sean's older brother.
Jones helped lead Cinco Ranch to back-to-back district titles, and a 30-6 record in 2004. He averaged four points, eight assists, two steals and four rebounds per game as a junior. He was a second-team all-district selection last season. Cinco Ranch is currently ranked seventh in Texas' largest school classification, 5A, entering the 2003-04 season.
Besides his prep career, Jones' West Side All-Stars AAU team was ranked 12th nationally last summer and finished with a 55-11 record. The team advanced to final four in the Bob Gibbons + Adidas Big Time tournament. His father, Charles, was his AAU team coach. He is ranked among the top 200 players nationally according to HoopScoop magazine. He was also named honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook. Jones will be a three-year starter at Cinco Ranch.
Jones has also been the class president in each of the past two years and has a 3.7 grade point average.
"As the son of a coach, Charlie has the background and perspective of every aspect of the game," Layer said. "He is an intelligent person and an intelligent player. The best thing about Charlie Jones is the leadership and the personality that he brings to our program."
Sean Morris is one of the nation's finest shooting guards, is the younger brother of Rams' guard Micheal Morris, a sophomore guard who was instrumental in Colorado State's drive to the MWC Championship and NCAA Tournament berth against Duke last season.
"Sean is a very skilled offensive player. He has the ability to shoot the ball from beyond the three-point-line as well as anyone we will have had in our program," said Layer. "He also has the skills to handle the ball and penetrate to score."
Morris is a 5-foot, 10-inch guard from Cinco Ranch High in Katy, Texas, and is the current teammate of another Rams' signee, guard Charlie Jones.
Morris helped lead Cinco Ranch to back-to-back district titles, and a 30-6 record in 2004. He was named first-team all-district as a junior when he averaged 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Cinco Ranch is currently ranked seventh in Texas' largest school classification, 5A, entering the 2003-04 season. Morris is ranked as the 13th beset player in the state of Texas by TexasHoops analyst Mike Kunstadt.
Besides his prep career, Morris' West Side All-Stars AAU team was ranked 12th nationally last summer and finished with a 55-11 record. The team advanced to final four in the Bob Gibbons + Adidas Big Time tournament.
"Sean is familiar with every aspect of our program, from the coaches to the student-athletes, because of Micheal's presence at Colorado State," Layer said. "He is a quality young man who will be a valuable asset to our program."