Explorer Recruiting History 2000-2007

Part I of a multi-part series focusing on the recruiting history of La Salle University basketball looks at the recruiting classes from present year back to 2000 when former Explorer coach Speedy Morris was at the helm of the program. Who were the recruits that became La Salle greats? What recruits never reached expectations? And who committed to be an Explorer but never made it into the program?

This is Part I of the recruiting history of La Salle University in it's modern era. Listed are the players who committed to play for La Salle. Not every player made it into the basketball program for various reasons. We will start with the 2007 recruiting class and make our way back year by year until our information runs out or as ExplorerHoopReport.com cannot confirm the accuracy of certain past years. Any comments, corrections, or discussions are welcomed in the La Salle basketball forums.

2007 Class: Recruited by John Giannini
Kyle Griffin 6"2 G – Germantown Academy
Jerrell Williams 6"8 F – Northfield Mt. Hermon
Terrell Williams 6"8 F – Northfield Mt. Hermon

Class Notes:
Williams' twins were teammates with Explorer player Kimmani Barrett at Paterson Catholic HS.

2006 Class: Recruited by John Giannini
Kimmani Barrett 6"5 F – Patterson Catholic HS
Rodney Green 6"5 G – Prep Charter
Brian Grimes 6"7 F – Brewster Academy
Ruben Guillandeaux 6"5 G – St. Patrick's HS
Yves Mekongo-Mbala 6"7 F – St. Patrick's HS
DeSean White 6"8 F – Transfer from Providence

Class Notes:
2006 class was heralded as the finest class in decades. 1st full class recruited by Giannini.

2005 Class: Recruited by John Giannini
Paul Johnson 6"6 F – Gonzaga HS(Washington D.C.)
Marshall Taylor 6"5 G/F – Transfer from Siena

Class Notes:
2005 Class was John Giannini's first. Small and hindered by his late hiring in August 2004.

2004 Class: Recruited by Billy Hahn
Richard "Tabby" Cunningham 5"8 G – St. John Nuemann
Sherman Diaz 6"5 G/F – Life Center(Burlington, NJ)
Darnell Harris 6"1 G – St. Frances HS(Baltimore, MD)

Class Notes:
Billy Hahn's last class before his firing. Cunningham played two years. Harris would end up being a 1,000 point scorer.

2003 Class: Recruited by Billy Hahn
Mbainia "Roman" Narmbaye 6"10 C – Life Center(Burlington, NJ)
Sean Neal 6"2 G – Salisbury School(Salisbury, CT)
Mike St. John 6"8 F – Rivers School(Weston MA)

Class Notes:
Narmbaye was supposed to be the gem. He tore his ACL before ever playing for La Salle and never was the same player. St. John played major minutes during his career at La Salle.

2002 Class: Recruited by Billy Hahn
David Bell 6"7 F – Mt. Zion Academy(North Carolina)
Lewis Fadipe 6"10 C – Christian Faith Central(North Carolina)
Gary Neal 6"4 G – Calvert Hall HS(Baltimore, MD)
Jermaine Thomas 6"2 G – Thomas Johnson HS(Frederick, MD)

Class Notes:
Billy Hahn's first full class was considered a very good one. Jermaine Thomas was a 1,000 point scorer. Lewis Fadipe was a contributor. David Bell was rated as the best recruit coming out of high school but was a huge disappointment to Explorer fans and eventually transferred to East Carolina when Hahn was fired. Gary Neal was a 2,000 point scorer in college but was charged with rape and subsequently left La Salle for Towson. Perhaps the best recruit is the one Hahn didn't actually sign. Hahn received a verbal commitment from 6"11 center Hilton Armstrong who eventually signed with UCONN and is now in the NBA with the New Orleans Hornets.

2001 Class: recruited by Billy Hahn and Speedy Morris
Mike Cleaves 5"10 G – Notre Dame Prep(Fitchburg, MA)
Jeff Farmer 6"5 F – Clinton School(Clinton, CT)
Marques Gantt 6"10 C – Roman Catholic HS
Dzaflo Larkai 6"8 F – Gunnery School(Washington, CT)
Steven Smith 6"8 F – Northeast HS

Class Notes:
Speedy Morris' last class. His final recruit, Gantt never made it into La Salle. Hahn was hired in the spring and signed Cleaves, Farmer, and Smith who were being recruited by Morris. Larkai was being recruited for St. Bonaventure by then assistant, Joe Lombardi, who was hired by Hahn for his new staff. Cleaves and Larkai were named in the rape scandal of 2004 and left school. Cleaves as an all-rookie selection as a freshman while Larkai struggled with injuries at La Salle. Farmer also transferred at mid-semester of his junior year to Northeastern. Smith became a La Salle all-time great grabbing 1,900 points, 2 A-10 Player of the Year awards, and playing briefly in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers.

2000 Class: Recruited by Speedy Morris
Ramel Allen 6"10 C – Monroe Community College(New York)
Joel Jean-Baptiste 6"9 F - Paris, France
Sean Mulholland 6"1 G – Bishop Eustace HS
Reggie Okosa 6"10 F – Transfer from Virginia Commonwealth
Rasheed Quadri 6"3 G – Boston English HS(Boston, MA)

Class Notes:
This class was one of the most overrated classes Morris ever assembled. Allen was supposed to be a major steal but never qualified for entrance into La Salle. He ended up at Iona and played very little there. Mulholland transferred after playing very little. Okosa had a fine first season after transferring in but was kicked off the team at the beginning of his senior season. Baptiste and Quadri were both under performing players during their four years.

Our next edition will focus on the recruiting history from 1995-1999. An era that brought the Explorers two 2,000 point scorers, as well as 11 out of 20 recruits that never finished their eligibility or unable to start it with La Salle. This era is most responsible for the fall of the Speedy Morris era at La Salle.

A very special thanks to CVA43, kjmac, and LS77fan1 for their help in compiling this and all future recruiting lists.

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