Explorer recruiting history 1990-1994

Part III of a multi-part series focusing on the recruiting history of La Salle University basketball looks at the post Lionel Simmons recruiting classes 1990-1994 under former Explorer coach Speedy Morris. A period also filled with defections and recruiting misses after one of La Salle's most successful eras.

This five-year period may be many of La Salle fans biggest complaints. If it isn't it probably should be. Sure 1990 brought a 30-2 record and NCAA bid. 1991 and 1992 brought an NIT and NCAA bid respectively. Still this era should have laid the groundwork for a stronger and more viable La Salle basketball program. This was a time when facilities should have been upgraded, better players recruited, and a more successful program prepared for the long-term. It did not happen. Once La Salle exited 1992 it would not see the post-season again.

1994 Class: Recruited by Speedy Morris
Brian Flickinger 6"9 F – Zionsville HS, Harlingen, Ind.
Mike Gizzi 6"4 G – Chestnut Hill Academy
Olof Langren 6"10 F – Sweden
Shawn Smith 5"9 G – Simon Gratz HS

Class Notes:
Gizzi was told by Speedy Morris to attend Philadelphia Textile despite offering him a scholarship. Thankfully Gizzi did not listen and developed into a solid player and one of the few players who could perform in the A-10 when La Salle changed conferences. He would finish with almost 1,500 points. Flickinger supposedly was recruited to help land Bryce Drew who would end up with his father at Valparaiso. La Salle missed on Drew and Flickinger was a 4-year deep role player. Langren chose La Salle over Florida and at times showed flashes of being contributor but ultimately never got any better once in the program and his role diminished. Shawn Smith was a phenom in his early days at Gratz and was believed to be a top recruit but his grades, size and lack of a consistent outside shot allowed La Salle to get involved and Smith went on to have a solid career at La Salle but had a lot of issues with Morris, even quitting the team once. Many people expected much more.

1993 Class: Recruited by Speedy Morris
Everett Catlin 6"6 F – Dover HS, Dover DE
Dennis Kohn 6"11 C – transfer from Central Florida
Derrick Newton 6"6 F – Northwestern HS
Jasper Van Teeseling 6"10 C – Alkmaar, Netherlands

Class Notes:
This class gave La Salle very little. Van Teeseling and Catlin would last all four years but contribute little. Newton had a solid freshman campaign left La Salle without notifying the coaches. Only when the girls soccer team played Towson St. and Newton was at the game did the staff find out he was leaving for Towson St. Kohn lasted a couple of weeks at school before leaving.

1992 Class: Recruited by Speedy Morris
Romaine Haywood 6"6 F – Atlantic City HS
Quincy Lee 6"3 G – Paulsboro HS
Terquin Mott 6"8 F – Glen Mills, HS
Mike Melchioni 6"7 F – Bishop Eustace HS

Class Notes:
The 1992 recruiting class was a very volatile one. Mott was thrown off the team by Morris and just oozed talent. He would transfer to Coppin State and have a very good career and even was invited to some NBA pre-draft workouts. Quincy Lee was a prolific South Jersey scorer who played weak competition in high school and could not make the transition to major college basketball. Primarily a deep role player he eventually transferred to Monmouth. Melchioni rarely saw the floor for the Explorers. Haywood was a highly regarded signing who was somewhat disappointing until his senior year when he blossomed into a very fine A-10 player his senior year.

1991 Class: Recruited by Speedy Morris
Paul Burke 6"1 G – Chestnut Hill Academy
Luteke Kalombo 6"7 F – Herndon HS, Herndon, VA
Kareem Townes 6"3 G – Southern HS

Class Notes:
This class was small but very solid. It would have been much better if Kalombo developed his game and stayed at La Salle. Luteke played two seasons at La Salle and showed flashes as a player but transferred to Niagara. Townes and Burke are all timers for La Salle. Townes would leave as one of the most prolific scorers in school history getting 1,900 points in just three seasons. The rest of his game was underrated as many thought of him as gunner. He could pass, handle and defend the basketball better than people gave him credit for. The team's lack of success hurt Towne's image as a player. Burke was very underrated. He could play all phases of the game for a point guard. If he and Townes had more help they would have been more successful in the win column.

1990 Class: Recruited by Speedy Morris
Lamont Carter 6"3 G – Hillhouse, HS, New Haven, CT.
Broderick President 6"6 F – Transfer from Hardin Simmons
Blitz Wooten 6"7 F – McCorriston HS, Trenton, NY
Ray Shultz 6"9 F – Transfer from Florida Atlantic

Class Notes:
What can La Salle fans say or do other than scratch their heads? Coming off a 30-2 record and 11th place in the final rankings and this class was the best Speedy and the staff could do? It would be the beginning of the end of a long losing streak for the program once the junior and senior players on the 1990 team left. This class had no player contribute for four years in the program. President transferred into La Salle from Hardin Simmons and was eligible immediately because they dropped their program from Division I. He played one season of eligibility and was a solid player that would help lead La Salle to the NIT. Carter was a high school scorer who had problems with Speedy and would transfer out. Ray Shultz would be little more than a role player for the program and is best remembered ripping Richmond to shreds on one magical night. Wooten, the most talented had a very good two years for La Salle. However, he too would transfer out and finally end up at Norfolk State..

Our next edition we will focus on a much more positive era in La Salle recruiting. An era that led to three straight NCAA appearances and the recruitment of one of the La Salle's greatest players, Lionel Simmons.