La Salle Recruiting Landscape

The spring recruiting period is still two weeks away and La Salle is down three possible prospects they were once very involved with. Despite losing those recruiting battles Explorers head coach, Dr. John Giannini and staff still have some cards to play to help the continued improvement of the program. Just which of those cards turn up at 20th & Olney is the question.

La Salle has lost out on Derrick Williams(committed to SMU), Dwan McMillan(South Florida), and Ruben Cotto(St. Louis) and while all three were heavily recruited by La Salle the Explorer staff still has plenty of irons in the fire for a the possible spring recruiting haul which begins in two weeks. Losing Cotto and Williams are the real disappointments. Both players offered something La Salle desperately needs in the backcourt next season with the loss of Darnell Harris. Cotto has a deep shooting range that could help with the loss of Harris while Williams would have given the Explorers a nice mix of experience and steady play at the point and blended in well with an ever-increasing veteran team next season. Despite the current dry spell the staff has worked very hard to get involved with more point guards while turning up the heat on Kramer Soderberg from St. Charles West High School in Saint Charles, Missouri. Soderberg is the son of former St. Louis head coach Brad Soderberg who was fired last year. Until his Father's termination most observers believed Kramer would end up playing for his Father at St. Louis. Due to that assumption his recruiting was slow but has really started to pick up recently. Temple, Wichita State, Iowa, and Tulsa join La Salle in trying to land the 5"11 gym rat. Soderberg does everything well but his size has hurt his recruiting with regards to the bigger schools in the Midwest. While some of those schools have shown interest it appears La Salle and Tulsa may be his biggest suitors at the moment. He was recently named the St. Louis Post Dispatch Player of the Year last month.

La Salle has recently gotten involved with 6"1 JUCO prospect Joey Parker from Southwestern Illinois Junior College. Parker led the nation in assists and has grown from high Division II recruit to mid-major status in just two seasons. Wichita State, South Alabama, and Western Carolina are also involved. Parker averaged 11 points and an incredible 9.5 assists per game this season. 6"2 combo guard Johnie Davis has shown up on La Salle's radar over the past several weeks. Hailing from Canton Ohio's Timken High School Davis was named the Stark County Player of the year after averaging 18.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.1 steals per game. He is known more for his shooting ability than point guard skills but has played both positions for the past two seasons. The La Salle staff reportedly made the trip to watch Davis play recently and have gotten involved with his recruitment as well as St. Bonaventure.

The Explorers are still looking to fill the frontcourt using one of the final scholarships for that area. While Explorer fans will finally get to see Mississippi State transfer Vernon Goodridge next year help ease the bulk problem the program could still use another big body. While the Explorers signed 6"9 David Baroum from Bethel High School in Virginia during the fall signing period it is unclear whether he will qualify to join the program next year. Rumors are swirling that his fellow Chad teammate Ali Djim, who signed with Duquesne, will not enroll there and is looking to attend prep school. While Baroum's status may be different it is still a concern that additional frontcourt help is needed. La Salle is looking at three frontcourt players in particular. 6"11 Maurice Sutton has been on Giannini's wish list since the fall. The Largo High School center has seen his recruiting skyrocket the past two months. Kentucky, Boston College, and Villanova, have tried to get involved with Sutton who previously reports La Salle was in his top 3 schools. He has indicated wanting to be loyal to the schools that have been with him since the beginning of the process, which La Salle has. That will be tested as bigger schools have come calling since he has gotten a qualifying test score to go with his emerging post game. He is a shot blocker La Salle rarely, if ever, gets. Strawberry Mansion's Devon White has become the center of a possible recruiting war between La Salle and Drexel. The 6"8 shot-blocker has really picked up the offense in his game and his athletic ability and potential to add more muscle make him a great signing for any mid-major school. Word is White has some real interest in staying local to play college ball which bodes well for La Salle. Thirdly, Nikola Kechman is a 6"9 European JUCO from Eastern Arizona Junior College that can really stroke the basketball filling the profile of many European frontcourt players. He shot 44% from 3 point range this season while averaging over 13 points per game. Kansas State and St. Johns are also pursuing Kechman. While he doesn't fill the inside beef need for the program his shooting could help loosen defenses who will pack it in on Goodridge. Kechman is a full qualifier and actually will have three years eligibility with whoever he wishes to sign with.

Finally we turn to the transfers. While mentioning names and speculating at this point is inappropriate expect the staff to look hard at this area. Giannini is a big fan of using transfers to upgrade the talent in the program. While La Salle no longer is thirsty for talent the program still needs to fill holes of need. When considering who is a good candidate for La Salle to take via the transfer route think size and shooting. Someone who can fit that description could be very enticing to the staff. If La Salle doesn't use all of their scholarships expect a transfer sometime late in the spring or early in the summer.

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