Reviewing The 2007 ULM Recruiting Class
When ULM starts preparing for the 2007 basketball season, coach Orlando Early will have 3 new faces on the court to make life easier. The Warhawks will welcome big bodies Mitchell Hampton, Raphael Turner and sharp shooter Sei Paye to already talented team. The 2006 West Division Champs return all 5 starters from last year and will be one of the front runners to win the Sunbelt Championship this year.
Orlando Early on Mitchell Hampton - Ouachita High School
Mitchell is a big physical 6'8 220 power forward who can play inside or outside. He will give us size around the basket with his ability to score but also his ability to defend the bigger forwards that are in our league. Last year we lacked size around the basket and Mitchell will help fill that need. He is a great kid, a great student, and we are really excited to have him join our program.
Orlando Early on Raphael Turner - Peabody High School
Raphael is 6'8 260 physical strong guy that we need around the basket to compete in this league. The beauty about Rudy is he understands who he is. He is not a guy that is going to get caught up in stepping out on the perimeter to make plays. Rudy is a low post scoring guy and he is a low post defender and he understands that. He brings us that size and strength that we lacked this past season.
Orlando Early on Sei Paye - Strake Jesuit High
Sei Paye is another kid that we signed out of Houston, TX. Houston has been really good to us and Sei is a big time shooter. I mean he can really shoot the ball, has great size on him, and at 6'3, can handle the ball. Sei really understands how to play and can really really shoot the ball. He is obviously going to fit in the style of play that I like to play.
Orlando Early on Hugh Mingo - West Monroe High
Hugh situation is different that the other guys in that he is possibly going be a kid that goes to a junior college and plays for a couple of years. Hugh is a really talented wing guy and hopefully we can get him back in two years and back in our program.
With the addition of 2 big men and current big man Gerald Jackson, will ULM fans see more of an inside game this year?
My first year here we had Gary Robinson on our team and he averaged about 14pts a game. We got him the ball and he was capable of scoring around the basket. This past season we didn't have that true low post threat. Gerald Jackson can score in there but he had to sit out the first semester and really never got his feet wet. We are still going to play fast and shoot the ball, shoot the three. We have guys that are very capable of making tough shots but we will utilize getting the ball around the basket more.
Will any of these 3 new recruits be able to step in and contribute immediately?
I would like to say yes but that is such a difficult deal. Once you get to college the game is faster and everybody on the floor is just as good as you are. We will take into consideration how difficult the class work is going to be and that adjustment of being away from home everyday. There are a lot of factors that go into who is going to be able to play immediately. In terms of talent we feel all 3 of the guys we signed have the ability to come in and play right away. That remains to be seen, we will have to wait until we get into practice and see who can makes the adjustments to our style of play.
What about Brandon Roberts, how is his health?
He is going really well. He is ahead of schedule and that doesn't shock me one bit. Brandon is a hard worker and he poised to have a really really good year next year. I thought Brandon was the key to our success this season as well as others. I am looking forward to having Brandon out there from the beginning of the season to the end just to see how good this team can really be.
Are the players aware of the 14 game home win streak ULM has going?
The players are aware of it but it's not something we talk about or dwell on. Our goal is to get better every single day. Whether it is in the weight room, practice or individual workouts, if you continue to do that good things will happen. I do feel that we were able to pull out some games because of our fan support and really appreciate everybody that came out to support us.
Who are some conference teams to watch for this next season?
Western Kentucky will be solid they aren't really losing anyone as well as New Orleans, South Alabama and Arkansas State. UNO and ASU both have players that put their names into the NBA draft so we will have to see if they actually go through the process or come back to school.
As far as ULM hosting the SBC tournament in the future, it is a bidding process. If any indication of how the fans would support such a tournament one can look to the fans support the team got in Lafayette this past season.
ULM will have 4 total scholarships to offer in 2008 with one already being secured for Brandon Williams.
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