ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Second-year head coach Billy Lange announced his first full recruiting class Tuesday which features six players representing six different states. Rising sophomore Ben Biles (Cramerton, N.C.) was Lange's lone recruit a year ago after the former Villanova coaching staff member was named the Mids' head coach in mid-March. The Class of '09 will address several of the needs in which Lange feels are necessary to continue building the program.
"This was a difficult class to recruit because I didn't know where our team was in terms of skill level when I arrived here," said Lange, who nearly doubled the Mids' wins in his first season from the year prior.
"With this class, we will have improved ball handling and dribbling, more
perimeter play and athleticism. I'm cautiously optimistic knowing that
it's very difficult for a freshman at any school to rise to the top
immediately. I do, however, think there's a great opportunity for each
member of this class of have an impact."
John Bailey, F, 6-8, 210, Blacksburg, Va. (Blacksburg)
A three-year letterwinner at Blacksburg High School, Bailey was a Second-Team All-State (Va.) selection as a senior. He was also named First-Team All-District (River Ridge) and Second-Team All-Region last winter. Named the MVP of his team, Bailey served as team captain his senior campaign. As a junior, he garnered second-team all-district kudos, and as a freshman, he helped lead the team to the River Ridge District Championship with a 21-4 record.
"The No. 1 thing John brings to this program is good size," said Lange about
the 6-8, 210-pound forward. "He is a good athlete who has good timing and
good hands. He's a skilled forward who has the ability to get up and down
the floor. As John matures and learns the Div. I system, I think he will
be a solid player for our program."
Bryce Brigham, G, 6-3, 175, Bellevue, Wash. (Interlake)
Hailing from Bellevue, Wash., Brigham possesses two characteristics in which Lange thrives upon - intensity and having a competitive nature.
A product of Interlake High School, Brigham is one of five Div. I signees off his AAU team, Friends of Hoop, in Seattle. It also produced three McDonald's All-Americans Jon Brockman (Univ. of Washington), Micah Downs (Univ. of Kansas) and Martell Webster, who was the No. 6 pick in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers in Tuesday night's NBA Draft.
At Interlake HS, Brigham was a three-sport standout, lettering in basketball (3), football (3) and track (2). Elected basketball team captain his senior campaign, he set the Interlake record for most points scored in a single season with 460. He completed his career as the high school's second-leading scorer with 1106 points. A two-time All KingCo Conference selection, Brigham was named Honorable Mention All-State (Wash.) as a senior.
Also a standout football player at Interlake, he graduated this spring owning six records, including career passing yards, career completions and career touchdown passes. Captain of the football team his senior year, he earned Honorable Mention All-State (Wash.) honors in his final season. Brigham was just one of two students from Interlake to graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average. He was also the recipient of the 2005 Washington State Honors Award which acknowledges those students who are in the top 10% academically in the state of Washington.
"Bryce brings intensity and is extremely competitive in nature, "said
Lange. "He can make some big shots and despite being 6-2, he can play at
the rim if he needs to."
Clif Colbert, G, 6-3, 199, Grand Prairie, Texas (Grand Prairie)
A four-year basketball letterwinner, Colbert was a three-time All-District guard for Barry Davis at Grand Prairie High School in Texas. He served as team captain his senior campaign and garnered All-State (Texas) recognition last winter. As a sophomore, he was named the district's offensive MVP and as a senior, was named the co-offensive MVP.
"Clif is a solid player who will play on the perimeter for us," said
Lange. "I like his ability to play defense and he has a great mid-range
game. He and Bryce are exceptionally committed to the game, competitive
players and hard working. Clif's biggest attribute is his ability to be
physical." Once his skills catch up, I think we will have a
Kaleo Kina, G, 6-2, 187, El Mirage, Ariz. (Trevor Browne)
Kina, who was offered scholarships by Pepperdine, Santa Clara and Northern Arizona, brings versatility to the program with his ability to play all three guard positions. A two-time First-Team All-Region guard at Trevor Browne High School in Phoenix, Kina was named Honorable Mention All-State (Ariz.) as a junior and Second-Team All-State (Ariz.) as a senior. A two-year captain of the basketball team, he led Trevor Browne to the 2004 Northwest Valley Region Championship with a 24-6 record.
In 2003, the basketball team produced a 29-5 record, won the Northwest Valley Region Championship and was among the final four in the state.
Kina also earned a letter in football where he was named the team's most improved player as a wideout his senior campaign.
"Kaleo is a natural leader who exudes confidence,"said Lange. "But
perhaps his biggest asset is the ability to make the players around him
better. He is a good-sized guard who has great strength and is often an
Casey Reed, F, 6-5, 200, Canby, Ore. (Canby)
Reed was a member of the 2005 Canby High School basketball team which will go down in the record books as the program's first team to finish in the state's top eight. He led his prep team to its first appearance in the state tournament in 24 years. In 2005, Canby HS claimed the Pac-9 Championship with a 15-1 league record and a 22-6 overall mark. In 2004, Canby also won the Pac-9 Championship, posting a 14-2 conference mark and a 21-6 overall record. A two-time First-Team All-State (Ore.) honoree, Reed was named the 2005 Pac-9 Player of the Year and was a McDonald's All-America nominee. He is one of three Div. I signees off his AAU team, the Portland Panthers - Josh Tarver (Oregon State Univ.) and Artem Wallace (Univ. of Washington).
Reed also excelled in the classroom where he graduated with a 4.00 grade-point average. A member of the National Honor Society, he earned an Honors Diploma.
"Casey is probably our most athletic recruit," Lange pointed out. "He's
powerful player who attacks at the rim. He's a tremendous finisher around
the basket. He provides a tough match-up for opponents because of his
size. He's strong and tough enough to play in and around the
Adam Teague, G/F, 6-8, 210, Hickory, N.C. (Fred T. Foard)
A graduate of Fred T. Foard High School in Newton, N.C., Adam Teague holds true to the style Lange envisions bringing the offense and defense to another level at the Academy. He has guard skills at 6-8 with the strength and toughness to play in the front court. Teague garnered First-Team All-Western Foothills (3A) Conference kudos as a junior and senior, while also being named the conference player of the year in 2004 and '05. An Honorable Mention All-State (N.C.) selection, he was also named the Hickory Record Unifour Player of the Year as a senior. In his senior campaign, he led Fred T. Foard to the sectional championship with a 21-8 record. Teague scored better than 200 points during his career and owns school records for most three-pointers made in a season and a career.
"Along with Kaleo, Adam makes players around him better," said Lange.
"He can shoot from deep, is a smart defender and a good passer. He has the
skills to take this team to higher