Doc Sadler signs Seven for Recruiting Class

Seven players have signed National Letters-of-Intent in the fall signing period and will join the Nebraska men's basketball team for the 2007-08 campaign, first-year head coach Doc Sadler announced Wednesday.

Out of the seven players, four were junior college players and three were prep student-athletes.

They include:

Alex Chapman, 6-9, 225, Canby, Ore. (Canby HS/Sheridan (Wyo.) College)

Chapman will come to Nebraska after one season playing junior college ball at Sheridan (Wyo.) College for coach Joel Davidson. The Medeford, Ore., native signed with Sheridan and coach Joel Davison last spring after suffering a knee injury that forced him to miss the end of his final season at Canby HS. He averaged 16 points and eight rebounds in 13 games for Canby as a senior when he earned all-league and honorable-mention all-state accolades. Chapman, whose brother, Clinton, signed with Texas last week, added 7.6 points per game as a junior while helping the team to a 22-6 record, including a 15-1 mark in Pac-9 Conference play.

Quoting Coach Sadler: "The good news with Alex is that he will be with us for three years. He comes from a good junior college program. He is able to get in the offense and run, and his strength is perimeter shooting. He needs to get stronger, but I'm sure he will work hard in those areas to improve."

Quoting Alex Chapman: "Coming in and playing in the Big 12 Conference was just something that I couldn't pass up. The Big 12 has always been my favorite conference, and now that Nebraska has a new coach and system, I thought it may be a good place where I could work my way into the program sooner than some other places. I look forward to playing there and hopefully I can help the team bring back a championship. I like the style of play they're trying to run, and I think I can help because I can step out and shoot the ball better than most big men."

Quoting Coach Joel Davison: "Alex has tremendous upside with his size. He is long for his size and athletic. He can shoot the ball well and is very skilled in the passing game, and he can block shots and rebound because of his length. His biggest strength may be that he can play on the perimeter and fit in with the guys Coach Sadler is bringing into Nebraska. Alex will have a big advantage over other junior college players because he will have three years to play at Nebraska while also having an advantage over high schoolers because he's already played a year at a higher level. He's a great kid, very coachable and a good student who will work hard for the program."

Alonzo Edwards, 6-7 215, Houston, Texas (Klein Forest HS)

Edwards was the first high schooler to commit to the Cornhuskers this fall for the 2007 class. The Houston native came on strong last season when he averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots per game for Klein Forest High School and coach Cary Black. Edwards helped the Golden Eagles to a 22-15 record last season while earning all-district accolades. He also was ranked among the top 25 players in Texas by several publications, including No. 13 in the state by texashoops.com. During the summer Edwards has played AAU ball for Houston Select and the Houston Knights.

Quoting Coach Sadler: "Alonzo is possibly the best athlete of this group. He has a tremendous ability and versatility, and can play several positions on the perimeter for us. He also has unbelievable character to combine with being a good player."

Quoting Alonzo Edwards: "I'm very excited and I can't wait until the day that I can come to campus and be a part of trying to help the team win a Big 12 championship. All of the coaches are great, and I like that they can joke around and be fun, but they know when it's time to practice and get serious. They can be your friend but they know when to be your coach too. I think I can shoot the ball well and have a good post game, but most of all I have leadership. I think I am a young leader on the floor and try to help everyone the best I can."

Quoting Coach Cary Black: "Alonzo is a good rebounder, can run the floor well, can slash and shoot and is good in the paint. He is strong and in the Big 12 Conference, his strength will let him play with a lot of people. As much as anything, I think his athleticism will allow him to do well as his strength is getting out and running, and then he can catch and finish, and he plays above the rim."

Steve Harley, 5-11, 170, Temple Hills, Md. (Marriott HS/South Plains (Texas) College)

An explosive scoring guard, Harley signed with the Huskers on the eve of the 2006-07 season in which he was selected as a preseason first-team NJCAA All-American for South Plains (Texas) College and coach Steve Green. Harley was also ranked the No. 4 shooting guard in the country by Rick Ball for Sporting News Preseason Yearbook and a second-team preseason All-American by Street & Smith. As a freshman last season, Harley averaged 20.7 points, 4.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game and was named honorable-mention All-America while pushing the Texans to a 24-8 record.

A native of Temple Hills, Md., Harley played his final season of prep basketball at Marriott High School. As a senior in 2003-04, he was ranked among the top 100 players in the country by Hoopmasters.com and averaged 25 points and seven assists per game while earning all-area recognition. Harley played for Crossland High School as a junior when he averaged 28 points per game to earn all-state honors.

Quoting Coach Sadler: "Steve comes from a winning program, and I think that it's important to get players who know how to win. The one thing he can do really well is score. He brings a tremendous scoring ability and does not need help getting a shot because he can create his own."

Quoting Steve Harley: "This is a great chance for me to get to the next level and play in the Big 12 Conference. I'm excited to be a part of it. Coach Sadler and all the assistant coaches are all good people and are a great coaching staff. My head coach knows Coach Sadler from way back, and now I'm going to go there (to Lincoln) and try to help them get to the NCAA Tournament."

Quoting South Plains Assistant Coach Charles Harral: "Steve is a really good guard who attacks the basket well, but he is all about the team and is an extremely good person. He is not going to miss a beat going from junior college to Division I in the Big 12 Conference. He is talented and can play alongside anyone in the Big 12. He can guard with all of them on the defensive end and will get it done on the offensive end too."

Josh "Cookie" Miller, 5-7, 165, Charleston, West Virginia (Capital HS/Harmony Community (Ohio) School)

Miller committed to the Huskers in October and will come to Lincoln with strong credentials. The ultra-quick point guard posted 17 points and nearly 12 assists per game, including a school-record 22 assists in one contest, last year at Harmony Community School in Cincinnati, Ohio. He will again play for Harmony this season under coach Mark Metzka. At Capital High School in Charleston, W.Va., Miller led coach Carl Clark's team to a 21-5 record and a state semifinals berth in 2005. Miller earned state player-of-the-year honors and was named captain of the all-state squad, his third selection to the team. Miller finished as the school's career leader with more than 1,500 points. During the summer, Miller also played for the D-1 Greyhounds in Cincinnati alongside top-10 national recruits O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker.

Quoting Coach Sadler: "With us losing Charles Richardson Jr., point guard is an area that we needed to address. Cookie is definitely a player who has extraordinary ability, especially considering his size. He is extra quick and is strong and can run our team."

Quoting Cookie Miller: "I'm really excited to get there and play for Coach Sadler and in a big-time conference. I want to prove to everyone who doubted me that I can help that team. A lot of coaches saw me, but from the first time Coach Sadler saw me play, he handled it the right way. He has the right plan for the future and thinks I can be a part of that."

Quoting Coach Mark Metzka: "Cookie's skill level is so high. He turns a negative perception of being a little guy into a positive because he has worked so hard to develop his skills. And his athleticism really negates his lack of size since he can play with the big guys because of his vertical jump and quickness. He is someone this team definitely follows. He is without question our leader, loves the game and is the type of kid you want in charge of the team. Fans in Lincoln should be excited because they are going to see an exciting player who can help them rebuild that team."

Rishawn Norwood, 6-3, 185, Akron, Ohio (Buchtel HS/Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) CC)

Norwood led the California junior college ranks in scoring last season as he averaged 27.2 points per game while leading coach Mike Swanegan's Mt. San Antonio squad to a 19-12 record. Norwood earned all-league and all-state honors after adding 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.5 blocks per game while hitting nearly 90 percent from free throw line and better than 50 percent from the floor. He scored a season-high 50 points in a contest last year.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Norwood led Buchtel High School to a 20-6 record as a senior while earning all-conference and all-state honors. He averaged about 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game for Buchtel.

Quoting Coach Sadler: "Rishawn is a very athletic player. One thing that he can do really well is score and we need that. He expects to win and comes from a good junior college program that has success. That's something you can't teach, but it's important that you're always looking for those players who expect to win and he does."

Quoting Rishawn Norwood: "The best thing I liked about Nebraska was that it was in the Big 12 Conference, which is a great conference for basketball. It's pretty much the same style of play as what I'm used to because I like to get up and down the floor, running and gunning. My biggest strength is scoring because I can get to the basket and I can shoot. I had great vibes from the coaches, and I have a good relationship with Coach Mathews after playing (against his team) last year. It will be good to get back to the Midwest too, because the West Coast is kind of far away from my family. I just look forward to getting there next year to start school and playing ball."

Quoting Coach Swanegan: "Rishawn is a 6-3 wing or two guard who is a great slasher and he can get to the basket. He is very aggressive offensively and can get his shot off in traffic. One of his biggest assets is he knows the game, and he can play in (Nebraska's) system because everything we do is up-tempo. We do a lot of pressing and on the other end he is a good open-court player. He's also one of the best finishers I've had, and the sky is the limit for him. We didn't have much talent around him last year and he had to do a lot, but when he's at Nebraska and has talented players around him, he will do well in the Big 12. He's also one of the best kids around with a great personality and is just a good person."

Shang Ping, 6-10, 230, Harbin, China (Illinois Central CC)

A skilled athlete in the paint, Ping will join the Huskers following two seasons at Illinois Central CC where he played for coach Tony Wysinger. A native of China, both of Ping's parents played professional basketball, and as a youth, he spent time in the national basketball school before playing one year in New Zealand. He then enrolled at The Winchendon School in Massachusetts before moving to Peoria, Ill., where he joined Wysinger's squad last season. As a freshman, Ping averaged 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for ICC. Ping earned all-conference and all-region honors and is a preseason second-team All-American according to Wysinger.

Quoting Coach Sadler: "Shang will bring a physical presence in our offensive system, and I expect he will be able to shoot the ball well for us. He also has tremendous character, which was shown by the sacrifices he has made to come to the United States to get an education and become a better player."

Quoting Shang Ping: "I'm very excited to come to Nebraska. I am looking forward to trying to get playing time early and making myself better; that is very important to me. I can score and can play three positions and look forward to the great competition. I also am looking forward to playing for Coach Sadler. He is very friendly and honest, and I think he can help me be successful."

Quoting Coach Tony Wysinger: "Shang is a hard worker, and wants to do more individual work than what we do (as a team) and that is contagious. After watching him, other guys say, ‘I want to put in more time too.' It's not easy for anyone to go from junior college to Division I, but Shang will put in the effort and time to make that transition as easy as possible. He's a second-team preseason All-American and he will help us this year. We get up and down the floor, and he finishes the break for us, so playing in Nebraska's system will not be a concern. But good teams will make you slow down and play a half court game, and he can compete at that level too."

Brandon Richardson, 6-0, 160, Hawthorne, Calif. (Hawthorne HS)

Richardson enters his senior season on the verge of breaking the school's all-time scoring record as he is on pace to top the 2,000-point barrier this year. In 2005-06, he averaged 22.5 points, 3.7 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game while helping coach Mike Rios's Hawthorne High School squad to a 19-10 record, including a perfect 10-0 conference mark. It was the first time in school history the team went undefeated in league play and the first league title since 1991. A three-year starter, Richardson was named league MVP and was an all-area and All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) first-team selection after leading his squad to the playoffs. In the first round, he scored a career-high 38 points and added 31 in the second round before the team was knocked out of contention for the state title.

Quoting Coach Sadler: "Brandon is a point guard who can really shoot the ball. He can play the combo guard position and we're always looking for players who can play more than one spot. He is highly competitive and comes from a winning program, and that's what we want – kids who know how to win."

Quoting Brandon Richardson: "I liked both the academics and the basketball coaches. The academics staff told me about the high graduation rate and all the ways they can help you make yourself better. None of the other colleges I went to had (a graduation rate) that high and it wasn't even close. The coaches stay on the players about their academics and make sure you get your work done. As far as basketball, I like that Coach Doc Sadler is a disciplinarian because he is going to push me and not make it easy on me. That's the way he can help make me a better player."

Quoting Coach Mike Rios: "Brandon's biggest strength is his competitiveness. He makes everyone around him better in practice because of the way he competes in every drill. He hates losing. He will go out there and compete and push his teammates and will make them better just like he expects they will make him better by pushing him. He loves being physical and lives in the weight room, and he loves to get in there and rebound with the bigger guys."

Head coach Doc Sadler was very happy to get this recruiting class signed up and ready to help his team for the 2007-2008 season.

"I am very pleased with the people we signed up to this point. We've added some very, very talented players. We've added some kids with a lot of character and I think that anytime you do those two things, you give yourself a chance to be successful," said Sadler.

Sadler said he will not shy away from recruiting the best players whether they are junior college or high school players.

"You see a mixture of junior college players, you see a mixture of high school players, we just want to get the best players we can get," he said.

The Nebraska coaching staff made a concerted effort to get players that can shoot well. According to Sadler, that is one of the main attributes he looks for in a player.

"All these guys can score, who we recruited. I will go for a shooter more than an athlete. I don't know what to do with a guy that can't score. I will always lean towards guys that can put the ball in a basket," he said.

Size is always a hot commodity for teams, but Sadler said he won't take someone just because he is big.

"I think size is always good if they can play. Size to me doesn't do you any good unless they can play. I think you can do more with guards that can play then with size that can't," he said.

That means Sadler will keep Nebraska well-stocked at the guard position.

"Every year it is my responsibility to recruit the best players that I can. I am a strong believer in having great guards. That is the biggest key. I think that we signed some good guards. You can't have too many guards in my opinion," he said.

Bottom line, Sadler's number one priority is to target in-state recruits first, then go anywhere and everywhere to get the players he wants for Nebraska.

"We're going to recruit everybody. Obviously we will start here in Nebraska. Hopefully we don't lose anybody in the state and especially here in the city. That's no guarantee but it's going to be hard to tell us no," he said.

You can expect Sadler and his coaching staff to work hard on the recruiting trail and from the sound of his voice he will succeed and start getting Nebraska's talent up to the caliber of the Big 12.

This recruiting class is a good start.

Big Red Report Top Stories