Three New Players Added to 2002-03 Basketball Team

The SpartanThunder SJSU Basketball Pre Season Preview is in, and Coach Phil Johnson has stacked up some great talent for Spartan Fans to get Pumped up about! Check out the new recruits!

Welcome Back PJ!

With the welcomed return of Phil Johnson, and the departure of Steve Barnes, the recruiting has taken an about face!

San Jose State got two athletic JUCO players in Eric Walton and Keith West. Walton, who visited and considered Fresno State two years ago, can jump, block shots, and shoot.

Keith West is said to have a 45-inch vertical. A native of Queens, N.Y., the 6-2 guard makes more than half of his shots from the floor.

PJ also signed a kid from out of the country, 6-9 Oliver Hill is a native of New Zealand. His dad, Stan Hill, played for San Jose State in the 1970's and could be the best player ever to hail from New Zealand.

And now on to the signing of Antonio Lawrence!

Antonio Lawrence-Guard- 6-4 190 lbs

Ranked # 57 nationally by Hoop Scoop

He led the Panthers in scoring at 24.6 points a game (664 total) despite being double-teamed regularly, to rank third in the section. He also guided Memorial to the Southern Regional tournament, where the Panthers lost a 71-69 heartbreaker to Verbum Dei of Los Angeles in the first round.

Brent Lilly-Guard 6-5 -Iowa Junior College Player

Lilly, an outstanding perimeter shooter, averaged almost 12 points per game this past year, playing for ex-San Jose State assistant coach Lorenzo Watkins.

He led Indian Hills with 37 three-point field goals as a freshman and doubled that this year with 68 (as of February 17). He's a 47% three-point shooter.

There are defintely no academic problems as Lilly is a Dean's List member, meaning his grade point average is between 3.5 and 4.0.

Eric Walton-Forward- 6-9 California Junior College Player

A monster who jumps out of the gym and blocks a lot of shots. Eric's very physical, although his frame is all muscle, instead of meaty. He's very exciting on the post and has a nice soft touch from the 10-15 foot range. Unbelievable body, only physical problem is that he beats up his fingers from all the dunking.

"Eric might be the steal of the year. He is a great, great signing for San Jose State," says Gerry Freitas of the "Gerry Freitas Hoop Review" which covers West Coast junior college basketball. "He does a lot of things well. He is athletic, has a great body, shoots it well with range, he's got all the tools."

Keith West-Guard- 6-2 California Junior College Player.

West might be a little undersized, which is why he wasn't super-highly recruited, but he does have an unbelievable vertical leap (45 inches) and quickness -- waterbug-like. The question with Keith was his range, but he's really improved his 3-point shooting.

West, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard from Queens, N.Y., was a first-team all-conference choice as a freshman and his team's "Defensive Player of the Year" in 2000-01.

He averaged 10.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds while making 53 percent of his field goal tries. Like, his teammate, Walton, Fresno State was interested in him, too, according to his coach. "Keith does a very good job defending the ball.

He is a great penetrator who is very strong with the basketball," says his Ventura College coach Winslow. "Keith is a big strong guard, who can play multiple positions for us," adds San Jose State's Coach Barnes. "Keith is a real sleeper who can play. People don?t know that much about him and some people will realize they missed the boat on him," according to Freitas. "He can shoot the 3-pointer, drives well and is a nice player in transition.

Once you see Keith West, you won't question how good he is." Keith West - 6-2, 190 ( Bio Notes and Stats) Keith West was a first-team all-conference choice as a freshman and his team's "Defensive Player of the Year" in 2000-01. He averaged 10.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds while making 53 percent of his field goal tries.

Oliver Hill-Forward- 6-9 Martinsville, Indiana High School Player.

Hill, a native of New Zealand, helped his school reach the "elite eight" of the Indiana Class 4A boys basketball championship this season for only the second time in the last 59 years.

Martinsville posted a 19-6 win-loss record for Coach Tim Wolf and scored one of the state's biggest upsets of the season defeating a Bloomington North High School team that featured 6-foot-8 Sean May, Indiana's 2002 "Mr. Basketball," in the state regional semifinals.

The newest Spartan averaged 15.7 points and 10.8 as a high school senior. The Bloomington Herald named him a 2002 second-team all-area selection.

"We're excited Ollie has decided to sign with us. He's going to give us some much-needed size to our team. Ollie has a nice shooting range for a big man and can give us a defensive presence inside," says the Spartan coach. "His dad was a starter here, and, arguably, was one of the best basketball players ever to come from New Zealand."

Hill's dad, Stan Hill, was a starting center on the 1977 and 1978 teams. Stan Hill averaged 9.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in his two seasons with the Spartans. His 37-point game against CS Sacramento on January 5, 1978 is the second most points scored by a San Jose State player in a game.

The signing of Oliver Hill gives San Jose State three new players for the 2002-03 team.

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