Recapping the 2016 AAC basketball recruiting classes

College basketball rosters are just about set for the 2016-17 season. PonyStampede looks at the incoming classes in the American Athletic Conference. Among the AAC’s newcomers are seven four-star freshman, five junior college transfers and two grad transfers.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane


Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy three-star wing Lawson Korita (committed June 30, 2015)

Blinn College (Texas) wing Corey Henderson (August 22)

Marietta (Ga.) Covenant Christian power forward Martins Igbanu (Sept. 16)

South Kent (Conn.) three-star wing Travis Atson (Sept. 20)

College of Southern Idaho wing Eugene Artison (Dec. 13)

Australian Institute of Sport center Will Magnay (Jan. 28)

Abbeville (S.C.) guard Joseph Battle (Feb. 26)

Kilgore College (Texas) wing Jaleel Wheeler (March 24)


Ex-Charlotte combo guard Curran Scott (eligible in 2017, three years left)


Tulsa will have three players on its roster who played in a Division I game in 2015-16. That’s what happens with eight seniors leaving. The Golden Hurricane signed a good mix of high school players and junior college transfers, plus has former Rutgers forward Junior Etou eligible after sitting out 2015-16.

Korita was one of the best shooters on the Nike EYBL in 2015, making 47% of his 3-pointers. He chose Tulsa over Creighton, Wichita State, Mississippi State and Lehigh, among others. Henderson played for Wichita State in 2014-15, averaging 6.8 minutes per game. He has two years left. Igbanu’s offer list reportedly included Cincinnati, Georgia State, Iowa State, Tennessee, South Florida, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. Atson chose Tulsa over UCSB and DePaul, but also held offers from Memphis, St. Bonaventure and Fordham. Artison, likely a 4-man in Frank Haith’s offense, was originally a three-star Fresno State signee in 2014. He has three years left. Tulsa was the only reported offer for Wheeler and Magnay. Battle was the South Carolina Gatorade Playe of the Year and Mr. Basketball. He held offers from Coastal Carolina and South Carolina State.

Connecticut Huskies


Woodstock Academy (Conn.) three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra (May 22, 2015)

Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert (No. 31 overall, July 4)

Tampa Preparatory (Fla.) five-star power forward Juwan Durham (No. 61 overall, Sept. 1)

Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep four-star wing Vance Jackson (No. 80 overall, Oct. 16)

Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More three-star combo guard Christian Vital (April 29)

Transfers: None


The Huskies have the AAC’s top class, finishing with the No. 14 class and three top-80 players. Diarra’s offer list included Dayton, Minnesota, Providence, Saint John’s, Seton Hall, VCU and Temple. Gilbert is the top-ranked freshman in the AAC. He picked UConn from other finalists Syracuse, Louisville, Texas and Illinois. Jackson is a hybrid forward who played with former Husky Daniel Hamilton in high school. Vital is a former UNLV signee. The Huskies also have former VCU wing and top-50 player Terry Larrier eligible after he sat last season due to transfer rules.

Houston Cougars


Round Rock (Texas) McNeil shooting guard Armoni Brooks (Sept. 6)

Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa C.C. center Valentine Sangoyomi (Sept. 9)

Odessa College (Texas) power forward Devin Davis (April 18)

Blinn College (Texas) shooting guard Morris Dunnigan (April 29)

Transfers: None


The Cougars went heavy on junior college players in this class. Brooks, the lone high school player, had a final five of Houston, UTEP, Tulsa, Kansas State and Boise State. Sangoyomi (two years left) said he picked Houston over Kansas State, Mississippi State, Rhode Island and Middle Tennessee. Davis is a former Indiana Hoosier who was dismissed from the team in 2014-15. He has not played a Division I season since 2013-14 (missed 2014-15 with injury, spent 2015-16 in JUCO and was named a NJCAA All-American). He has two years left. A Joliet, Ill. native, Dunnigan averaged 22.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 2015-16 and was named junior college All-Region XIV first-team. He has two years left.

East Carolina Pirates


Beacon (N.Y.) John F. Kennedy wing Elijah Hughes (June 9, 2015)

Little Rock (Ark.) Southwest Christian point guard Shawn Williams (Sept. 11)

Westlake (Ga.) wing Raquan Wilkins (March 28)

Richmond (Va.) John Marshall three-star point guard Jeremy Sheppard (June 13)


Ex-Wake Forest center Andre Washington (grad transfer)

Ex-Hawaii point guard Isaac Fleming (eligible in 2017, one year left)


Hughes held a handful of mid-major offers, including Albany, Hofstra, Iona, Fairfield and Siena. Williams had offers from Arizona State Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Rhode Island, TCU and Tulsa. Wilkins is both a Georgia state champion and a Nike Peach Jam champion. Sheppard, a former UCF signee, was a late addition to the class.

SMU Mustangs


Oklahoma City Southeast three-star point guard Dashawn McDowell (Sept. 5)

Australian Institute of Sport three-star point guard Tom Wilson (Oct. 21)

Australian Institute of Sport four-star power forward Harry Froling (Jan. 25)


Ex-Arkansas combo guard Jimmy Whitt (eligible in 2017, three years left)


SMU was unable to sign four-star big men Bruno Fernando and Ted Kapita, but still ends with one four-star forward. McDowell, a former Tulsa commit, picked SMU over Houston, USC and Texas Tech. Wilson and Froling were teammates in high school and international play. Froling picked SMU over finalists Arizona, Colorado and Illinois.

South Florida Bulls


Oldsmar Christian (Fla.) four-star combo forward Troy Baxter (May 1, 2015)

Orlando (Fla.) West Oaks Academy point guard Andres Feliz (July 13)

Brewster Academy (N.H.) three-star wing Malik Fitts (Sept. 29)


Ex-USC power forward Malik Martin (eligible in 2017, two years left)


The Bulls signed a strong three-man class after a rough year two under Orlando Antigua. Baxter, a 6-foot-7 hybrid forward, picked USF over Alabama, Arkansas, UConn, Arizona State, Tennessee, Kansas State, Temple and Texas Tech. Feliz reclassified from 2017 to 2016. In 2015, he led the FIBA U19 World Championship in scoring with 18.9 points per game. In April, he played on the Nike Hoop Summit World team, but struggled with turnovers. The 6-foot-6 Fitts is a California native who is explosive in transition and a good shooter. He also considered Bradley, New Mexico and Washington State.

Temple Owls


Rochester (N.Y.) Bishop Kearney four-star combo guard Quinton Rose (August 7)

Hyattsville (Md.) DeMantha Catholic three-star point guard Alani Moore (Sept. 13)

Jackson (Miss.) Callaway center Damion Moore (Nov. 14)

Transfers: None


Rose is 6-foot-5 but a lean 170 pounds. He can play any backcourt spot and held offers from Florida State, George Washington, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Providence, SMU, St. Joe’s and Seton Hall. Alani Moore’s other finalists were Georgia Tech, Seton Hall and UMass. Damion Moore picked Temple over interest from Oklahoma, La Salle and UTEP.

Cincinnati Bearcats


Dallas Advanced Prep International three-star power forward Nysier Brooks (June 30, 2015)

Wilmington (Ohio) four-star wing Jarron Cumberland (No. 72 overall, July 1, 2015)


Ex-Sacred Heart combo guard Cane Broome (eligible in 2017, two years left)


The Bearcats signed a smaller but talented class. Brooks held offers from Seton Hall, South Carolina and Saint John’s. He is a New Jersey native. At 6-foot-6 and 215 lbs., Cumberland is a big and physical small forward who also possesses a good three-point shot. He was considered a Michigan lean at one point, but didn’t get the offer. He did hold offers from Butler, Purdue, Florida State, West Virginia and Xavier. Cincinnati also has former N.C. State center Kyle Washington eligible after sitting out 2015-16 as a transfer. He is former top-100 recruit with two years left.

Memphis Tigers


Southwest Tennessee C.C. forward Jimario Rivers (Oct. 7)

Auburndale (Fla.) point guard Keon Clergeot (June 8)


Ex-Coppin State combo guard Christian Kessee (grad transfer)


Tubby Smith had to piece together a class after taking over in April and seeing a handful of players transfer. Four-star point guard Charlie Moore also got a release from Memphis after Josh Pastner left for Georgia Tech. Rivers is a lean 6-foot-8 hybrid forward who also considered Arkansas, Auburn, Iowa State, Florida, Ole Miss, Marquette and Missouri. He stayed signed through the coaching change. Memphis replaced Moore with Clergeot, who originally signed to play for Smith at Texas Tech in the fall. Las Vegas native Kessee brings much-needed 3-point shooting (39.5 percent last year).

Tulane Green Wave


Reedley (Calif.) Immanuel three-star point guard Colin Slater (Sept. 12)


Ex-Vanderbilt power forward Samir Sehic (eligible in 2017, three years left)

Ex-UNLV shooting guard Jordan Cornish (eligible in 2017, two years left)


Slater was the only signee to stick through the coaching change from Ed Conroy to Mike Dunleavy Sr. He chose Tulane over Brown, Lehigh, Cal Poly, Fresno State, UCSB, Hawaii, Pacific, Tulsa and Nevada. The Green Wave made a late addition to the roster with Cornish, a New Orleans native. As a freshman at UNLV in 2014-15, he made 49 percent of his 3-pointers. He picked Tulane over Iowa State, Purdue and Grand Canyon.

Central Florida Knights

Signees: None


Ex-Michigan wing Aubrey Dawkins (eligible in 2017, two years left)

Ex-Louisiana Tech wing Dayon Griffin (eligible in 2017, two years left)

Ex-Drexel combo guard Terrell Allen (eligible in 2017, three years left)

Ex-Illinois State forward Nick Banyard (grad transfer)

Ex-Texas Tech center Rokas Ulvydas (eligible in 2017, three years left)


Johnny Dawkins has already turned over the roster since taking over as head coach in March. However, not all his new additions will play right away. Dawkins landed 2016 Baltimore Mount Zion Prep point guard Caesar DeJesus, but he did not sign. DeJesus picked UCF over offers from Chattanooga, Winthrop, GMU, Canisius, Maine, Robert Morris, North Texas and Saint Louis. DeJesus not signing means the Knights will not have any true freshmen. Banyard, a 6-foot-8 hybrid forward eligible immediately, averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds for Illinois State last season. He began his college career at New Mexico and was a high school teammate of Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart at Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus High School. Banyard's brother, Joe, is a running back and kick returner for the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Here are the five most notable players who were committed to or signed to an AAC school at one point:

Chicago Morgan Park four-star point guard Charlie Moore (California): The No. 65 player in the class originally signed with Memphis in November. He took a spring visit to SMU, but signed with Cal in May.

DME Academy (Fla.) four-star center Ted Kapita (N.C. State): A former Arkansas signee in 2015, Kapita did not qualify and instead did a prep year. He also was rumored to have signed a contract with the start-up AmeriLeague. He committed to SMU in February, but did not sign amid more academic concerns.

Montverde (Fla.) Prep four-star center Bruno Fernando (reclassified): the top-100 big man committed to SMU on national TV in April, but did not sign amid qualification concerns.

Columbia City (Ind.) three-star hybrid forward Brachen Hazen (Arkansas): Hazen signed with Donnie Jones and UCF in November, picking the Knights over Maryland, Creighton, Clemson, Richmond, Bradley, St. Joe’s, Utah State, Illinois State, Valpo and Ball State. Hazen, a power wing, is good in the pick-and-pop and drawing fouls near the rim. He was released from his letter of intent when Jones was fired in March.

San Diego Mission Bay three-star point guard Justin Moore (Georgia Tech): An Ed Conroy signee at Tulane, Moore was released when Conroy was fired in March. He originally picked Tulane over Arizona State, USC, Nevada, San Diego State, San Diego, Utah State and Georgia State.

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