NEW ORLEANS, La. – Tulane University has signed two high school basketball players to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, Green Wave head men's basketball coach Shawn Finney announced Friday. The Green Wave has added 6-2 point guard Ryan Williams of Jonesboro, Ark., and 6-7 forward Daniel Puckett from McEwen, Tenn.
2004-05 Tulane Men's Basketball Signees
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. High School
Daniel Puckett F 6-7 190 McEwen
Ryan Williams G 6-2 180 Jonesboro
"We wanted to sign a wing and a point and we have two good ones in Daniel and Ryan," Finney said. "We wanted to hold one scholarship for the spring to see what our needs are after being so young this season with eight freshmen and sophomores."
Puckett had an excellent junior season for Coach Phil Ross at McEwen High School, averaging 21 points, 8.7 rebounds and three assists per game. He was an all-state selection and the district player of the year while leading his young team to a 21-10 record and second place in the district.
"Daniel is a great addition to our team," Finney said. "He brings more athleticism to our team and he has a great basketball mind and an excellent understanding of the game. He is a fearless player and extremely competitive."
"Daniel is a heckuva player. I think he is the best player ever at this school," said Ross, his high school coach. "He handles the ball really well against pressure and we post him up against smaller players. Because he is so versatile, he can score in a bunch of different ways. I think he will be really successful at the college level. I think he's a steal for Tulane."
Williams is a point guard who averaged 23.4 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, leading Jonesboro in each category as the Hurricane finished 18-9 overall and third in their league. He is a two-time all-state selection from Class 5A, the largest in Arkansas. He has also collected all-conference honors in each of his two years. His athleticism reminds Finney of former guard Byron Parker, who won the Collegiate Slam Dunk Championship in 2003.
"Ryan will bring a lot of excitement to our program," Finney said. "He can play the one or the two and he has a 39-inch vertical leap, quickness and speed; plus he brings intensity and toughness to every play. He is an excellent offensive player, but his best talents right now are as a perimeter defensive player. It says a lot about his abilities that he is preseason player of the year in Arkansas."
"Ryan is our go-to guy," high school coach Barry Pruitt said. "He does everything for us. He is head and shoulders above everybody else, he just plays at another level. He is one of the best defensive players I have ever coached. He is super fast and very athletic and quick. We played him in the post the last couple of years, but we will take advantage of his talents from outside this year."
Tulane opens its 2004-05 season next Friday, Nov. 19, playing LSU in the first round of the Louisiana Basketball Classic in Baton Rouge. The other first round game pits UL-Lafayette against Louisiana Tech. The championship and consolation will be played on Sunday. All four games of the tournament will be televised on Cox Sports TV. The Green Wave will play its home opener on Saturday, Nov. 27 against Prairie View A&M. Season tickets and single-game tickets are available by calling 504-861-WAVE.
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