Future Coug hoopers off to good starts

THREE OF TONY Bennett's incoming recruits are off to memorable starts on their senior seasons. David Chadwick, the 6-8 forward from Charlotte, N.C., turned in a game for the ages on Dec. 9 when he scored 29 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked 7 shots in a 68-53 win.

Meanwhile, in California, point guard Xavier Thames of Elk Grove recently earned MVP honors in a weekend tournament that improved his fifth-ranked Pleasant Grove High team to 6-0. Thames and his mates won the championship game 68-67.

And in Spokane, where Shadle Park and Gonzaga Prep are aiming to succeed Ferris as the king of the GSL, future Cougar Anthony Brown's Shadle team captured a 62-61 donnybrook over Central Valley last week. Brown scored 26 points, including nine in the final quarter – a quarter in which Shadle was down 45-39 at one point. Shadle is 6-1 on the season.

Chadwick, Thames and Brown will join 6-9 Australian forward Brock Motum in Bennett's 2009 recruiting class.

The 6-3, 160-pound Thames is the No. 19-rated prep point guard in the nation. "A playmaker with the ball," says Bennett. "Good size and can score, but just has a natural feel with the ball. I like his dimensions."

The 6-5 Brown, who verbaled to Bennett as a sophomore back in 2007, isa highly versatile lefty with slashing moves to the hoop. Like Thames, he has "a nice feel" for the game, Bennett says. "I like how he draws fouls and rebounds."

Chadwick, believed to be the first North Carolinian to hoop it up for the Cougars since Reco Rowe in the 1980s and Norton Barnhill in the early 70s, draws comparisons to Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling and Caleb Forrest. "Just the consummate team player, a heady tough player," says Bennett. "A skilled 6-8, just real tough and real team oriented, and will do all the little things ... I think he's the type of guy we built this program on."

Motum, from the Australian Institute of Sports in Canberra, is "very mobile -- a really lively, active player who has some skill and can play multiple positions. And again, a real unselfish player...and Motum can score."

Ephrata forward Patrick Simon, who as a 14-year-old freshman two years ago became the youngest verbal commitment ever, in any sport, at Washington State, will miss all of this season – his junior season – with a stress fracture. Simon, an All-State selection last season as a sophomore for the Class 2A state champs, wore a protective boot on his right foot when he attended the WSU-LC State exhibition game earlier this season. His brother Daniel plays for L-C. Simon is the No. 12-rated prep forward in the nation for the 2010 class of recruits.

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