The NCAA early signing period for men's basketball starts today, Nov. 12, and runs through Nov. 19.
Western Kentucky is expected to ink three prospects during the early period. Capsules on the anticipated new Toppers are available below.
Chris McNeal: 5-foot-11 point guard, Jackson (Tenn.)
The recruitment: WKU assistant coach Shawn Forrest first watched McNeal workout at his high school on April 23.
Forrest was so impressed with the point guard, he immediately got head coach Ray Harper on the phone for introductions.
Harper evaluated McNeal at the next possible opportunity, the April 26 weekend, in Dallas during the Adidas Gauntlet (AAU) series.
The staff then got McNeal to camp with the program on-campus over the June 29 weekend, just before the crucial July evaluation period started. They pushed for a commitment--and secured it.
McNeal would go on to win MVP at the highly-touted Adidas Super64 later in July, and coaches from Houston and South Florida (among others,) called his AAU coach about his recruitment--but they were informed he was already a Hilltopper.
• McNeal pledges to WKU--LINK.
• Q&A, Eric Robinson, Memphis Magic Elite--LINK.
• McNeal named Adidas Super64 MVP--LINK.
Marlon Hunter: 6-foot-2 shooting guard, Memphis (Tenn.)
The recruitment: Hunter took multiple unofficial visits to campus in the fall with his old AAU teammate, Chris McNeal, including one for Hilltopper Hysteria.
He used his official visit over the Oct. 25 weekend, before announcing a verbal commitment to the Toppers at his school on Nov. 6.
The shooting guard averaged 13.0 points per game for Wings Elite this summer in the well-regarded Nike EYBL league.
52 other players averaged 13.0 or more points per game this summer in the league, and 50 of those either committed to high-major programs, or held high-major offers.
• Scout Evaluation: Marlon Hunter--LINK.
• Hunter commits to WKU--LINK.
• Twitter reactions: Hunter to WKU--LINK.
Fredrick Edmond: 6-foot-3 wing, College of Southern Idaho.
The recruitment: Edmond committed to WKU from Kingdom Prep in the Class of 2013, but had to enroll in junior college and landed at College of Southern Idaho.
From there, the WKU staff had a tough fight on their hands for over a year and a half to try and retain a player of his caliber. Donnie Tyndall (Tennessee) offered a scholarship this fall, and Southern Cal's Andy Enfield reportedly visited Edmond on Oct. 29.
But in the end, the loyalty and effort by WKU's staff--in addition to Edmond's relationship with Topper point guard Chris Harrison-Docks--was too much to overcome.
Edmond was named NJCAA second team All-American as a freshman at CSI, after averaging 18.0 points and 6.2 rebounds a game for his junior college.
Previously, he averaged 25 points, 14 rebounds and 3 steals a game at Lansing Eastern (Mich.) HS, earning first team all-state honors.
The player he compares most to? Former Marquette standout, now Miami Heat (NBA) star Dwayne Wade.
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