It's no secret that in-state recruiting a key focus for Western Kentucky head coach Ray Harper.
A trio of prospects in the 2016 class – Braxton Beverly, Quentin Goodin and Eli Wright – are all priority targets by the Hilltoppers staff. Additionally, looking ahead to the 2017 and another group of Bluegrass prospects – DeVon Cooper, David Sloan, Chris Vogt and Trace Young – hold offers from WKU.
“I think it's always good when you can keep guys home that are good enough to play,” Harper recently told WKUInsider.com.
To help bolster the program's recruiting efforts both in and out of state, Harper recently added Kentucky native Chris Shumate to his coaching staff. A product of Louisville Male High School, Shumate went on to play at Murray State prior to entering the coaching profession. The Hilltoppers first-year assistant has spent time at Cincinnati, Southern Miss and most recently Tennessee.
“I really wanted someone that had Kentucky ties,” Harper explained. “Not only Kentucky ties, but someone that can recruit nationally and I think Chris is going to do that.”
The reaction of Shumate's move to Bowling Green was viewed as a strong hire throughout the coaching profession and by recruits. His previously built relationships with in-state targets should pay dividends.
While just two in-state products are on the current WKU roster in Justin Jefferies of Hazard and fifth-year transfer Aaron Cosby, a Louisville native, the continued increase of high-level talent with the state borders is certain to change that in the near future.
“Kentucky basketball is back, I think,” Harper said. “Obviously we'd like to see some of those guys stay here at home.”