Norvel Pelle signs with Iona

Former St. John’s recruit Norvel Pelle has signed with Iona according to Jon Rothstein. This is a huge signing for the Gaels, and not just because Pelle is 6’11”. He was ranked 51st in the RSCI Top 100 for 2011 as part of Steve Lavin’s impressive class. Pelle is super skilled and his brother has compared him to Kevin Durant.

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Iona finds talent in many forms to reload roster

Iona made the NCAA tournament last season, but now the hard part begins. Tim Cluess returns just four players from last season’s team that lost to BYU in the first round. But he’s reloading with junior college players, transfers and a few freshmen in an effort to keep the momentum going next season.

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Wagner reloads with three talented newcomers

Wagner Seahawks — 25-6 (15-3 NEC) lost to Robert Morris in NEC semifinals

Players Lost:
Tyler Murray (30.7 MPG, 12.0 PPG, 2.1 APG, 79.5% FT%, 49.0% 3PT%)
Chris Martin (20.9 MPG, 7.1 PPG, 82.3% FT%, 31.0% 3PT%)
Ryan Schrotenboer (12 GP, 2.6 MPG, 0.3 PPG, 0.4 RPG)

Incoming Players:
Jay Harris, 6’2″ PG — Aurora, IL
Dwaun Anderson, 6’3″ G — Suttons Bay, MI
Eric Fanning, 6’4″ G/F — Trenton, NJ

Wagner had it’s most successful season ever last season and first 20-win season since 2007-08, but it ended in disappointing fashion when the Seahawks failed to get invited to the NIT. Head coach Dan Hurley is off to Rhode Island, but Bashir Mason takes over and brings back almost the entire core of last season’s team.

“That was something that was appealing about this job,” Mason said. “I had the luxury of knowing that we return 10 out of our 13 scholarship players. And even after the first year we’ll only lose two players. That gives me good confidence in knowing that I don’t have to go out and rush and find impact players. We need to find the right players. Guys that will fit well with our system.”

While transfer Jay Harris isn’t going to make an impact for another season, the former Valparaiso point guard has found a home with the Seahawks. He needs to work on his strength, but during summer workouts Mason has been impressed by Harris’ shooting ability. In 2013-14 Harris should slide right into what will be a very crowded guard rotation.

Wagner though needs shooters now to help replace the dynamic shooting of the departed Tyler Murray, who shot an insane 49.0% from beyond the arc last season. Two newcomers, Dwaun Anderson and Eric Fanning, will get the chance to fill that void. Anderson has been practicing with the team since January, so he knows the lay of the land.

“He’s used to our style of play. He’s used to the tempo,” Mason said about the former Michigan Mr. Basketball. “He knows the drills and he knows the physicality of the college game. It’ll be smooth for him to go from being a practice player to playing in the games.”

The one true newcomer on the roster is Fanning, who is a “gifted scorer” according to Mason. Fanning scored 1,000 points at two schools, including 1,163 points in just two seasons at Perkiomen in Pennsylvania. He was also named the MVP of the 2012 Mary Kline Classic.

The additions are going to have to fight for playing time. They’ll be competing not only with each other, but all the talented returnees. That’s why even though the Seahawks have one scholarship remaining it’s unlikely the spot will be filled.

It’s going to get even harder to crack the rotation if players continue to improve over the summer. Mason is taking advantage of the NCAA’s new rules allowing teams to work together during the summer and has players practicing on Monday and Tuesday. One of the players that has impressed since returning to campus is point guard Marcus Burton.

“He came back with about eight pounds of muscle added to his body,” Mason said. “I think he’s looking to have a breakout sophomore season.”

If Burton does improve on his solid freshman season, during which he averaged 3.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.6 steals per game in just 12.6 minutes, it should make Wagner even more difficult to play against.

All of it adds up to once making Wagner one of the top contenders in a loaded NEC and a force in the conference for seasons to come.

Recommended Reading: July 2, 2012

Well, the awkward holiday week is upon us. Welcome to July. As we get into the dog days of summer the news is starting to slow to a trickle for July and August before exploding right before the season picks up. What we’ve got now is a bunch of recruiting news and the recently completed NBA Draft. If you’re looking for college basketball reads about LIU Brooklyn or Iona, here are some good ones.

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RSCI Top 100 Cs 2004-2012

I looked at RSCI Top 100 point guards for the past seven years on Sunday. I had so much fun taking a high level look at what was going on I decided to run the numbers for the rest of the positions that are used to classify recruits. Centers are always an interesting case. A lot of players you might think of as a power forward get classified as a center, but this group also includes players like Greg Oden and Dwight Howard. For the sake of complete analysis I’ve included the incoming 2012 class into the data now as well.

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Recruiting page full of information

In case you missed it, I wanted to point you towards the new Recruiting page here on the site. It has the most up-to-date information that I’m aware of on the status of the incoming classes for each of the New York area schools that Big Apple Buckets covers. I’m also trying to collect links of highlight videos and articles about prospects. If you’ve got an interesting link or an important piece of information to share about recruiting feel free to contact me or leave a comment somewhere.

Iona’s class continues to be the hardest to figure out. The Gaels are losing a number of players and thus Tim Cluess is also bringing in a number of guys, including possibly Josiah Turner, another Arizona transfer (wouldn’t that be ironic). Iona locked down two recruits on Sunday according to Adam Zagoria.