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MBB Announces Monumental Recruiting Class

Courtesy: ICGaels.com
          Release: 07/12/2012
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Iona College men's basketball head coach Tim Cluess announced his 2012 recruiting class. One of the largest classes in NCAA Division I, nine new student-athletes will perform for the Maroon & Gold this fall.

The new Iona nine replace six graduating seniors and two transfers. Iona had an open scholarship during the 2011-12 campaign.

"We're extremely excited for this monumental class this fall," said Cluess. "The nine student-athletes are all tailored for our system here at Iona. The class consists of two freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors and a senior and will provide solid class balance with our three returning seniors and one returning junior."

"All but two of these young men are attending summer session classes and we're grateful for them to be able to take advantage of the NCAA's new summer practice rules,” Cluess added. “We are also preparing for a trip to Canada with our entire team and look forward to competing in several exhibitions while training for the upcoming season."

DeSean Anderson (Inglewood, CA / Inglewood HS) will be a junior at Iona in the fall after spending the 2011-12 campaign at Los Angeles Trade Technical College in downtown Los Angeles. Season highlights from his sophomore season include a 31-point, four-rebound, four-block and three-steal effort for LA Trade Tech on Feb. 8 in a loss to Pasadena City College. 

Anderson has been described as a smooth, athletic and versatile power forward that can also play the wing position. He is a 6-8 skilled performer that can run the floor well and can step out and shoot from 18 feet. Anderson has solid leaping ability and is most comfortable facing the basket and getting to the rim.

He spent his freshman year at San Bernardino Valley College in Colton, CA just over an hour east of his home in Inglewood. Anderson averaged 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in limited action in 23 appearances. He shot 53.8 percent from the field and had a season-high of 21 points.

Anderson played scholastically for Inglewood HS where he was a teammate of fellow 2012-13 Iona newcomer DaShawn Gomez. He averaged 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game in helping to lead Inglewood High School to a 22-10 overall record. Anderson scored a season-high 26 points in a win over Hawthorne High School on Feb. 10.

Curtis Dennis (Bronx, NY / Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel) is a 6-5 wing and a transfer from the University of Toledo. Dennis will be able to utilize his final season of eligibility right away after being granted a transfer waiver by the NCAA due to the probation set on Toledo’s men’s basketball program.

Dennis appeared in 27 games at Toledo making two starts. He was the number two scorer on the squad averaging 12.7 points per game. Dennis was second on the team with 49 three pointers, and fourth with 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. For his efforts, he was named All-MAC Honorable Mention. Dennis posted 17 games with 10 or more points including a season-high 21 points (his second 20+ point effort) vs. Eastern Michigan on Mar. 3. In the contest he had a season-best seven rebounds and matched a season-high with five three-point field goals in his first start of the season.

The 6-5, 205 wing has an opportunity to contribute in Iona's starting lineup right away. He has proven to be a dangerous outside scoring threat (35.0% from beyond the arc last season) and can also score off the dribble.

In his first three collegiate seasons, Dennis played at the University of New Mexico where he appeared in 41 games over two seasons and averaged just under 3.0 points per game. He started the Lobos’ first three contests in 2010-11 and tallied a season-best 12 points in 23 minutes in the squad's season opener vs. Detroit. He transferred to Toledo after appearing in only 10 games. 

Prior to New Mexico, Dennis played his prep seasons at Findlay College Prep in Las Vegas, NV and Gulf Shores Academy in Houston, TX. At Findlay, Dennis was ranked as the 13th best prep school player in the country by Scout.com. He led his team to a 32-1 record and an appearance in the Prep School National Championship Game. Dennis averaged 13.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg while shooting 40.1% from three-range. He averaged 24.5 points per game at Gulf Shores.

The Bronx, NY native played scholastically for Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel in downtown New Rochelle. He tallied 18.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for the school located less than two miles from Iona's campus.

Grant Ellis (Newark, NJ / Hudson Catholic) is one of two freshmen in the 2012 recruiting class and comes to Iona after playing for Coach Nick Marinello at Hudson Catholic High School in Newark, NJ. He is a 6-5 wing that helped lead the Hawks to a 25-3 overall record and a perfect 13-0 mark in league play in 2011-12.

Ellis is a long, slasher/scorer that will look to crack the Gael rotation as a rookie. An excellent athlete, he possesses a solid skill set that should fit Iona's high octane offensive system.

As a senior, Ellis posted seven games with 10 or more points; including a season best 19 points in a win over Memorial HS on Feb. 19. He recorded eight games with double-digit points as a junior including a career-high 20 points on two occasions. His 20-point, nine-rebound effort vs. Memorial on Jan. 21 were career bests in both stat categories. Hudson Catholic posted a 22-6 overall mark in 2010-11 and were 13-1 in league play.

A.J. English III (Middletown, DE / St. Thomas More (CT)) is a Delaware native that comes to Iona from St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, CT where he played for head coach Jeremiah Quinn. English averaged nearly 18 points per game in his post graduate season with the Chancellors and was named All-New England Prep School Athletic Conference Second Team.

English is a 6-3 shooting guard and a perimeter scoring threat who has the ability to put points on the board in bunches. According to ESPN.com's Recruiting Nation, he has a good stroke from behind the three-point line and can shoot it equally well off a bounce in the mid-range area. English has a good feel for attacking close-outs and can get it to the rim if necessary.

As a senior in 2010-11, he helped lead Appoquinimink to a 15-5 overall mark and 12-2 in league play. As a junior his squad was 12-9 and 7-5 that season, he was rated the No. 71 best prospect in the Class of 2011 by Rivals.com.

English's father - A.J., II - was an All-American at Virginia Union University and played two seasons with the Washington Bullets from 1990-1992 where he averaged just under 10.0 points per game.

DaShawn Gomez (Inglewood, CA / Inglewood) comes to New Rochelle via Antelope Valley College and New Mexico State University. A 6-2, 180 lb. point guard, Gomez will look to fill the void created by the graduation of Scott Machado.

Gomez will compete for time at the point guard position with returning senior Lamont Jones. Described as a "coach on the floor", he helped lead Antelope Valley to a 44-18 mark in two seasons in the Los Angeles suburb of Lancaster, CA. Gomez can score from the perimeter and distribute the basketball to his teammates as evidenced by his 93 three pointers and 295 assists with the Marauders.

As a sophomore, Gomez was named Honorable Mention All-State (CCCAA) and First Team All-Foothill Conference for his performance. He averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 assists per game, connecting on 54 three-point field goals and posting better than a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He posted 19 double-digit point efforts including a season best 23 vs. San Bernardino Valley on Feb. 4. He had nine games with eight or more assists including his career-high 12 on three occasions. He posted 17 points and 12 assists vs. Victor Valley on Jan. 7 in one of his top efforts of the season.

As a freshman in 2010-11, he was also First Team All-Foothill Conference. Gomez averaged 10.0 points and 4.5 assists in 29 games played. He posted 11 games with 10 or more points including a career-best 32 points in an overtime win over Oxnard on Feb. 23. Gomez had three 10+ assist efforts including 12 vs. Canyons on Dec. 28 en route to an All-Canyons Tournament Team selection.

After graduating from Inglewood High School, Gomez enrolled at New Mexico State for the 2009-10 campaign. He appeared in seven games and averaged 8.1 points per game. He sustained an eye injury and received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA to retain his year of eligibility.

At Inglewood, Gomez was a four-year varsity starter. As a senior, he was named a first team All-California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division IV-AA honoree after leading Inglewood to a 24-7 record and the CIF-SS Division IV-AA title game. He posted a team-best 22 points in the Sentinels’ loss to Ocean View, 76-47. Gomez averaged 18 points, 10 assists, three steals and three rebounds and he was named the conference MVP in his final season. He ranks second on Inglewood’s all-time assist list. Additionally, he was a first team All-Daily Breeze selection as a senior and a three-year team captain. As a junior, he was named the conference’s most outstanding player.

Michael Haynes (Chicago, IL / Fenger Academy) comes to New Rochelle via Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA. Haynes is a 6-7 forward that will look to compete for a starting job in Iona's frontcourt this season. He will have sophomore eligibility in 2012-13.

Haynes averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds last season for Indian Hills. His coach, Barret Peery, described Haynes to SNY.tv as a strong, powerful athlete around the rim. He runs the floor well and can defend multiple positions. He can face up and shoot and has tremendous passion and energy for the game.

Haynes originally signed a National Letter of Intent to play at UTEP after graduating from Heat Academy in 2010. At Heat, he averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game during the 2009-10 season, helping the squad to a 36-4 record and a no. 4 national ranking by USPrepBasketball.com. A three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Haynes began his prep career by starring at Washington High School in Chicago for two seasons. He averaged 12 ppg and 17 rpg as a sophomore and 17 ppg and 22 rpg as a junior. Haynes was rated the No. 11 player in the state of Illinois by ChicagoHoops.com following his junior season. He led Washington HS to back-to-back appearances in the city championship game and was a two-time All-District honoree, and an All-Area selection as a junior. He did not play his senior year while attending Fenger High School. 

David Laury (West Orange, NJ / Nia Prep) will be a sophomore at Iona in 2012-13 and will be eligible to play after the first semester concludes in December. Laury enrolled at Iona last January after spending the 2010-11 season at Lamar State College in Port Arthur, TX. Due to NCAA Initial Eligibility regulations, Laury must establish a year in residence at Iona before being eligible to play.

A 6-8 power forward, Laury has tremendous skill for his size including the ability to lead the offense as a virtual point forward. He is  described as a strong rebounder and a great passer with an excellent basketball IQ. Laury also has good range on his jumper and can step out and make a three-pointer.

At Lamar State, Laury averaged 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 60% from the field. In 16 games played, Laury posted 14 double-digit point efforts and eight double-doubles. He had a season-best 26 points vs. Texas Riders on Nov. 29 and recorded a season-high 15 rebounds on three occasions. One of his top statistical performances of the season included a 23 point, 15 rebound effort vs. Delgado CC on Nov. 20.

For his post graduate year, Laury attended Ocean Academy in Bayville, NJ.

As a senior at NIA School, Laury helped lead coach Vincent Robinson's squad to a 26-6 overall mark. Laury played alongside Cleveland Cavaliers' 2012 draft pick and former Syracuse standout Dion Waiters and current Saint Peter's guard Yvon Raymond. 

Brandon Parga (Pico Rivera, CA / Cathedral) is a 6-5 shooting guard / wing forward and sharpshooter from Citrus College in Glendora, CA, a Los Angeles suburb. Parga converted more than 100 three pointers in two seasons at Citrus.

Parga averaged 17.8 ppg as a sophomore at Citrus in 2011-12. He converted 50.3% of all field goal attempts and 44.8% from beyond the arc while also shooting better than 82% from the free throw line. He led the team in scoring in 13 of his 28 games played posting a season-high 26 points vs. LA Valley on Jan. 12. Parga posted 10 or more points in all but two games for the 28-2 Fighting Owls.

As a freshman, Parga helped lead Citrus to the CCCAA State Championship game. He averaged 8.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game on 40.8% shooting from the floor in 18 minutes a game and was second on the team with 54 three pointers.

Parga played three varsity seasons for Cathedral High School and Coach Sheldon McCorn. He earned All-CIF First Team honors and All-Del Rey League First Team honors as a senior.

Tavon Sledge (Spring Valley, NY / Half Hollow Hills West) is a transfer from Iowa State University. He will sit out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules and will retain sophomore eligibility the following year. Sledge is a Rockland County native that played scholastically on Long Island.

As a freshman last season at Iowa State, Sledge saw limited action in eight contests for the Cyclones. He averaged a point per game and had a season-high four points vs. Prairie View A&M.

A jet quick, 5-9 point guard, Sledge will be able to practice with the team this season and step in at the point guard position after the graduation of Lamont Jones after this season.

Sledge played varsity ball at Half Hollow Hills West High School in Dix Hills, NY. One of the top players from the area, he was ranked as high as the third-best player from New York City behind Jabari Hinds (Mt. Vernon HS / West Virginia) and Achraf Yacoubou (Long Island Lutheran HS / Villanova). Sledge was named All-New York City First Team by NYHoops.com and was ranked as the 79th best player in the Class of 2011 by Hoopscoop.com. He was a two-time All-State, All-Long Island and All-Conference recipient.

As a senior, Sledge averaged 25.3 points, 5.2 assists and 3.5 steals, leading his team to an 18-6 mark and a Class AA state semifinal appearance. He exploded nationally when he recorded a career-high 46 points in a double-overtime win over Elmont in the state quarterfinals. The total set a new Long Island AA scoring record and earned him National Player of the Week accolades by ESPNRise. In the effort he tallied 13 of his team's 17 points in the overtime periods. Following the senior campaign, he played in the Mary Kline Classic, an All-Star game for the top players in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

During his junior season at Half Hollow Hills he averaged 18.3 points and 11.1 assists and helped lead his team to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship game. He was co-MVP of the squad along with current Milwaukee Buck and former Tennessee standout Tobias Harris.

Sledge spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Saint Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark, NJ.

Seven of the nine student-athletes are enrolled in the summer sessions at Iona. Anderson and Haynes will join their teammates when the fall semester begins in August. The itinerary for Iona's trip to Canada will be announced later this summer.

2012-13 Iona College Men’s Basketball Returnees
Name Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown / Last School / High School
Sean Armand Jr. G 6-4 200 Brooklyn, NY / CJEOTO Academy (N.J.) / Jacqueline Onassis
Lamont Jones Sr. G 6-0 196 Harlem, NY / Univ. of Arizona / Oak Hill Academy (Va.)
Nyandigisi Moikobu Sr. F 6-7 235 Seattle, WA / Cochise Coll. (Ariz.) / Rainier Beach
Taaj Ridley Sr. F 6-7 225 Bronx, NY / Lawson State CC (Ala.) / John F. Kennedy
           
2012-13 Iona College Men’s Basketball Newcomers
Name Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown / High School / Last School
DeSean Anderson Jr. F 6-8 200 Inglewood, CA / Inglewood / LA Trade Tech
Curtis Dennis Sr. G 6-5 205 Bronx, NY / Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel / Toledo
Grant Ellis Fr. G-F 6-5 195 Newark, NJ / Hudson Catholic
A.J. English Fr. G 6-3 175 Middletown, DE / Appoquinimink / St. Thomas More (CT)
DaShawn Gomez Jr. G 6-2 190 Inglewood, CA / Inglewood / Antelope Valley College
Michael Haynes So. F 6-7 225 Chicago, IL / Fenger Academy / Indian Hills CC (IA)
David Laury So. F 6-9 240 West Orange, NJ / Nia Prep / Lamar State - Port Arthur (TX)
Brandon Parga Jr. G-F 6-5 200 Pico Rivera, CA / Cathedral / Citrus College
Tavon Sledge So. G 5-9 175 Spring Valley, NY / Half Hollow Hills West / Iowa State
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