The High Point University men’s basketball team will add three freshmen for the 2013-14 season, head coach Scott Cherry announced on Friday. Guards Jorge Perez-Laham and Anthony Lindauer and forward Tarique Thompson are set to join the Panthers along with transfer Brian Richardson.
Perez-Laham is a point guard from Canovanas, Puerto Rico, who played his senior season at South Miami (Fla.) High School. Lindauer is a shooting guard who attended Moline High School in Moline, Ill., before a prep season at Southern Tech in Charlotte, N.C. Thompson is a small forward from Raeford, N.C., who graduated from Hoke County High School.
“I think our staff did a great job of finding talented kids, but also high-character kids, who fit the program we have built here,” said Cherry. “We have filled the voids we had as far as positions, and they’re all guys who can contribute right away.
“Jorge is a point guard who can help replace the one we graduated. We added a shooter in Anthony after we struggled a little bit from the perimeter last year. And then we went out and got a forward who can play the four or move out to the wing. And to add a transfer from the SEC, we feel very good about this recruiting class.”
Perez-Laham was a first-team All-County and third-team All-State selection for South Miami last season after averaging 17 points, eight assists and three steals per game. He was also named first-team All-Dade by the Miami Herald. Perez-Laham led his team to a 28-3 record and its first appearance in the state semifinals since 2004. Prior to last season, he played for the Puerto Rico under-16 national team.
“Jorge handles the ball extremely well, sees the floor and is a tremendous passer,” said Cherry. “He’s always playing with his head up and can make plays. Not only can he shoot the three, he can get in the paint and can create plays for himself or his teammates. He was an ‘under the radar’ guy in South Florida and he was a tremendous pickup late in the recruiting process.”
Lindauer scored over 1,000 points at Moline High School and is the program’s all-time leading three-point shooter. He was named to the Dispatch/Argus Metro All-Star team and was named fourth-team IBCA All-State in 2012. He averaged 22.4 points and hit 87 three-pointers his senior year, leading his team to the Class 4A regional championship. He spent the 2012-13 season playing for Southern Tech Prep Academy.
“Anthony can really shoot the ball,” said Cherry. “He can shoot from deep range but also has a good basketball IQ. He can create plays and create shots for his teammates. Having a guy like that on the perimeter who can play alongside our returning wings, shooting and opening things up for our interior players down low is going to be huge for us.”
Thompson is a 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward who was Southeastern Conference Player of the Year as both a junior and senior for Hoke County High School. He was also a two-time All-Cape Fear selection and was invited to the North Carolina vs. South Carolina All-Star game and North Carolina’s East vs. West All-Star game. He averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds his senior year, leading his team to a 26-3 record.
“Tarique was a guy who was being looked at by SEC and ACC schools,” said Cherry. “He’s a scorer who can rebound the ball extremely well for his size and can step out and shoot. We’ve got tremendous talent returning with our forwards but I felt like we needed another guy who can contribute this season.”
Richardson joins High Point after transferring from South Carolina, where he played the last three seasons. In 2012-13, he averaged 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 31 games (nine starts). He shot 39.9 percent (81-for-203) from the floor and 38.2 percent (42-for-110) from three-point range. Richardson will sit out the 2013-14 season and be eligible the following season.
The Panthers also return 11 players who accounted for 79 percent of scoring and 63 percent of rebounding in 2012-13. HPU went 17-14 overall and 12-4 in Big South play, winning the conference’s North Division title and setting a team record for Big South wins. HPU participated in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, the program’s first postseason appearance since moving up to NCAA Div. I in 1999-2000.