HPU men’s hoops inks three recruits for 2016-17

HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University men’s basketball head coach Scott Cherry has announced the signing of three student-athletes that will compete for HPU beginning in fall 2016.

The trio of future Panthers includes James Manns, Carter Skaggs and Jalen Williams.

“This group is replacing a talented class of seniors that has won a lot of games and achieved program-changing success at High Point University,” Cherry said. “Those are big shoes to fill but we feel very confident in their ability to continue that success in the years to come.”

Manns is a 6-foot-7-inch forward from Columbus, Ohio. A talented player under head coach Brian Shininger at Walnut Ridge High School, Manns has helped lead the Scots to back-to-back Columbus South Division championships and was part of the 2015 squad that advanced to the Ohio Div. II Final Four.

He is averaging 10+ points for an experienced 2016 group that currently leads the city’s South Division (11-1 league mark) and is expected to challenge for the Columbus City title in one of the best high school basketball cities in the nation.

Manns is rated as the No. 6 best prospect in Columbus by 270hoops.com in a city class that includes Nick Ward (Gahanna Lincoln/Michigan State), Seth Towns (Northland/Harvard) and Ibi Watson (Pickerington Central/Michigan).

“James is long and athletic and he fits our mold of guys who can play multiple positions,” Cherry said. “He can score inside and outside. He’s skilled, can score off the bounce, over smaller guys inside and has the ability to shoot 3s and stretch the defense. He comes from a good family and a very successful high school program that has won a lot of games. He plays in a basketball rich league against extremely talented competition.”

Skaggs is a 6-foot-6-inch forward/wing player from Logansport, Ind. One of the most prolific long-range shooters in Indiana basketball history, Skaggs ranks seventh all-time in state history in career 3-pointers made (252).

A member of two sectional championship teams at Logansport High School under head coach Pat Skaggs, Carter posted 1,587 career points and was a four-time all-conference selection for the Berries. He averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game during his senior campaign in 2014-15.

Skaggs played in an extremely talented basketball conference during his career, suiting up against teams that featured McDonalds All-Americans Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame) and Caleb Swanigan (Purdue). He is currently playing his prep year at Bridgton Academy in Maine.

“Carter is an excellent 3-point shooter. He’s had games this year for Bridgton where he’s hit as many as 11 threes,” Cherry said. “He has deep range with the ability to stretch the defense, put pressure on teams and allow us to spread the floor offensively. He will be good in ball screen, pick and pop situations. He’s versatile and can play the wing or the forward spot. He’s had a very successful career playing for his dad. He’s a coach’s son with a high basketball IQ. At Bridgton he’s playing for Whit Lesure, an outstanding coach who teaches kids how to play the game the right way and how to play with great effort.”

Williams is a 6-foot-4-inch guard from Clinton, Md. He will have two years of eligibility for HPU after playing two seasons of junior college ball for strong programs at State Fair and Redlands. His teams combined to post a 50-16 record during his two years of JUCO play.

A four-year all-conference selection at Takoma Academy in Maryland, Williams was a part of two conference championship teams and was on the all-metro Washington DC watch list all four years of his career. He’s a speedy, versatile player with the athleticism and talent to step in and be successful from the start.

“Jalen is an immediate impact type player,” Cherry said. “He’s a combo guard that can really score the ball off the bounce and from 3. He’s chomping at the bit to play. He loved High Point University so much that he was willing to sit out a year so he wouldn’t lose a year of eligibility. That speaks to his character and his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the program be successful.”