HPU men’s basketball adds to 2016-17 recruiting class

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team has added four student-athletes to the roster to enhance its 2016-17 recruiting class.

The quartet includes a pair of transfer student-athletes as well as two incoming freshmen. Those individuals will join James Manns (Columbus, Ohio) and Jalen Williams (Clifton, Md.) in the program’s 2016-17 recruiting class.

The four spring signees include Brandon Kamga (Reston, Va./Northeastern University), Jahaad Proctor (Harrisburg, Pa./Iona), Clifford Thomas (Montgomery, Ala.) and Jamal Wright (Upper Marlboro, Md.).

“Our team is going to have a different look this season,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “We’re going to be extremely talented, but we’re going to be young in experience. I feel very good about this team, the mix of veterans and newcomers and with the team’s desire to get better. With six new guys, it’s going to take some time to get where we need to be, to create chemistry and work in the new pieces. Once we do that, I feel like we’re going to have a tremendous year. I’m excited about the opportunity to play for a fifth-straight regular season championship.”

Kamga will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming 2016-17 season due to NCAA transfer guidelines. The 6-foot-5-inch guard recently completed his freshman campaign at Northeastern University in Boston where he averaged 3.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 15 games for a Huskies team that posted an 18-15 record (9-9 CAA) in 2015-16. Kamga shot 55.6 percent from 3-point range and saw action in nine conference contests.

He excelled during a high school career at South Lakes High School under head coach Andrew Duggan where he averaged 20.6 points over his final three seasons and was a three-time all-district selection (2014 District Player of the Year).

“Brandon’s a guy we recruited for a long time,” Cherry said. “We love his toughness, his ability to score the ball and his ability to defend. A year sitting out will give him the opportunity to get stronger, faster and better. It’s great to welcome a player with Div. I experience. He’s a strong all-around guard, he’s tough and he plays with an edge.”

Proctor – who also will redshirt in 2016-17 – played a vital role on an excellent Iona team in 2015-16 that won 22 games, defeated Monmouth in the MAAC Championship game and played well against a strong Iowa State club in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 13 seed. The 6-foot-3-inch guard played in all 31 games, started five, and averaged 15.6 minutes and 5.3 points per game. He scored 10+ points in seven contests, including a career-best 20-point effort in a win over Fairfield.

Proctor averaged a school-record 24.4 points per game as a senior at Harrisburg High School – the alma mater of recent HPU grad Haiishen McIntyre – and holds the program’s career scoring mark (1,689 points). Playing for head coach Kirk Smallwood, he was a three-time all-state pick and helped the Cougars advance to the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals in 2014-15.

“Jahaad brings NCAA Tournament experience to our team and he can talk to the guys about what it takes to get there,” Cherry said. “Our staff has experienced it as players and coaches, but it’s different when it comes from a current player. He’s extremely talented and we were interested in him in high school. He has the ability to score the basketball and has great length and size at the guard position. His experience playing for such a strong program in Iona will be extremely beneficial. We are very excited to have him as part of our program over the next four years.”

Thomas (Montgomery, Ala.) is a 6-foot-8-inch, 215-pound forward and a four-year letter winner at Jefferson Davis High School under head coach Terry Posey. An all-metro honorable mention selection, Thomas was selected to play in the AHASAA North vs. South All-Star game as a senior. Thomas played his AAU ball for Montgomery Suns Elite and was ranked as the No. 19 player in Alabama by HoopSeen.com.

“Clifford has a high ceiling,” Cherry said. “He’s only played basketball for a short period of time, but he listens, is willing to work and is extremely coachable. Guys that come in without a lot of bad habits – you can mold them, teach them and help them do the things they need to do to be good. He has size, he’s not afraid to use his body, he has great hands and can score around the basket with both hands. He’s improved significantly during his short career and he has a chance to be a tremendous player.”

Wright (Upper Marlboro, Md.) recently wrapped up an excellent senior campaign under head coach Louis Wilson at Riverdale Baptist High School. The 5-foot-11-inch guard earned first team Maryland all-state honors in 2016 and was a Washington Post all-metro selection. He led his team in scoring (14.4 ppg) and ranked first among all DC/Virginia/Maryland area players in assists/game (6.6). A Capital Beltway Athletic Association First Team pick, Wright led Riverdale Baptist to a top-10 ranking in Maryland (MaxPreps.com) and a semifinal berth in the MPSC Tournament.

He transferred to Riverdale Baptist from Bullis High School in Potomac, where he was an All-Maryland honorable mention and Washington Post All-Metro honorable mention selection as a junior in 2014-15. He broke the program record for assists as a sophomore and led the Bulldogs to a IAC runner up finish in 2015 and a pair of conference titles. The Bulldogs earned the Washington Post’s No. 1 ranking in 2013-14.

“He’s the consummate point guard,” Cherry said. “We’ve been looking for a player like Jamal for a number of years. He can find open guys, create for teammates and score at all three levels. He can shoot the 3, he can make pull up jumpers and score around the basket. On the other side of the ball, he can really defend. He’s vocal, he talks and communicates, and that’s what we need at that position. Coupled with Jalen Williams, who we signed in the fall, that duo will man the point guard spot for us this season.”