November 2, 2017
Men's Basketball Announces 2017-18 Newcomers
Catawba College Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Rob Perron, has announced his newcomers for the 2017-18 season. Nine new players are set to join the Catawba Indians this coming season, including Tae Cannon, Larry Curry, TJ Jeffers, DJ Johnson, Henderson Lentz, Daquan Lilly, John McRae, Carter Phillips and Ben Zemonek.
Cannon comes to Catawba from Dorman High School, the reigning South Carolina 5A state champions, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. While at Dorman, Cannon averaged a double-double in scoring and rebounding. Along with being a state Champion, he was also named to the All State “North vs South” game.
“Tae played for a tremendous program in Dorman High School where they won the state championship,” said Perron. “He is a very unselfish player. Tae will only get better as he learns to use his skill and length coupled with his ability to run the floor makes him a great prospect.”
Curry is a 21-year-old Winston Salem, North Carolina, native. After spending last year at Hillsborough Community College, he comes to Catawba in his third year of eligibility. Initially, out of East Forsyth High School, Curry attended Carson Newman and took a red-shirt year. After Carson Newman, he transferred to Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida, where he averaged 10 points per game and led the team in three-point field goal percentage.
“Curry is a talented wing that has the ability to score in bunches,” stated Perron. “He has a good base of strength and athleticism. I also get the sense he is gamer when a big shot is needed.”
Jeffers, is a North Carolina native, originally hailing from Burlington and attended The Burlington School. Jeffers had a rewarding high school career at The Burlington School, who competed deep into the state playoffs every year. During his senior campaign, the Spartans were able to make it all the way and win the State Championship capping off a perfect season going 31-0.
“TJ comes to us from The Burlington School, which was the private school undefeated state champions,” commented Perron. “TJ is simply a winner. Both on and off the court. He has a very competitive spirit and makes the easy common-sense basketball play every time.”
Johnson comes to Catawba after attending Timberland High School in St. Stephen, South Carolina. While in high school, Johnson averaged an impressive 14 points per game to go along with eight rebounds a contest. He was also named a captain his senior year and plans to major in pre-veterinarian and minor in biology.
“DJ is one of those guys that just keeps getting better every time you see him,” said Perron. “He may have a chance to contribute as freshman if he rebounds well.”
Lentz comes to the Catawba Basketball program having played for local North Rowan High School last season. As a senior, he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per contest while helping the Cavaliers eclipse double-digit wins. Along with playing basketball, Lentz also plans to play baseball for Catawba in the spring.
“Henderson is one of the most positive people you will ever find,” commented Perron. “His ability to shoot that ball and rebound well for his position is a big bonus.”
Lilly, originally from Raleigh North Carolina, attended Knightdale High School before going to Olney Central College in Illinois. In his time at Olney Central, he helped the team improve their overall record while averaging 15 points and six rebounds per contest. While at Catawba, Daquan is majoring in business administration.
“Daquan is a special talent that was recruited by several Division I schools,” stated Perron. He guards the four and five positions well and will create mismatches with his ability to put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket. Unfortunately, Daquan had season-ending back surgery and will have to take a redshirt season this year.”
John McRae comes to Catawba as a freshman from nationally-ranked DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. While at Dematha, McRae averaged 11 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists as the team won 30 games. He also won the “Unsung Hero” award for the player who did the little things.
“John comes to Catawba from the prestigious Dematha program,” said Perron. “John is an athlete than can defend more than one position and his best basketball is still ahead of him.”
Phillips, a Mount Airy, North Carolina, native, attended North Surry High School where he excelled both on and off the court. He averaged 23 points per contest along with four assists and eight rebounds. He was named the Conference Player of The Year for 2016-2017 season and made all-conference on three separate occasions. Phillips did all of this while maintaining a 3.6 GPA.
“Carter is high IQ player,” stated Perron. “His team lost in the state championship, however, he is a proven winner. He will stretch the floor with ability to knock down the three and move the ball quickly.”
Zemonek, a product of Raleigh, North Carolina, transferred to Catawba after spending a year at conference foe Lenoir Rhyne. As a freshman, Zemonek averaged roughly 20 minutes per game, solid playing time as a first-year athlete. Before Lenoir Rhyne, Ben played at Leesville Road High School helping them to a state tournament appearance and a winning record his senior season.
“Ben has to sit out because of transfer rules, but already has extensive college playing experience in his one year with Lenior Rhyne,” said Perron. “Ben does a little a bit of everything and will fit in a lot of different roles because of ability to fit in with several line ups.”
Catawba is set to open the season in the SAC/PBC Challenge which is being played at UNC Pembroke. The opening game for the Indians will be against Francis Marion on Friday, November 10 at 1 p.m.
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