The early signing period, few graduations and Weber State's coachless situation kept activity down on Wednesday,
CollegesigningsNational Letter of Intent Day for basketball, but Utah State picked up five new players to improve rebounding, inside defense and ballhandling, and Southern Utah added three to a team that loses only one regular.
Brigham Young was hankering for a certain type of player, probably a guard, but the Cougars weren't sure Wednesday morning whether they would sign anyone in the 30-day signing period. Utah, which graduates only Walter Watts, didn't expect to sign anyone Wednesday but is courting two players from the Midwest.
Weber is still interviewing coaching candidates.
USU Coach Kohn Smith was nervous awaiting signing day, but he had his choices signed by 8:30 a.m. and said he got what he wanted. "With what we needed to do, we've been able to do all we could," he said. Smith says he got some blue chippers to fill specific needs.
Smith wanted inside help and a ballhandling guard to combat Big West Conference presses and enhance the Aggie fast break. Malloy Nesmith, a 5-foot-11 junior from Jacksonville (Texas) Junior College "is a great ballhandler," says Smith, and 6-8 junior Carlito DaSilva of Brazil and College of Southern Idaho, and 6-7 freshman Jon Wickizer of Woods Cross, brother of mission returnee Nathan, will help inside.
"I'm really pleased with Wickizer," says Smith. "He has as much potential as anyone in the state. He's still growing; it's expected he could grow to 6-10.
"Carlito," adds Smith, "is as big and strong a player as we could get. One of our problems last year was our inside defense and rebounding, and he should help us take care of those things."
Other Aggie signees are freshman forward Abie Ramirez, 6-7, of Redding, Calif., and freshman guard Robert James, of Irving, Texas. Ramirez is aggressive inside, jumps well and is a three-point shooter. James is a "guard of the future" to complement juniors Nesmith and returnee Jay Goodman.
Southern Utah's signees are 6-9 freshman Igor Budimski of Bosna (Yugoslavia), 6-1 sophomore Chris Fox from Salt Lake CC and 6-5 junior Chris Jones of Pasadena City College.
Jones, says Coach Neil Roberts, "is one of the top small forwards in the nation coming out of junior college. He has been listed that way in most of the scouting services." In the last two years, he was named to six all-tournament teams.
Budimski and Fox are projects. Fox sat out a year after knee surgery. "We see him as a good, solid player that will have three years in our program," says Roberts. Budimski "is a player who will need time to develop into the American style of basketball, but all of our reports out of Yugoslavia are positive on his ability," Roberts says. Budimski played for two 19-and-under state championship teams and Bosna in Division I.
BYU Coach Roger Reid didn't expect a signing Wednesday and might not use the scholarship he has left. Reid is happy with returning players and those recruited during the early period and doesn't feel compelled to offer a scholarship just because he has one. Reid is still bringing in players, primarily from junior colleges, probably guards, for evaluation; if one is right, they'll sign him.
The Utes have three Proposition 48 players plus CEU recruit Antoine Davison coming into their program but are still interested in 6-7 forward Silas Mills of Milwaukee of 6-2 point guard Chris Wilburn. Neither was expected to sign Wednesday.