Utah State, going for immediate help, announced the signing of six basketball recruits Wednesday on national letter of intent day, all of them transfers from other schools. Combined with the two players they signed last fall, the Aggies will have eight new players next season - more than half a team.
All six of Wednesday's recruits have post-high school experience: five are junior college transfers and one a transfer from a four-year school.They are:
- Allen Gordon, a 6-foot junior guard from Chicago by way of Northwest Community College (25-7) in Powell, Wyo. His stats: 12.2 points, 3.8 assists, 3.5 steals, 55 percent from the field.
- Rich Jardine, a 6-8 junior forward from St. George who is making his third transfer. He played for one year at the University of Hawaii (and started about half the season), served an LDS Church mission, transferred to Dixie JC, which he helped to a 28-6 record last season. He averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds and shot 56 percent.
- Jeff Parris, a 6-8 junior forward from LaMirada, Calif., who helped Cerritos JC win the California JC state championship last season. Stats: 10 points, seven rebounds, 48 percent.
- Matt Barnes, a 6-1 junior guard from Salt Lake City (Olympus High) and Salt Lake Community College. He averaged 18 points, five assists and five steals a game.
- Paul Afeaki, a 6-10 junior foward-center from South San Francisco and Snow College. He earned first-team all-ICAC honors last season after averaging 20 points and nine rebounds a game.
- Jay Goodman, a 6-1 sophomore guard from Ft. Dodge Iowa who is transferring to USU after spending a year at Iowa State (he will redshirt next season). He averaged 25.6 points a game for a state championship team his senior year.
"With this group of recruits we have been able to strengthen our team and fill in with the type of players we really need," said Smith. "We have signed point guards, inside people, good shooters. We think it is a good mix of talent and a good mix of athletes from different parts of the country. We have really expanded our recruiting base with the six players."
The Aggies also signed two prep recruits last fall - Brent Lofton, a 6-foot-5 off guard from El Camino Real High School who was named L.A. City 3A Player of the Year after averaging 23.4 points a game last year; and Gary Patterson, a 6-foot-6 forward from Redmond (Washington) High who averaged 14.5 points a game last season.
The Aggies will be almost entirely new next season. They will also have redshirt Randy Funk and mission returnees Todd Bearup and Sean Lake join next year's team. The lone returnees are Kendall Youngblood, Albert Chappell, Darrel White and Chris Sheehan and Nathan Wickizer.
Elsewhere in the state, national letter of intent day was expected to be a fairly low profile event in Utah. Utah went in with a coach who has only been on the job about a week. BYU is hoping to to shore up a depleted front line.
Utah, under first-year coach Rick Majerus, was expected to sign Judge Memorial High shooting sensation Jimmy Soto. The Utes were also hoping to sign another former local prep star, Todd Crow. Crow, a Hillcrest High graduate, has been playing at Dixie College.
The Utes have also been hoping to ink a junior college player from California.
During the early signing week the Utes signed Oakley, Utah brothers Craig and Mark Rydalch and 6-11 Tim McCune, from Midfield, Ala. Craig, a 6-4 off guard, is a Dixie transfer while the 6-1 Mark, was a standout player at South Summit High. Utah also signed Tyrone Tate, a highly rated guard from Chicago.
With the graduation of Michael Smith and the mission departure of forward John Fish, the Cougars are hoping to shore up their front line quickly. New coach Roger Reid said he hopes to sign a couple of prep players and one or two JC transfers - preferably front court types.
On early signing week the Cougars got commitments from 6-9 Kirk Davidson, who averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds a game at Sparks (Nev.) High. Other signees were 6-10 John Lloyd from Dana Hills, Calif. (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Randy Reid, a 6-2 guard from Spanish Fork. Reid, the coach's son, averaged 30 points and eight assists a game.
BYU has also received a verbal commitment from Provo High's Mark Durrant, younger brother of former Cougar star Devin.
At Weber State, the Wildcats expect to sign four players, but would not release their names at press time. The Wildcats signed two players last fall: guard Michael Sivulich from Bonneville High and Kurt Schwan, a forward from Westlake, Calif. Sivulich, a 6-0 guard, will return from an LDS mission in August. Schwan, a 6-8 forward, averaged about 15 points a game at Westlake High.
SUSC Coach Neil Roberts will sign his son, Rick, a 5-101/2 guard who is coming off an LDS mission. The younger Roberts played at Dixie College and averaged 23.5 points a game in high school in St. George.
The Thunderbirds also signed College of Eastern Utah transfer William Allen, a 6-6, 210-pound junior who averaged 23.7 points and 12.8 rebounds.
SUSC signed 6-8 Tim Schirra from Scottsdale, Ariz., during November's early signing week.