BUFFALO, NY – Head men's basketball coach Nate Oats has announced the addition of three players for the 2017-18 season with the beginning of the NLI early signing period on Wednesday. Joining the Bulls is an impressive class that features Jayvon Graves, Jeremy Harris, and James Reese.
"We have four seniors this year and we are a little thin in the guard spot so our biggest thoughts were that we really needed to replace some of those guys like Blake and Willie at the wings," said Oats. "In this class we got a guard that can do just about everything, we got an elite shooter who is also an elite athlete, and then we got a guy who can play multiple positons whether it be at the wing or in the front court. Overall, I am ecstatic about this class and I think Coach Hodgson has done an unbelieve job with the recruiting and we have set ourselves up for this program to continue to be very successful in the future."
Graves is a 6-3 point guard out of Akron, OH who plays his high school ball for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, the same high school as LeBron James. Graves helped STVM to a 26-4 record last season that ended with a loss to New Concord John Glenn in the Division II state championship. Graves' postseason honors included a second-team All-Ohio nod from The Associated Press and All-Northeast Inland District First Team honors after he averaged 17.0 points per game. OHHoops.org has Graves listed as the best point guard in the state of Ohio and the seventh best player overall in the state.
Graves also played on LeBron's AAU squad the King James' Shooting Stars, where he averaged 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
"Jayvon fits our style of play perfectly," said Oats. "He is a versatile guard that can play multiple positions. He is athletic, he can score it really well, but also handles it and passes really well too so I see him playing some point guard and some two guard and I think he can be a contributor right out of the gate when he gets here."
Harris is a 6-7 wing player, who was ranked as the eighth best player in the state of North Carolina before heading to Gulf Coast State College. While playing for Gulf Coast State last season, he averaged 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting just under 50% from the floor. On top of those stats, Harris also had seven 20-point games last year. Harris is one of 15 Junior College players nationally listed as a high major talent by JUCORecruiting.com and he is only one of two players listed at his position with that distinction.
Harris, who averaged 15.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game at Page High School in Greensboro, NC, played one season at Fishburne Military School before heading to Gulf Coast State College.
"We knew one of our big needs for next year was to replace Blake and we saw Jeremy as that guy," said Oats. "He is a long, athletic, skilled player that can play multiple positions and I think he can play the two, three, or four in this league. He shoots it well and he really understands how to play the game. When I saw him over the summer, I really loved the way he passed it for such a big-time scorer, and most importantly, I think he fits our style of play really well because he likes to get up and down the floor."
Reese is a 6-4 shooting guard out of Columbia, SC, who plays his high school ball at A.C. Flora and played AAU for the SC Kings. Big Shots South Carolina has Reese listed as the eighth best player in the state. Reese is coming off a junior season where he led A.C. Flora to a 3A State Championship, scoring 17 points in a 60-50 win over Midland Valley. The Falcons went 26-2 last season and were the top ranked program in the state according to Maxpreps.com.
Reese played in the Adidas Gauntlet tournament over the summer in Spartanburg, SC where he averaged 10.3 points per game.
"James is an elite shooter and a great athlete and we needed to get some shooting in this class," said Oats. "I love the way he works and he is a gym rat. I think he is going to add value to this team right away as a shooter and his athleticism is off the charts so I think he can also be an elite-level defender."