GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro men’s basketball coach Mike Dement received all three expected commitments on Monday, the opening day of the National Letter of Intent program’s early signing period.
The Spartans received signed commitments from one junior college and two high school prospects. Brunswick Community College guard Montel Smith, Washington County (GA) HS forward Elhanan Bone and Harding (OH) HS forward Damian Eargle.
“These are three key recruits for us as we lose three talented seniors in Kyle Hines, Kevin Oleksiak and Dwayne Johnson,” said Dement. “Montel will give us added experience at the point guard position. He pushes the ball well and distributes it nicely to the shooters. Both Damian and Elhanan run the floor very well and will have the chance to be very explosive. We look forward to them joining us in the future.”
Eargle is the most highly-touted of the three recruits. A 6-7, 195 lbs. forward, he is rated a three-star recruit by several services, including Rivals.com and Scout.com. Described as a player who runs the floor extremely well and scores a lot in transition, Eargle is rated in the Top 150 players nationally by some of the same services.
He averaged 14.3 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game and 2.3 blocks per game last year at Warren G. Harding HS in Warren, OH. He earned AP all-state honorable mention and Hoop Scoop second-team all-state honors. His team went 17-7 on the season, falling in the district semifinals to Canton’s GlenOak HS. However, in that loss, Eargle had 18 points and 12 rebounds going up against 7-footer Kosta Koufos, who is now at Ohio State.
“I am very proud of Damian as a person, first and foremost,” said Eargle’s coach Steve Arnold. “From where he came from when he arrived at Harding and how he has come along; how he has matured in the classroom and on the court has been tremendous.
“As a basketball player, Damian has worked very hard on his game in this past off-season, including his ball-handling and perimeter skills. His strength right now is in the post because he is so long, but we are letting him do more on the perimeter. Damian has been dedicating himself to the weight room. That should be a tremendous help to us this year and at the next level, which we are happy to say will be at UNCG.”
Smith, a native of Greenville, NC, is in his second year at Brunswick CC. The 5-10, 182 lbs. point guard will come to UNCG with two seasons of eligibility remaining. Last year, Smith averaged 9.3 points and 4.2 assists as a part-time starter on a squad that finished 20-9 and second in the Carolinas Junior College Conference. This season, he is the starter, regarded as the team’s best defender, and the team is off to a 3-0 start. He played his high school ball at Greenville’s South Central HS.
“He is a great fit for their program and will be a strong leader for Coach Dement,” said Brunswick coach Walter Shaw. “His intensity is his greatest asset and he can score the ball from the point guard position. He’s a fiery player.”
Bone, a native of Sandersville, GA, is a low-post player. At 6-8 and 220 lbs., he is a big body down low for Coach Carlos Hope. As a junior, Bone averaged 8.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per contest. This will be his third season as a starter for Washington County, having put on 20 pounds this past summer.
“Elhanan is a hard worker and a team leader,” said Hope. “Today was a big step for our program with him signing his letter with UNCG this morning. We are very excited about his future and about our upcoming season.”
Coming off their win at Georgia Tech on Friday night, the Spartans (1-0) return to action this weekend at the Missouri State Price Cutter Classic in Springfield, MO. UNCG will face UT-Pan American on Friday evening at 6:35 pm ET and tourney host Missouri State at 9:05 pm ET on Saturday.
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