With basketball talent abundant and available, three local men’s college programs have all but put the finishing touches on their 2012 recruiting classes in hopes of making playoff runs next season.
The University of Puget Sound, which fell one step short of advancing to the NCAA Division III tournament as the Northwest Conference tournament runner-up, loaded up on guards to fill the void of losing five seniors.
Loggers coach Justin Lunt said he nabbed six recruits with versatility to play both guard spots as well as create offense. Two of them are local products – North Thurston High’s Matt Reid and Erin Barber, a Puyallup High graduate who is transferring from Azusa Pacific.
Eric Rauch, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Damascus Christian High in Oregon, is the outside presence the Loggers need.
“I am overall happy with our recruiting class,” Lunt said. “I love our toughness and athleticism, which will fit right in with our returners.”
Pacific Lutheran went right to the final day of the regular season before losing the last NWC tournament spot to Lewis & Clark.
Graduating is all-NWC point guard James Conti, but Lutes coach Steve Dickerson concentrated on beefing up his frontline – and took 6--6 Bryce Miller, out of Fife High, and 6-7 Seth Anderson, a versatile forward out of Post Falls, Idaho.
Shane Jacob, a slashing guard out of Seabury Hall in Hawaii, is also an all-state volleyball player.
“We have been trying to get longer and more athletic for the last couple of years,” Dickerson said. “We are pleased what we have gotten. These (recruits) are self-starters.”
Tacoma Community College, coming off its second NWAACC men’s title under coach Carl Howell, loses three key pieces from that team – forwards Mark McLaughlin (transferring to Washington) and Nate Walker (Central Washington) and point guard Dominic Williams (CWU).
Howell is bringing in a haul of local talent, including SPSL South player of the year Darius Johnson-Wilson from Curtis High, Lakes High standout Nate Guy and all-Narrows 3A point guard Phoenix Waters of Wilson.
Two other Narrows League products – forward David Smith (Lincoln, Lower Columbia CC) and Jibreel Stevens (Wilson, Grays Harbor CC) – are transferring in.
And if Demarquise “Que” Johnson (Phoenix’s Westwind Prep) ends up being a non-qualifier at Washington State, he could end up at TCC. Johnson is close friends with McLaughlin, and worked out with him over the winter.
“We really like our class,” Howell said. “We added great size and athleticism up front, and great quickness and shooting ability on the perimeter.”
Pierce College won its first NWAACC baseball championship with a 10-8 victory over Mount Hood at David Storey Field in Longview on Monday. It wasn’t easy. The Saints scored six runs in the seventh inning and had the tying runs on base before hitting into a double play to end the game. Jacob Phillips was credited with the win for the Raiders. … R-Jay Barsh, a Puyallup High product who spent four seasons as a TCC men’s basketball assistant, was hired as head coach at Southeastern University, an NAIA Division II school in Lakeland, Fla.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 email@example.com @ManyHatsMilles