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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

Catching Up:  SDSU Gets 2 Transfers,
2 NLI's & Possibly Another--(May 9, 2002)

sandiegostate.gif (2363 bytes)San Diego State is really stockpiling the talent.  First they signed Westchester shooting guard Brandon Heath; then they picked up two solid transfers in Travis Hanour and Chris Manker, former teammates from Laguna Beach who both were at different Pac-10 schools, and then Coach Fisher picked up a signed letter of intent from Benjamin Eze, a 6-10, 210-pound center from Abuja, Nigeria. They're also piling up on the walk-on talent, and will have some very good players coming in this year in addition to the scholarship guys.  And Fisher isn't done just yet, at least not if what every source, both public and private is saying is true:  Wesley Stokes, formerly of Long Beach Poly, who was at Missouri this past season, has been granted his release by the Tigers and will reportedly transfer to San Diego State.  At least that's the buzz in Las Vegas at the Nike coaches' clinic, which is being attended by just about everyone who is anyone in the world of coaching, and even a few who aren't anyone....but that's a different story.   Two days ago, Mike Sullivan, writing for the North County Times, broke the story publicly about the possible transfer of Stokes.  Here's an excerpt from the story by Mike Sullivan:   

SDSU hoops may land another big-time transfer
Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- The San Diego State men's basketball program could soon be landing another major-college transfer. 

Sources on both the West Coast and the Midwest said that Missouri guard Wesley Stokes plans to ask for his release from the Tigers this week, and SDSU will be among the leaders for his services.  Stokes apparently has his sights set on transferring to a West Coast school. He's expected to set up a visit with SDSU shortly after he's granted his release.  Stokes, a former prep All-American at Long Beach Poly, will have to sit out next season to meet NCAA transfer regulations. He'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining.  The 5-foot-10, 175-pound point guard led the Tigers in assists this past season but is said to be concerned with his future playing time after Missouri's recent signing of junior college All-American point guard Ricky Clemons.   He averaged 23.1 minutes, 5.8 points and 4.1 assists for a Missouri team that went 24-12 and advanced to the NCAA's ``Elite Eight'' before losing to Oklahoma.  

Stokes had several good games early in the campaign ---- 17 points vs. Iowa, 14 points vs. Xavier, a 12-rebound game against Alabama, and two games of 11 assists ---- while starting the season's first 15 games. He also made a buzzer-beating 18-footer to give the Tigers a two-point win over Saint Louis.  But his play took a sharp downturn and he was the brunt of criticism from the rabid Missouri fans as the Tigers suffered through a 9-9 stretch before making a late-season run.  As a freshman, Stokes averaged 6.4 points and started six games. He was selected to the Big 12 All-Freshman team.  The Aztecs recruited Stokes when he was starring for Long Beach Poly. Ironically, the Aztecs recruited Clemons this past season before the College of Southern Idaho standout selected Missouri. 

And since we're catching up on signings and the transfer news, here are the press releases, announcing the signings of Eze, and the transfers of Manker and Hanour.

San Diego State Men's Basketball Signs Two for Next Season
Aztecs add two former Pac-10 players to roster

April 16, 2002

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State men's basketball team signed two players to national letters-of-intent, coach Steve Fisher announced on Tuesday. Travis Hanour and Chris Manker have transferred to San Diego State and will be eligible to play in competition beginning this December.

Both players transferred from Division I Pac-10 programs to Irvine (Calif.) Valley College this past season, where they did not play. They will have three years of eligibility remaining.

The two signees join 6-2, 170-pound guard Brandon Heath, a senior at Westchester High, who signed during the early period.

"We are very excited to have these three players joining the Aztec family," head coach Steve Fisher said. "They definitely have major Division I talent and all three bring winning backgrounds. Travis and Chris both come from Division I programs and Brandon comes from one of the best high schools in the nation. We have added quality people and talented individuals to an emerging program."

Hanour, a 6-6, 195-pound guard, played at Arizona for one season. A native of Laguna Beach, Calif., Hanour averaged 3.2 points, 1.5 rebounds while connecting on 18-of-20 free throws in the 2000-01 season as a freshman at Arizona. That Wildcat squad finished the season 28-8 overall and 15-3 in Pac-10 play. Hanour played in 19 games, including 12 league contests for an Arizona squad that lost in the national championship game to Duke. He was projected to be a starter this past season prior to transferring.

"Travis is a wing player with the ability to score inside and outside," Fisher said. "His versatility should provide us with instant offense and he is a wonderful addition to our program."

Manker, a 6-11, 225-pound center, played at Oregon State for one season. A native of Laguna Beach, Calif., Manker averaged 1.6 points and 2.0 rebounds in the 2000-01 season as a freshman at Oregon State. Manker overcame a stress reaction in his left leg to play in 21 games and make three starts for the Beavers. He made his first career start against Wyoming and responded with nine points on the strength of three three-point field goals.

"Chris provides us with much needed size and also possesses the ability to step out and make the premiter shot," Fisher said. "He brings a level of maturity and intelligence with him and we are excited about him joining the program.

Hanour and Manker were prep teammates at Laguna Beach High after Manker moved to California from Des Moines, Iowa, between his junior and senior years. The two were instrumental in helping Laguna Beach High to a second-place finish in the state tournament as seniors.

"There is obviously a comfort level between Travis and Chris and that should not only help them in their adjustment to San Diego State, but also help our team," Fisher said. 

Hanour averaged 25.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per contest during his senior season. He earned all-state and all-county honors and was the Pacific Coast League most valuable player.

Manker averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds in his senior season en route to earning all-Pacific Coast League honors and a spot on the Orange County Register's all-star team.

Hanour and Manker bring the California contingent on the Aztecs' current roster to 12. Only two current scholarship players come from outside the Golden State and 11 of the 12 players that call California home hail from southern California.

San Diego State is coming off a 21-12 season and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 17 seasons. Fisher, who recently completed his third season with the Aztecs, guided SDSU to the 2002 Mountain West Conference Championship. San Diego State will return six letterwinners off the 2001-02 squad.

April 29, 2002

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State men's basketball team signed Samuel Eze (pronounced is-ZAY), a 6-10, 210-pound center from Abuja, Nigeria, to a national letter-of-intent on Monday. Eze, who graduated from the University of Abuja this year, will have four years of eligibility beginning with the 2002-03 season. Aztec head coach Steve Fisher was out of town and was unavailable for comment, but assistant coach Marvin Menzies said he was impressed with the signee's athletic ability.

"He has got a lot to learn, but he has a lot to work with," Menzies said. "He has a good aggressive offensive style on the blocks with impressive jumping ability and good lateral movement."

Eze becomes the fourth player to sign with San Diego State for the 2002-03 season. Brandon Heath, a 6-2, 170-pound guard from Los Angeles signed during the early period. Earlier this month, 6-6, 195-pound guard Travis Hanour and 6-11, 225-pound center Chris Manker, both of Laguna Beach, Calif., inked with the Aztecs.

San Diego State is coming off a 21-12 season and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 17 seasons. Fisher, who recently completed his third season with the Aztecs, guided SDSU to the 2002 Mountain West Conference Championship. San Diego State will return six letterwinners off the 2001-02 squad.

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