A year ago, Tim Miles and the CSU Rams basketball team saw an exodus of players after he took over as head coach, setting the course for a difficult 7-25 season.
This year, the script has been flipped, as Miles announced Tuesday the signing of three junior college players, Travis Franklin, Harvey Perry Jr. and Bocar Ba.
The three new recruits will join guard Jesse Carr, who committed in the fall, and transfers Dan Vandervieren and Andy Odige, who were forced to sit out last season, as much needed faces on a Rams team that was undermanned and undersized for much of last season.
“I just think that we will look like a completely different team next season. We are adding six quality players that will allow us to compete in the Mountain West Conference,” Miles said. “These guys will allow us to not give such heavy minutes to a few guys and will allow players to move back to positions they are more comfortable with.”
Ba and Perry will both enter CSU as juniors, and they come to the Rams from the College of Southern Idaho, the winningest junior college in the National Junior College Athletic Association, where they went 30-2 last season.
CSI coach Barrett Perry said the two will expect to continue their winning ways, while also stating that, “they’re both good kids and the community there will like them.”
Ba, originally from Dakar, Senegal, averaged 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, including 3.5 offensive rebounds per game.
“Bocar Ba is a young guy with a very good nose for the ball who is a talented rebounder. He is very physical, and at 6-9 he can play the four (power forward) or the five (center),” Miles said.
Perry, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, was a highly ranked recruit in many publications coming out of high school and originally signed to play at the University of Washington, before transferring midway through his freshman year to CSI.
“Perry was one of the top-80 players coming out of high school and he was recruited by teams from the Pac-10 and other high level schools,” Miles said. “He is athletic and able to score, but he is also an extraordinary defender with a great knack for finding the ball.”
Fanklin, a 6-foot-7 slasher from Baton Rouge, La., redshirted last season at Colby Community College in Kansas after playing his freshman season at Shelton State Community College (Ala.).
“Travis (Franklin) comes to us as a sophomore, which will be nice for development, and he is an athletic, tough player who is good at driving the ball to the hoop and will be a solid rebounder,” Miles said.
Perry stated that CSU assistant coach DeMarlo Slocum, a former coach at Idaho University, was very important in his recruiting, but he was also impressed with Miles and the town of Fort Collins following a weekend visit.
“I am excited to be at CSU, especially with Bocar,” Perry said. “First impressions are everything, and the fact that Miles, as a head coach, came to recruit me was important. Also, I liked Fort Collins, especially the support from the community. It is a nice place, not too big of a city and too little of a town.”
Sports writer Matthew Pucak can be reached at email@example.com.