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Niagara lands three basketball recruits; guard joins Bonaventure

The Niagara University men’s basketball team has accumulated three more commitments in the past week.

That brings to four the number of recruits signed by coach Chris Casey, whose program has been rocked by transfers.

Guard Romero Collier of Syracuse, guard Chris Barton of the Detroit area and junior college forward Alioune Tew, a native of France, have committed to the Purple Eagles. They join 6-foot-8 forward Dominic Robb of Pittsburgh as newcomers to Niagara.

Elsewhere in Big 4 basketball, St. Bonaventure added a guard via transfer. And former Canisius guard Zach Lewis committed to Massachusetts, according to ESPN.

Niagara made the Collier signing official on Tuesday. A 6-foot-1 point guard, Collier averaged 16.3 points and 9.9 assists in helping Henninger High to a 21-2 record and sectional title. He also was named Central New York’s Mr. Football by the Syracuse Post-Standard after quarterbacking Henninger to a sectional crown. He passed for 1,406 yards and 21 touchdowns, ran for seven TDs and returned a punt for a TD.

“Romero is as competitive as they come,” Casey said. “He was an outstanding basketball player and football player during his high school career. As he concentrates exclusively on basketball in college, he will blossom. We are excited to have him in the program.”

Niagara has seen seven players transfer out of the program this year. Five scholarship players return. Three of them were full-time starters and a fourth was a significant contributor. Now the team is up to nine scholarship players. There also were two walk-ons last season.

Barton, 6-1 and 180 pounds, missed his junior year of high school with a broken leg. He returned as a senior to help Avondale High of Auburn Hills, Mich., to a 20-4 record. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds in Avondale’s last game, a Class A regional semifinal loss.

The 6-foot-9 Tew tore ligaments in his left knee on the first day of practice for the 2014-15 season with Allan Hancock College of Santa Maria, Calif. His signing was announced by the junior college.

Niagara no doubt hopes Tew can come back as successfully as 6-8 Purple Eagles forward Dominique Reid, who missed most of his senior year due to a knee injury. Reid made the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference all-freshman team this season.

Bona added 6-1 guard Matt Mobley, who just finished his sophomore year at Central Connecticut State. Mobley, who announced his decision, must sit out a year. He gives the Bonnies more backcourt security for the 2016-17 season.

Mobley was the leading scorer for Central Connecticut this season, averaging 17.2 points and 37 minutes a game. He ranked third in scoring in the Northeast Conference and was voted the league’s most improved player.

Meanwhile, Lewis landed at an Atlantic 10 Conference school just an hour from his home in Windsor, Conn. Lewis wanted to play at a higher level. He led Canisius in scoring at 12.5 ppg. He also took the fifth-most shots in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, despite shooting only 33 percent from the field.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com