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UB adds junior college transfer with three-point ability

The University at Buffalo added a much-needed perimeter shooting threat and small forward Thursday by signing junior college transfer Willie Conner to a National Letter of Intent, the school announced.

Conner, a 6-foot-5 Chicago native, averaged 16.7 points a game this season for Odessa College, a community college in West Texas. Connor was a first-team all-conference pick. He shot 51.7 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from three-point range, hitting 53 of 124 shots from behind the arc.

“Willie is a big-time shooter and he is exactly what we need to complement our current roster,” said UB coach Nate Oats. “His ability to space the floor and make shots will really allow us to open up our offense. He’s a high-character guy that our players and coaches really enjoyed having around these past few days on his visit. We are looking forward to getting Willie back with us full time this summer.”

UB ranked 11th in the Mid-American Conference in three-point shooting percentage last season. Conner played in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference. UB assistant coach Bryan Hodgson was an aide this past season at Midland College, also a member of the conference. Swingman Maurice O’Field of Midland had given UB an oral commitment in early March but now is looking elsewhere and is scheduled to visit Arizona State this week. Conner scored 24 points to lead Odessa over Midland, 89-87, at the end of the regular season. Conner scored more than 20 points 10 times last season.

Conner played one season at Florida A&M before transferring to Odessa. He played high school basketball at Richard T. Crane High School in Chicago, where his team made it to the state semifinals. As a junior he averaged 20 points and five rebounds and as a senior he averaged 17 points, while his team made it to sectionals.

Conner is the second recruit for Oats from the WJCAC, joining 6-8 forward David Kadiri. The signing gives Oats 10 confirmed players on the roster.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com