Niagara University has added a high-scoring shooting guard from Division II and a much-needed junior college power forward.
The two recruits announced their commitments to Niagara on Wednesday. Their signings are expected to become official once all their paperwork has been approved.
The power forward is 6-foot-7 Maurice Taylor Jr., who played last season at Western Texas Junior College. he's a native of Cambridge, Mass., and he started his basketball career at North Carolina A&T two years ago. Taylor will be eligible right away.
The shooting guard is 6-4 Kevin Larkin, who led all Division II freshmen in scoring last season at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. He averaged 17.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was named Eastern College Athletic Conference Division II freshman of the year. He will have to sit out a year.
The signings, once made official, will bring to six the recruits added by coach Chris Casey this month and to 11 the scholarship players on the roster.
Meanwhile, Niagara confirmed the signing of 6-9 forward Alioune Tew, a junior college recruit from France by way of Allen Hancock College of California. He missed all of last season after tearing knee ligaments in October.
"Ali adds size and athletic ability to our front court,” Casey said. "At 6-foot-9, he can be a presence around the basket both on defense and offense. He has great upside and we look forward to coaching him.”
Niagara needs some experience on its roster and it needs a player who will defend, rebound and do some dirty work on the frontcourt. That's where Taylor could help. He averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds a game, Silver said.
"I bet he had about 10 schools, teams in the Missouri Valley, the Southland, the Sun Belt, the Big Sky conferences – he had so many people inquiring about him, wanting video, wanting his transcripts," said Western Texas coach Larren Silver. "But nothing really shook out until he got the opportunity at Niagara, and I think it’s going to be a golden opportunity for them."
"He’s a very mature kid and has a really strong work ethic," Silver said. "He has a real good influence on his teammates. . . . You can yell at him and he’ll get after it. We were at Midland College and I yelled at him, ‘You’ve got to draw a charge out there.’ And two of the next three possessions, he drew two huge charges. He’ll do what you ask, which is a great thing. He plays hard and he’s consistent."