Dukes Add Front Court Depth with Signing Class

By: Damon Dillman Email
By: Damon Dillman Email

Denzel Bowles is gone, and Rayshawn Goins only has one season of eligibility left.

That's why adding front court depth was the primary focus for the James Madison men's basketball staff for the team's incoming recruiting class.

And coach Matt Brady thinks the Dukes accomplished that goal with the additions of six-foot-ten-inch forward Keynan Pittman of Burgaw, North Carolina and six-foot-eight-inch forward Enoch Hood of Norfolk.

"We added depth, athletic ability, size and length," Brady said Tuesday. "I think we've gotten guys who are going to be, these two guys in Enoch Hood and Keynan Pittman, two guys that are similar to the guys who've had a lot of success in this league. They can play multiple positions on the court. They can run. They can rebound."

Brady announced the signings of Pittman and Arman Marks, a six-foot-four-inch left-handed shooting guard from Louisville, Kentucky Tuesday. Hood had already signed with JMU last December.

"I think each of these guys is a unique player," Brady said. "And they've each had really good senior years academically, which is also something we're excited about here at JMU."

Pittman was named all-district, all-conference, and all-area as a senior, after averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds and leading Pender High School to a state runner-up finish.

Marks averaged nine points and five rebounds, with a team-high 51 three-pointers, as part of an Eastern High School team that reached the state semi-finals.

But Brady said he was equally excited about what the team's new recruits bring away from the court.

"They're eager to be here. They understand the rigors of going to school here at JMU. They accept it. They're seemingly very willing to do what it takes to be successful, on and off the court," he said. "These three guys represent to us a class that knows what they need to do, and are very eager to get here and get started."

The Dukes return four starters from last season, Goins and Julius Wells at forward, and guards Devon Moore and Humpty Hitchens. Forward Andrey Semenov and guard Chad Jackson, who both averaged double-digit minutes off the bench, will also be back.

But Brady said the three newcomers will get the opportunity to compete for minutes right away.

"With each of these guys, I think that physical development is something that's key for each of them. They need to get bigger and stronger in the weight room," he said. "And then they've just got to adjust to the college game.

"I think they're each capable of stepping in and playing minutes immediately as freshmen. But the way things have gone for us, you never know," Brady added, referring to the various injuries he's dealt with in his three seasons at JMU. "Certainly the opportunity for them to be in the rotation is wide open."

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