By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (April 19, 2016) — Proclamations were read from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Stephenville Mayor Kenny Weldon, and star point guard Michael Hardge thanked head coach Lonn Reisman and said he was like a second father to him.
But even as Reisman handed out the NCAA Division II Elite Eight trophies – for the second straight year – and handed five seniors South Central Region 2016 Champion signs in celebration of a season now in the history books, it was easy to turn one eye to the future.
Or both eyes, even, with redshirt freshmen among those to walk in front of the crowd at City Hall Tuesday evening.
Five of the , each with four full years of eligibility ahead, certainly turned the heads of many, and with just cause. And they won’t be alone as freshmen playing for the 2016-17 Texans, as Reisman says Baltimore product Brandon Willis, a point guard, will play big minutes as a true freshman next year.
Why the excitement about the Class of 2015 and the one member – so far – of the Class of 2016 that has yet to play a single game? The Flash gives you the skinny on each of these freshmen – redshirt and incoming – below:
2015-16 Redshirts (Signing class of 2015)
Anthony Davis, 6-7 Forward, Lewisville
Rated the No. 29 prospect in the Texas class of 2015 by TexasHoops.com, Davis averaged 16 points and seven rebounds per game as a senior. A four-year letter winner and three-time 6A first-team all-district selection. Picked Tarleton over Division I Southland Conference Champ Stephen F. Austin.
Josh Hawley, 6-7 Forward, Irving MacArthur
A first-team all-state selection and 9-6A District MVP, Hawley led MacArthur to the 6A state tournament as a senior, when he averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds. Ranked No. 73 in his class statewide by TexasHoops.com.
Lance Ewell, 6-5 Guard, Brock
Led Brock to a 3A state championship with a 37-2 record. Was MVP of the state tournament and a 2015 TABC All-Star. Was voted district MVP by opposing coaches and was named Parker County MVP among other media honors. First-team all-state and all-region during his career. Ranked No. 63 prospect in his class at one time by TexasHoops.com. Four-year letterman and district newcomer of the year as a freshman. Father Law Ewell played at Dillard University and professionally overseas, while brother Tre Ewell spent a season at Tarleton before transferring to Weatherford College.
Kealon Clayborne, 6-2 Guard, Cedar Hill
The No. 90 prospect in the class, according to TexasHoops.com. Scored 18 points per game and was a 6A all-region and first-team all-district pick as a senior, when he was also named a HoopDFW Metroplex 24 High School All-Star. He helped current Tarleton teammate Da’Rhon Mitchell lead Cedar Hill to a 28-4 record and a trip to a 6A regional tournament. Also scored 16 points per game as a junior.
Da’Rhon Mitchell, 6-8 Center, Cedar Hill
A raw talent, Mitchell played just two years of basketball alongside Clayborne and company at Cedar Hill. His size and athleticism had him quickly rising up charts while helping Cedar Hill to a 28-4 mark and an appearance in the 6A regional semifinals. He was ranked No. 115 in the class by TexasHoops.com.
Ivan Tevis, 5-11 Guard, Perryton
A district champ as a junior and first-team all-district pick as a senior, Tevis was picked for the K-101 Classic Bowl and Golden Spread all-star games.
Class of 2016 (Incoming)
Brandon Willis, 5-10 Guard, Hammond High School in Baltimore, MD.
The first out-of-state high school prospect ever to sign a letter of intent with Tarleton, Willis averaged 21 points, 5 assists and 3 steals while leading Hammond to the regional finals in their playoffs in Maryland. An AAU star who transferred schools between his junior and senior seasons, Willis has been featured in both The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post. Tarleton associate head coach Chris Reisman was tipped off to the high-scoring guard by the same contact who led the Texans to past star Corin Henry. Lonn Reisman said Tuesday evening he expects Willis to be a significant contributor right away.
Before you get too carried away with the future, a look at last night’s celebration: