Editor’s note: This is the first in a seven-part series from The Flash Today covering the 11 members of the 2017 men’s basketball recruiting class at Tarleton State. Today, we introduce the class, Wednesday through Saturday we take a closer look at each of the four college transfers and next Monday and Tuesday the series concludes with more on the seven recent high school signees.
By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (June 20, 2017) — Tarleton State has signed an 11-man recruiting class with four transfers and seven incoming freshmen, and entering his 30th year as head coach, Lonn Reisman is convinced it’s the best class of his career.
The Texans have reached the NCAA Division II playoffs 14 times in 16 years, including four regional titles for Elite Eight berths and a pair of national semifinal appearances. Reisman has guided the program through all that and more in 29 seasons, dating back to the non-scholarship days of NAIA Division II. With 635 wins at Tarleton, he is the winningest current college coach in Texas regardless of association or division.
“I don’t believe we’ve ever signed a class like this at Tarleton, especially with this caliber of student-athletes,” said Lonn Reisman, one of only six active Division II coaches to reach 600 wins. “We have outstanding freshmen coming in, good enough that I think it’s the best freshman class we’ve ever had. Then we have four transfers, who along with some of the good players we have returning will take this team to another level. We have something special brewing here at Tarleton, for this next year and for years down the road.”
The class is the largest on record at Tarleton, and with so many new faces, there are pieces to the puzzle from every position joining a program that has been ranked No. 1 in Division II four times and in the top five nine times by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Among the transfers are two coming straight from Division I and a third who originally signed a letter of intent to play in Division I before following the often-traveled junior college route Tarleton.
Jaraan Lands, a 6-7 junior power forward coming from the Uniersity of Albany, averaged 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds last season after scoring 16.1 and collecting 8.6 boards as a juco sophomore at Eastern Arizona College.
The other Division I transfer, Jesse Hill, is a 6-8 power forward who scored 4.8 points while averaging 18 minutes over 30 games played as a freshman at mid-major Florida Atlantic. Hill, who boasts better than a 3.9 grade point average and is a Presidential Scholar, played in just four games due to injury his sophomore season, and efforts are underway to write that off as a medical redshirt. If the redshirt is granted, Hill will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Corinthian Ramsey came out of Summit High School in Mansfield as a Rivals 3-star recruit in 2015 and signed with Louisiana mid-major Nichols State. He ultimately took the junior college route, scoring 22 points per game as a freshman and 14 as a sophomore at Angelina College in Lufkin. A bit diminutive at 5-10, 160, Ramsey still managed to be ranked among the top 100 prospects nationally by Mullens Sports Enterprises, a JUCO scouting service.
Tarleton associate head coach Chris Reisman says Brandon Johnson of Bossier-Parrish Commnunity College is one of the best JUCO players he has seen in recent years. A big guard at 6-4, Johnson comes to Tarleton after just one season at the Louisiana JUCO, where he averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 rebounds. Mullens had him tabbed as a mid-major guard.
“We got to him early and we’re glad to have him for three years, not just two,” said Chris Reisman, who has been part of 395 wins in 17 total years as assistant and associate head coach under his father. “He’s an explosive athlete who brings a lot of energy to the court and can really break down a defense.”
The transfers will be expected to bring immediate help to seven holdovers the 2016-17 Texans, who placed second in the Lone Star Conference and earned an at-large bid to the South Central Region Championship.
Some of the seven high school signees may also help immediately, say both Reismans, and recruiting rankings and services appear to agree.
“We signed four of the top 75 high school players in the state (as rated by TexasHoops.com) and we really feel like we got six of the top 100,” said Chris Reisman. “Preston Enloe out of Hebron had several Division I offers. A lot of coaches at that level have been asking how we got him and how we got Clashon Gaffney from Clarksville because he’s another Three Star Rivals recruit.”
Tarleton followers will see the list includes some familiar hometowns where the Reismans and assistant coaches Coleman Furst, Chris “TD” Harrell, and former Tarleton assistant and new 6A Conroe Oak Ridge High School boys head coach Marlin Cloudy, all former players under Lonn Reisman, have found good players before.
Places like Duncanville, where 2015 Dark Horse Dunker, Harlem Globetrotter and Dunk Kings reality show contestant Davene Carter was discovered. This time it was a guard Tarleton pulled from that same Dallas suburb in Dexter Johnson. Point guard Ryan Birt just graduated from Plano West, whose crosstown rival, Plano East, recently boasted three alumni playing together at Tarleton.
There are four incoming freshmen – No. 49 Enloe, No. 72 Sam Marshall, No. 74 Devyn Brewton and No. 75 Gaffney – ranked by TexasHoops.com among the top 75 prep prospects statewide, and a fifth ranked as high as No. 120 in Johnson.
Of the seven high school players, there are two guard/forward combo types, two shooting guards, a point guard, a small forward and a power forward. The transfers are two power forwards, a point guard and a shooting guard. Tarleton does not list players as centers, traditionally filling its two post spots with power forwards.
“I mean it when I say special things are brewing here, and that doesn’t happen by accident. You don’t find this many exceptional student-athletes and high quality young men by mistake,” said Lonn Reisman. “Our coaching staff, all of them, have traveled and worked many long hours to find talented athletes who understand the responsibilities of being good students, contributing members of our community and good ambassadors of this university. I believe this class will take pride those things as much as they take pride in carrying our basketball program to another level.”
Below is a list of the new Texans. To view players returning from 2016-17, CLICK HERE.
Jaraan Lands (University of Albany — NCAA Division I)
Junior | Power Forward | 6-7, 245
2016-17 at Albany – 5.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg
2015-16 at Eastern Arizona JC – 16.1 ppt, 8.6 rpg)
Jesse Hill (Florida Atlantic University — NCAA Division I)
Junior | Power Forward | 6-8, 225
2016-17 at FAU – only 4 games played due to injury (will apply for redshirt)
2015-16 at FAU – 30 gp, 18 mpg, 4.8 ppg
Corinthian Ramsey (Angelina College (JUCO); Ex-Nichols State signee) (Rivals 3-star; Mullens JUCO Top 100)
Junior | Point guard | 5-10, 160
2016-17 at Angelina JC – 14 ppg, 65 3FG made
2015-16 at Angelina JC – 22 ppg, 94 3FG made
Brandon Johnson (Bossier-Parrish JC) (Rated as mid-major guard by Mullens)
Sophomore | Shooting Guard | 6-4, 190
2016-17 at Bossier-Parish – 15.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg
High School Signees:
Clashon Gaffney (Clarksville High School) (Rivals 3-star; TexasHoops.com #75)
Freshman | Power Forward | 6-7, 210
2016-17 at Clarksville – 19.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg
Preston Enloe (Lewisville Hebron High School) (TexasHoops.com #49)
Freshman | Shooting Guard | 6-3, 185
2016-17 at Hebron – 16.0 ppt, 2.4 3FG made/game
Devyn Brewton (Killeen Shoemaker) (TexasHoops.com #74)
Freshman | Guard/Forward | 6-6, 190
Sam Marshall (Coppell) (Texas Hoops.com #72)
Freshman | Guard/Forward | 6-6, 220
Dexter Johnson (Duncanville) (TexasHoops.com #120)
Freshman | Shooting Guard | 6-2, 170
2016-17 at Duncanville – 13.2 ppg
Ryan Birt (Plano West) (TexasHoops.com #97)
Freshman | Point Guard | 6-2, 155
2016-17 at Plano West – 14.5 ppg
Jalin Brown (Denton)
Freshman | Forward | 6-5, 200
2016-17 at Denton – 11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg