NSU announces men’s basketball signing class

Byron Beers | Daily Press

Northeastern State men's basketball head coach Ja Havens has finalized his 2020 signing class.

Northeastern State men’s basketball head coach Ja Havens has completed his 2020 signing class.

Joining Tahlequah’s Jaxon Jones, who signed under former head coach Mark Downey in February, are Obi Agu, Dillon Bailey, Christian Cook, Cale Eaton, Kavion Hancock, Rashad Perkins, Jack Rusch, Trey Sampson and Caleb Williams.

“We are excited to announce this recruiting class, and I want to recognize and thank Coach Lucas Hunter and Coach Brett Cannon for their outstanding effort in identifying and working diligently to sign this new group of RiverHawks,” Havens said. “We feel that we have addressed our roster needs while adding great young men that will help us build a winning culture.”

The RiverHawks, who went 18-11 overall and 11-8 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in Downey’s final year, have a lot of experience to replace in 2020-21.

Gone are standout guards and All-MIAA selections Caleb Smith and Kendrick Thompson, as well as All-MIAA forward Josh Ihek. NSU must also replace guard Bradley George and forwards Iain McLaughlin and Aaron Givens. Smith and Thompson both averaged 16.1 points and accounted for 141 3-pointers.

The RiverHawks return guards Troy Locke, Brad Davis, Payton Guiot and DeVonta Prince, and forwards Daniel Dotson and Blake Hall.

Agu, Rusch and Sampson are forwards, while Jones, Bailey, Cook, Eaton, Hancock, Perkins and Williams are guards.

Jones broke the 1,000-point barrier and went on to become Metro Lakes Conference Most Valuable Player in his senior season at Tahlequah. He finished with 1,394 points and averaged 19 points per game in his final year. Jones had five games of 30 or more points, including a career-high 38 on Jan. 25 against Tulsa Edison.

Havens was named head coach on May 19 after Downey left to become head coach at Arkansas Tech after three seasons at NSU.

Havens, who played at NSU during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons under head coaches Ken Hayes and Larry Gipson and then was a graduate assistant from 1999-2001 under Gipson, won 131 games in seven seasons as head coach at East Central University.

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