Size was the goal as new signees hail from California, Arizona and Nevada, including the son of legendary player Lucius Allen
With an emphasis on size, Eastern Washington University men's basketball coach Kirk Earlywine has announced the signing of three high school players to letters of intent to attend EWU and play for the Eagles next year.
The signees include 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward Jaylen Henry from Cheyenne High School in Las Vegas, Nev.; 6-9, 220-pound forward Carter Warnock from Seton Catholic High School in Chandler, Ariz.; and 6-5, 170-pound guard/forward Geoffrey (pronounced "Jahf-ree") Allen from Pacific Hills High School in Los Angeles. Allen, who played last year at Crenshaw High School in L.A., is the son of former UCLA and NBA star Lucius Allen.
In addition, Earlywine said 6-7, 200-pound forward Tremayne Johnson has re-signed and will attend EWU in January after completing his associate degree, and will also play for the Eagles next year. Johnson was recruited by San Francisco and Arizona, but originally signed with the Eagles last spring.
A 2007 graduate of Artesia High School, Johnson averaged nine points and five rebounds as a freshman at L.A. Southwest Junior College then redshirted as a sophomore. He was a junior college teammate with Eastern's Laron Griffin.
"We're excited that Tremayne stuck with us -- he could have opted out and gone somewhere else," said Earlywine. "Our fans will really enjoy watching him play. He's a high-level athlete at 6-7 and he will continue to add to our speed, quickness and athletic ability.
"We've really increased our speed and quickness on the perimeter this year, and we wanted to do that on our front line for next year," added Earlywine. "Tremayne and our new high school recruits are a big step in that direction."
Henry averaged 9.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 assists while making 52 percent of his shots from the field as a junior. He helped Cheyenne to a 22-5 record and the Class 4A Sunset Region semifinals.
He earned Nevada Class 4A Sunset Region All-Northwest League second team honors. Henry also played on the summer tournament AAU circuit with Las Vegas Dogcatchers Elite.
"He brings a presence in the post," said Earlywine. "He's about 230 pounds right now as a high school senior, but he could be a 240-pound freshman next year with athletic ability and quickness. He can really rebound the ball and affect the game in the paint.
"As I watched (Washington State's) DeAngelo Casto impact the game in the paint with his athletic ability against us (Nov. 16), that's what I think Jaylen can do," Earlywine added. "He's a quiet, humble person who is a very good student."
Warnock averaged 13.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 blocks as a junior. His father, Jay, wrestled at Eastern before the school dropped the program in 1990, and transferred to Arizona State where he received his degree.
"Carter has made unbelievable strides this past year, and we believe his best days are ahead of him," said Earlywine. "He has a pretty respectable frame for a 17-year-old. He's 220 right now, and I expect him to be in the Brandon Moore (6-9, 250), Mark Dunn (6-8, 260) mold for us in the future. He's very skilled and can shoot the ball facing the basket. He has a terrific motor and really runs and plays hard."
Allen averaged 10.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game for Crenshaw last season. He had a high game early in the year of 22 points, and helped lead his school to a 20-4 finish and a quarterfinal appearance in the City Section Division I playoffs.
"He's very long, is a good athlete and can really shoot the ball," said Earlywine. "We wanted to add one or two players in this class who are perimeter players with some size that can shoot. We really like the young guards we have, but they are all pretty small. Geoffrey fills that need."
Lucius Allen helped UCLA win three NCAA Championships in the mid-1960s, including the school's 30-0 season in 1966-67 when he averaged 15.5 points per game. He went on to play 10 years in the NBA, including his rookie season in 1969-70 with Seattle. Geoffrey Allen's mother is a doctor.
Earlywine said all three of his signees are excellent students with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher. Warnock, in fact, has a perfect 4.0 GPA.
"That's an overlying theme with this year's recruiting class," he said. "All three of them are 3.5 students or higher, they come from good families and they are high-character kids. We want student-athletes who want to get a degree and are also good basketball players, and all three of these recruits fall into those categories."
With five seniors on his 2008-09 roster, Earlywine said he still has two scholarships to fill with next spring's signing class.
"We have two scholarships left to give," he said, "and the three over-riding factors in the spring signing period are recruiting high-character players who are good students and good basketball players."