NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On Friday, Tennessee State men’s basketball coach Dana Ford announced the signing of six more players to add to his recruiting class. Keron Deshields, Zachary Lee, Christian Mekowulu, Marcus Roper, Rodney Simeon and Charles Tucker all signed letters of intent and will be on next year’s roster.
“We are excited to add these fine young men to our basketball program here at Tennessee State University. They all possess the abilities to perform at a high level both in the classroom and on the floor. They are the future of Big Blue basketball and we couldn’t be happier about that,” Ford said.
Keron Deshields is a guard originally from Baltimore Maryland, but played the last three seasons at the University of Montana. Deshields played a big role in the Grizzlies clawing to a 17-13 mark this past season, averaging 11.8 points per contest and leading the team with 36 steals. Deshields was Honorable Mention All-Big Sky Conference a year ago and was a part of two NCAA Tournament teams during his freshman and junior seasons. He will have to sit out 2014-15 due to transfer rules.
Ford went all the way to New Mexico to snag Zachary Lee, who suited up for Eldorado HS in Albuquerque last year. Rated as the fifth-best prospect in the state by Full Court Press, Lee proved he could defend almost anyone while playing small forward, tallying 4.2 blocks per game. The 6-foot-8 wing also averaged 11 points and eight rebounds in both of his varsity years for coach Roy Sanchez, earning him All-State honors as a senior. Lee also attended Elev8 Sports Institute.
Christian Mekowulu is a power forward from Nigeria, but played high school basketball in Marietta, Ga. for Covenant Christian Ministries Academy. At 6-foot-8, Mekowulu will provide size to TSU’s front court and his ability to crash the glass (11 rebounds per game) will fit Ford’s defense-first style. Mekowulu can also score, as he improved his average from 10 points to 12.8 per contest from his junior to senior seasons. He was the 14th best forward and 36th best overall player from Ga. according to maxpreps.com.
Marcus Roper will transfer into the Tennessee State program after playing two years at New Mexico Military Institute JUCO. Last season, he averaged 15.8 points per contest while leading the team in blocks per game (1.2). The wing also shot 39 percent from beyond the three-point line and had nine 20-plus point games. One of those games was a 33 point and 10 rebound effort against Frank Phillips College. Roper played a significant role in NMMI increasing its win total by eight games between his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
As senior at Boyd Anderson HS in Florida last season, Rodeny Simeon averaged 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while captaining a team that went 25-6 including a 7-1 district mark. Simeon also led his team to a Final Four appearance in the 7A State Playoffs and No. 15 ranking in Fla.
Charles Tucker is a point guard from Lansing, Mich. that was rated a two-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals. He was selected to the 2011-12 USA Men's Developmental National Team comprised of the nation's top under-16 talents. As a junior at Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md., Tucker was selected to maxpreps.com’s 2013 Honor Roll after leading his team to a 19-5 record. Tucker played last season at ABCD Prep, a postgraduate school in Urbandale, Iowa.
The six signed on Friday plus previously inked Darreon Reddick, Xavier Richards and Christian Crockett give TSU nine incoming players for next season.