NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Tuesday, Tennessee State men’s basketball coach Dana Ford announced the addition of eight student-athletes who will join the team this upcoming season.
“This class makes our team bigger, stronger and faster, which are things that will improve our ability to score,” Ford said. “They are all very grounded and hard-working players that come from places that value basketball.
Thomas Davis (Lighthouse Christian HS/Antioch, Tenn.), Jalen Duke (Martin Luther King HS/Nashville, Tenn.), Neville Fincher (Navarro College/Teaneck, NJ), Wayne Martin (Navarro College/Brooklyn, NY), Samson Oyediran (Ancilla College/London, England), Jordan Reed (Binghamton/Philadelphia, Pa.), Khalil Spencer (Ridgeway HS/Memphis, Tenn.) and Johnny Woodard (North Dakota State College of Science/Duluth, MN) all signed and will be eligible to play in 2015-16.
“Last year we were one of the youngest teams in the country, and I felt that two of our best players were freshmen. This gives us a great foundation to build on, and this class has added experience as well as a little more youth,” Ford added.
Davis played high school ball at nearby Lighthouse Christian in Antioch, where he led his team to a national championship in 2015 by winning the National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) Tournament. “Tripp” was also named to the All-Midstate Second Team by The Tennessean as a senior. Davis scored over 2,000 points in his career at Lighthouse Christian, the first to accomplish that in school history, and is the son of TSU Professor Thomas L. Davis.
Duke was also his team’s all-time leading scorer after graduating from Martin Luther King HS. The 6-5 guard amassed over 1,600 points in his time at MLK and was named the District 10AA Player of the Year as a senior. He went on to lead his team to a fourth place finish in the District championships. MLK students have a history of coming to TSU, as Gerald Robinson signed with the Tigers in 2007.
Fincher spent the last two seasons at Navarro College in Texas, but was highly recruited coming out of prep school in 2013. Fincher averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds at Hargrave Military Academy as a senior. The 220-pounder was recruited heavily by Marshall, Seton Hall, Western Kentucky, Towson and Houston before committing with Kansas State University. At 6-10, Fincher should provide a significant post presence for TSU.
Martin was a teammate of Fincher at Navarro College before also committing to TSU. Martin played in 27 contests for the Bulldogs, averaging 15.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while leading them to a 22-8 record. The Brooklyn, NY native. spent 2013-14 with Saint Francis College, where he poured in an average of seven points in 16.9 minutes per game.
Oyediran, a 6-7 small forward from London, England signed with the Tigers after sitting out a season at Ancilla College in Indiana. Prior to attending the JUCO, Oyedrian starred at the Preston College basketball academy overseas. He is rated as a two-star prospect by verbalcommits.com.
Reed, a 6-4 two-time all-conference selection at Binghamton University, was the program's leading scorer and rebounder in each of his first two seasons. Last year, he led the American East Conference in rebounding (8.9 rpg) for the second straight season. He also came one point away in the regular-season finale of becoming the first freshman ever to lead the conference in scoring and rebounding during the 2012-13 season.
Spencer comes to TSU after leading Ridgeway HS to an 18-11 record in 2014-15 and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Region 8-AAA tournament. Spencer also played at Mitchell HS in Memphis and Booker T. Washington HS. The combo guard averaged 20 points per contest at Booker as a freshman and helped lead his team to a berth in the Class A State Tournament.
Woodard, a 6-4 wing, had spent the past two seasons at North Dakota State College of Science, where he averaged 19.6 points per game as a freshman and 22.2 in 2014-15. Woodard also helped lead the Wildcats to a 55-11 record during his two seasons. He was a Minnesota Mr. Basketball finalist as a senior at Duluth East HS after leading his team to the Class AAAA State Tournament.
The eight players join Armani Chaney, who previously signed his letter of intent, to round out TSU’s 2015-16 recruiting class.