NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team bolstered its frontcourt with the addition of a pair of signees on Friday, Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year Dana Ford announced. Forwards Ken’Darrius Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala.) and Xavier Williams (Birmingham, Ala.) signed financial aid agreements with TSU and will be juniors for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
“Today is a great day for our TSU basketball program,” Ford said. “It has been our focus and our top recruiting priority to try to sign more inside presence and rim protectors to go along with our returning players.”
Hamilton will make his way to Nashville from Meridian Community College in Mississippi, where he played under Head Coach Cedric Drake. The 6’9, 270 pound post averaged 16.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in 2015-16 as a sophomore. The Montgomery, Ala. native delivered 11 double-doubles and a total of 14 games with 10 or more points on the year. Hamilton’s top two scoring outputs of the 2015-16 season came in Meridian’s two meetings with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, when he posted 33 points in the first game and 31 in the second.
As a freshman, Hamilton put up 9.5 points and 5.3 boards per game at Meridian with two double-doubles. Prior to enrolling at Meridian, he played at Lee High School.
Williams, who is a 6’9, 220 pound forward, spent the 2015-16 season at Holmes Community College in Goodman, Miss. under the direction of Head Coach Jason Flanigan. Averaging 7.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, Williams went for double-digit points nine times and had double-digit rebounds twice. In the MACJC State Tournament versus Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, the forward from Birmingham, Ala. secured a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.
Williams played at the NCAA Division I level for Alabama A&M during his freshman season for Head Coach Willie Hayes. Williams posted 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, recording five points and six rebounds against eventual Mountain West Champion New Mexico in his first game.
He played high school basketball at Central Park Christian where he averaged nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks per game as a senior.
“With the addition of X and Ken’Darrius and with what we have coming back, I think this puts us in a great position to be a much improved team next year,” Ford continued. “We are still actively recruiting a few more players, but this could not have turned out any better for us with the two that we’ve signed.”
The Tigers are coming off one of their best seasons in the last 30 years, tying the program’s Division I record with 20 wins. TSU earned a berth to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament and completed one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history, going from 5-26 in 2014-15 to 20-11 this season.