North Carolina Central men’s basketball coach LeVelle Moton lost seven seniors to graduation from last season’s MEAC regular-season and tournament championship team.
He replaced those seven, and even got a plus-one, in his 2017-18 recruiting class. On Wednesday, the Eagles announced a recruiting class of eight student-athletes who will join the team for the upcoming season.
Jibri Blount (Cleveland State), Zacarry Douglas (Cal State-Northridge), Reggie Gardner (Loomis Chaffee), Brandon Goldsmith (Walters State), Alston Jones (Daytona State), Larry McKnight (Palm Beach State), Jordan Perkins (Greensboro Day) and Dominique Reid (Polk State) will all venture to Durham in hopes to lead N.C. Central to another NCAA tournament. Blount will have to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Perkins and Gardner are the only two freshmen in the group.
“We feel as if we’ve filled our vacancies with a great group of student-athletes that can hopefully contribute from day one,” Moton said. “Not only are they great basketball players, but better people. We feel like this recruiting class will continue to add value to our program as we attempt to sustain the standards that were established by the great student-athletes before them.”
Gardner hails from famed DeMatha High School in Maryland, by way of Loomis Chaffee prep school in Connecticut. Perkins is an in-state commit, who led Greensboro Day School to the NCISAA 3A State Championship. The 6-2 point guard is a “natural-born winner” according to Moton.
The 6-8 Reid comes to Durham after playing one season at Polk State Junior College in Florida, where he played in 25 games and averaged 14.4 points per game and 8.2 rebounds. He pulled down nine double-doubles. Reid began his college career in Division I at Niagara, where he averaged 9.8 points and was named to the 2014-15 Metro Atlantic Athltetic Conference all-freshman team before leaving school.
“Dominique is an experienced post player that not only competed at a high level, but was really successful while at Niagara,” Moton said. “He provides length and depth to our front line.”
Goldsmith is another local kid, hailing from Raleigh where he played his prep basketball at Millbrook High School. After graduating from Millbrook, Goldsmith spent two seasons at Walters State, averaging 14 points, five rebounds and three assists per game from his guard position. At 6-4, he expected to fill a void on the perimeter.
“Brandon is a Raleigh kid that shoots it well and slashes to the bucket,” Moton said. “He has won at a high level in high school and his length and ability to score will fill a much needed void from last year’s perimeter play.”
Douglas brings Division I experience and size (6-8) to the N.C. Central program, which will be needed to replace Del’Vin Dickerson, Kyle Benton and Will Ransom. Douglas played two seasons at Cal State-Northridge, appearing in 24 games, averaging 5.1 points.
Alston Jones comes into the program with 44 starts under his belt at his previous stop, averaging 14.1 points per game for Daytona State College. McKnight was another double-digit scorer at his last stop, Palm Beach State, averaging 13.3 points in 21 starts. Last season he scored a season-high 29 points in its season opener.