The College of Charleston men's basketball team inked three Class of 2014 prospects in the early signing period, as announced by second-year head coach Doug Wojcik on Wednesday.
The Cougars will welcome 6-foot-6, 195-pound forward Evan Bailey out of Jackson High School in Massillon, Ohio, 6-foot-7, 190-pound power forward Donovan Gilmore out of Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, N.C., and 6-foot-10, 220-pound forward Nick Harris out of St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, Ga. All three were among the Class of 2014 Watch List prospects by MaxPreps.
"As a signing class, they address our needs for next year as we lose Anthony Thomas and Nori Johnson," Wojcik said. "What we try to do in our recruiting efforts is have balance. At the mid-major level, it's hard to reload talent right away, so we recruit each of our classes to be consistently good year-in and year-out. All three kids are outstanding students and young men. I see them as the future leaders of our program as we move forward."
A two-time Associated Press Division I All-Ohio Third Team selection, Bailey averaged 16.3 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior. He also shot 42.8 percent from the floor, 38.0 percent from three-point range and 77.2 percent from the charity stripe for the Polar Bears under head coach Tim Debevec.
Last year, Bailey scored a career-high 43 points, one short of the school single-game record, against Lake High School in league play. A national three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN Recruiting, he also played summer basketball for All-Ohio Red under head coach Marcus Gill.
Bailey is a two-time all-county, all-district and all-league first team selection that chose CofC over Harvard, Princeton, Bucknell, UPenn, Cornell, Miami (Ohio), Kent State and Toledo. A 4.4 grade-point average student, he is interested in majoring in pre-medicine and being accepted into the Honors College at College of Charleston with future plans of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
"Evan is tough and a very good basketball player," Wojcik said. "He is really smart and will complement Canyon Barry well. In high school, he had to play inside and rebound, but is also a shooter and can put the ball on the floor. He has great genes. His mom, Linda, played volleyball at Pittsburgh and his dad, Nate, who was my teammate at Navy and then transferred and played three years at Pitt."
Gilmore helped lead Wesleyan Christian Academy to the state 3A championship title as a junior under head coach Keith Gatlin. He also lettered and competed in track and field in the 400 meters and high jump events.
Gilmore played AAU Basketball for CP3 All-Stars under head coach Andy Poplin and verbally committed to CofC in April of his junior year. At the time, he had interest from South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi State, NC State, Old Dominion and Appalachian State. A 3.5 grade-point average student, he is looking to major in business at College of Charleston.
"Donovan adds tremendous vertical athleticism to our program," Wojcik said. "He was the first recruit to verbally commit and has shown great perseverance and loyalty to us. He played with a broken nose this summer twice. I consider him very tough and a multi-task player. He can do a lot of different things on the court. He will be able to defend a big wing and multiple positions down the road for us with his athleticism."
Ranked among the Top 25 Class of 2014 prospects in the state of Georgia by Rivals.com and Georgia Hoops, Harris was also ranked the No. 62 best power forward in the nation. He was selected all-state and first team all-region and helped St. Pius X Catholic High School to a 22-9 overall record as a junior under head coach Aaron Parr.
Harris also played AAU Basketball for Atlanta All-Stars under head coach Ben Miller. His brother, Justin, is a senior defensive lineman at Cornell and he chose CofC over his parents' alma mater Buffalo, Miami (Ohio), East Carolina, Florida Gulf Coast and Western Carolina. Harris is looking to major in business at College of Charleston.
"Nick is going to be really good and his best basketball is ahead of him," Wojcik said. "I think a lot of people missed on him. You can't have enough size and Nick adds to our arsenal of big guys with the development of Glen Pierre, Jr., and certainly the experience next year of Adjehi Baru and David Wishon. He can score it in the post and he can face up and shoot it from the free throw line. He is a real bright spot for the future of the Cougars."
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT EVAN BAILEY
"Evan is a leader on-and-off the court. He is a great student and works hard. He loves the game and is a very coachable kid. You couldn't ask anything more from a student-athlete. I'm excited for him and his family and to see him develop at the next level. He does everything for us. He is a three-year starter and averaged 20 points his sophomore year and close to 19 points his junior year. We expect big things from him during his senior year. He pushes himself every day and is always looking to get better. Evan is going to be a great player at College of Charleston." - Jackson High School Boys Basketball Head Coach Tim Debevec
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT DONOVAN GILMORE
"Donovan is a great kid and I've loved coaching him. He is an extremely gifted athlete. The College of Charleston is getting a first-class player and a great kid." – Wesleyan Christian Academy Boys Basketball Head Coach Keith Gatlin
"He's going to be a huge matchup problem for teams in the CAA. He has an energy that can run the floor and get to the rim. If he can develop an intermediate game, he'll be very tough to stop." – ESPN College Basketball Recruiting Analyst Dave Telep
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT NICK HARRIS
"Nick is a fantastic kid and is going to bring a good work ethic to the program. More importantly, he is a great young man and a good addition, both academically and athletically, to College of Charleston. Nick is very excited to take his game to the next level. He has a lot of length and challenges shots around the rim effectively. As his offensive game gets better, he will contribute offensively, but for now, he will block a lot of shots around the basket." – Atlanta All-Stars Head Coach Ben Miller
2014-15 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON MEN'S BASKETBALL SIGNEES
Evan Bailey, F, 6-6, 195, Canton, Ohio (Jackson High School)
Donovan Gilmore, F, 6-7, 190, Greensboro, N.C. (Wesleyan Christian Academy)
Nick Harris, F, 6-10, 220, Dacula, Ga. (St. Pius X Catholic High School)