Central Christian College of the Bible men's basketball coach Jack Defreitas announced Wednesday that about a week ago he had completed recruiting players for the Saints 2019-2020 season, and that all eight underclassmen from last year's unit is returning.
CCCB men graduated only one player from a squad that also had just one junior and a sophomore, and the remaining Saints were freshmen.
Together, the team posted an overall record of 13-15 when the campaign ended last March and went 3-3 in Midwest Christian College Conference play.
While the recruiting trail has ended having eight newcomers commit, Defreitas said he is expecting other enrolled CCCB students to join the program that would bring the Saints roster number to as many as 22 players, which would allow for a jayvee season to be played as well.
Among the signing of CCCB's last five new recruits include a trio of brothers who played basketball and graduated Raleigh Egypt High School in Memphis, Tenn. They are 2015 graduate Anthony, 2016 graduate Andrew and André Johnson who graduated from Raleigh Egypt last May.
Both Anthony and Andrew played college basketball together last season and are transfers from Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minn. They both have two eligible years remaining to play college basketball.
The 6'3 Anthony Johnson averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 32 percent from behind the arc. His brother Andrew is the same height who started all 27 games at Itasca CC and averaged 9.8 points while making 47 percent of his field goals, and he averaged 5.3 rebounds per outing.
"Anthony is very athletic and can get to the rim, but he is also a good shooter. We're adding another player that is a little older and has two seasons of college basketball under his belt. Anthony and his brothers are close-knit and it is great that they will get to go to school and play together,” CCCB men's coach Defreitas said. “ Andrew gives us an immediate physical presence on defense. We're excited to add someone who has two seasons of college basketball under his belt.”
Meanwhile, in addition to being the youngest of the Johnson brothers André is two inches shorter than his siblings. During his high school senior season he averaged 10 points, four assists and three rebounds per game for his Pharaohs team that had a 24-7 record and spent much of the high school season in the Class AA top ten state rankings.
“Andre is extremely athletic and can be a really good defender," Defreitas said. "Andre will make an immediate impact for us and we're excited to have him. I know he's also excited to be able to play with his two older brothers."
The other two recent commitments to CCCB are Courtney Hill and Chris Harrison.
Hill is a 5-foot-9 point guard that just graduated from Academies of West Memphis High School in West Memphis, Ark. This past season, Hill averaged 2.3 points per game for the Blue Devils, who finished 25-6 and reached the Class 5A semifinals.
Harrison (6'2) is a redshirt freshman transfer from Quincy University, Ill. that graduated from Montgomery County High School, Mo. In 2018. During his senior campaign at Montgomery County, Harrison averaged 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
The first three newcomers who are 2019 high school graduates that committed last March and April are Gabriel Rivera (6'2) of Weslaco East H.S. in Weslaco, Texas, Caleb Blehm (6'0) of Calvary Lutheran H.S. in Jefferson City, and Titus Wagner (6'0) of Trinity Christian Academy in Springfield.
Returning CCCB Saints players are: 5'10 senior Josh Crawford of St. Louis; juniors Jaime Rodriguez (5'9, Mercedes, Texas) and Kedron Rollings (5'9, Hayti, Mo.); sophomores Gabriel Martinez (5'9, Brownsville, Texas), Rodrigo Nunez (6'8, Rio Grande City, Texas), Cruz Mendoza (5'10, Alton, Texas), Trey Black (6'0, Choctaw, Okla), Caleif Grregg (6'2, Independence, Mo.) and Caleb Kendrick (5'6, Jacksonville, Ark.).
Coach Defreitas also pointed out that Central Christian College of the Bible this past season led all Division II men's basketball teams within the National Christian College Athletic Association in 3-point field goal shooting at 38.9 percent, and the Saints were third best in the following categories; assists per game (17.4), points per game (89.3) and made 3-pointers per game (10.5).