App State men’s basketball adds five players in 2020 recruiting class

Ben Brady, Reporter

Three high schoolers and two transfers have committed to play basketball at App State in the 2020-21 season.

Xavion Brown, a 6-foot-3-inch guard, posted averages of 9.1 points on 53.4% shooting, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals at Sheldon High School in Sacramento, California last year. He was named Delta League Co-Player of the Year during the 2019-20 season, and helped his team win the conference title. Sheldon High School, ranked No. 5 in the nation by MaxPreps, was set to play in the CIF State Semifinals, before COVID-19 canceled the remainder of the tournament.

“We are thrilled about Xavion Brown joining the Mountaineer family. Xavion is a wonderful person and has a great way about him,” head coach Dustin Kerns said in a press release. “He is an exceptional athlete and provides incredible length on both ends of the floor. His perimeter skill set combined with his playmaking ability for others make his ceiling very high. Above all, Xavion is a great young man who the App State community will love the moment he steps on campus. We are excited about Xavion and his future at App State.” 

The team also signed 6-foot-9-inch forward RJ Duhart, a transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College. In the 2019-20 season, Duhart averaged 11.9 points on 54.5% shooting and a team-high 7.8 rebounds and tallied over two blocks a game. He posted four double-doubles throughout the season, including a season-best 24 points and 14 rebounds against SAU Tech. Northwest Mississippi finished the season with a 16-10 overall record as Duhart helped the Rangers advance to the semifinals of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.

“RJ is a versatile player who has been well coached by Shane Oakley at Northwest Mississippi Community College,” said Kerns. “With three years left to play, RJ has a very high ceiling. His skill set is unique for someone with his size and athleticism. He has the ability to score on the perimeter and on the block. This versatility and ability to play anywhere on the floor will make him a great fit with our style of play. There was an instant connection with our staff and RJ, and we are thrilled about RJ becoming a Mountaineer.”

Brown and Duhart join Michael Eads and CJ Huntley as the Mountaineers’ newest members for the 2020-21 season.

Eads, a 6-foot-5-inch guard, was named third team All-FABC All-State and Orlando Sentinel All-Area in his junior season. In that season, he posted eight double-doubles, including a span of five straight in January. 

“Michael’s best basketball is ahead of him and he has a true passion for the game,” Kerns said. “He is an incredible, high character young man and we connected with him right from the start and we are thrilled about Michael becoming a Mountaineer.”

Huntley, a 6-foot-10-inch forward, averaged 14 points and eight rebounds in his junior season. That year, he helped Davidson Day to a 20-5 record and advance to the quarterfinals of the NCISAA 2A playoffs. 

“CJ has a high ceiling and skill set that we value and are very excited about,” Kerns said. “He has perimeter skills and a strong shooting ability that stretches the defense. He also has great size and length and has been well coached in high school by Ron Johnson at Davidson Day.”

Additionally, former James Madison point guard Deshon Parker announced on Twitter that he will transfer to play at App State. The 6-foot-4 floor general averaged 10.1 points and four assists per game as a sophomore last season at JMU. Because of NCAA transfer rules, Parker is not eligible to play in the 2020-21 season. 

The Mountaineers finished the recruiting period with the 89th ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to App State’s class also ranked 2nd in the Sun Belt.