Teri LaJeunesse ECU Sports Information
First-year East Central University men’s basketball head coach Ja Havens has announced his first class, with the addition of seven student-athletes to the 2013-14 roster. The group will join nine returners, including six seniors and three sophomores.
“We are pleased to announce this year’s class and are excited about the future of the Tigers program,” said Havens. “We feel these seven young men will address specific roster needs and will blend well with our returning players.”
Donovan Halsel comes to the Tigers after spending a season at Western Kentucky University on the track & field team. While with the Hilltoppers, he earned All-Sun Belt Second Team honors and second place in the Sun Belt Championship High Jump (6’10”). Halsel attended Warren Central High School as a prep, where he helped the team to 4th Region and 14th District championships as a junior. The team also finished second in the 14th district his sophomore and senior seasons. As a senior, Halsel was named to the 14th District and 4th Region First Teams.
“Donovan is an ultra-athletic combo guard,” Havens said. “He has the ability to handle the ball, score off the bounce and shoot the three. I am excited to see him flourish in our system and look forward to having him in our program for the next four years.”
Aly Hudgins spent his first collegiate season as a redshirt on the Texas Pan American men’s basketball team. After finishing his high school career in Norway, Hudgins attended James S. Rickards Prep School in Florida for a year. While at Rickards, he helped the team earn a state championship and was the leading rebounder.
“Aly is a high-energy player that brings it every day and understands how to play,” commented Havens. “He has the ability to defend multiple positions and he has a knack for pursuing and rebounding the basketball. His versatility makes him a great fit for our offensive system.”
Reed Johnson returns to the Ada area after spending the last two years at Seminole State College. As a sophomore he averaged six points per game, while earning his associate’s degree in general studies and academic honors. Johnson attended Latta High School and as a senior, averaged 21.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He was named to the OBCA All-Star, OBCA All-State, The Ada News All-Area and all-region first teams.
“Reed is a tremendous shooter with great range that has the ability to stretch the defense,” added Havens. “In addition, he has a strong work ethic and is very coachable. Reed is also an excellent student and a good ambassador for ECU in the community.”
Brandon Lucas spent the last two years at Midland Junior College, where he averaged 7.2 points and four rebounds per game in 2011. As a prep, Lucas attended Southmoore High School. In 2009, the team advanced to the state quarterfinals. As a junior, he earned all-state honorable mention, all-conference first team and All-Vype second team honors. As a senior, he played in just 10 games due to injury but averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game and was still an all-conference first team and all-state honorable mention pick.
“Brandon is an extremely athletic player that has the ability to play and defend multiple positions,” Havens said. “He plays very hard and can impact the game in a variety of ways. We love his versatility and feel like he is a perfect fit for our style of play.”
A.J. Moutry spent the last season as a redshirt freshman at Texas Pan American. He attended McKinney High School, where he earned all-state, all-region, and all-area second team honors as a senior.
“A.J. is an athletic guard that has the ability to score in bunches,” commented Havens. “We feel that he will thrive within our style of play, and he is a perfect fit for us athletically, academically and socially. We are confident that A.J. will have a bright future in a Tiger uniform.”
Jefferson Ocoro spent the 2012-13 season at Blinn Junior College where he was a member of the dean’s list. Before coming to the U.S., Jefferson played four seasons at Salesiano San Juan Bosco High School in Colombia. He was also a member of the Colombia U-15 Team in 2009, U-17 Team in 2011 and U-18 Team in 2012.
“Jefferson has a big frame and will provide a physical presence in the paint,” Havens said. “He has a great skill set and has demonstrated the ability to score in the paint as well as make the proper pass to the open man.”
Darryn York spent the last four seasons with Wills Point High School. As a senior he averaged 21 points, five assists and five rebounds per game, while earning district MVP, Texas Basketball Magazine All-State, all-region and All-East Texas honors.
“Darryn is a very talented point guard that can run the team as well as score in a variety of ways,” said Havens. “He is a tremendous ball handler and a good passer that understands how to help his teammates score in addition to being a scoring threat himself.”
“This group possesses size, skill, and athleticism and we are confident that they will provide a solid foundation for our program moving forward,” Havens added. “In addition, this is a high-character group that will represent our program and East Central University in a positive manner.”