DURHAM, N.H.-- Four outstanding student-athletes have signed letters of intent to attend the University of New Hampshire and play for the men's basketball team. The announcement was made today by fourth-year head coach Phil Rowe.
The coaching staff addressed many of the needs of the team by signing one point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward and a power forward.
"I am very excited about the four young men we have joining the program," said Rowe. "It gives us a nice mix of two traditional high school players and two older junior college players. Looking at what we have lost to graduation, I felt it was important to bring in a couple of older, more mature, players. All four of them are winners. Each comes out of a highly-successful program and has experience playing in championship games. All four will fit into our system and can play up-tempo, which is how we want to do it here at UNH. They provide an excellent complement to our eight returning players and I can't wait until Oct. 12 when we get started."
Shejdie Childs (shah-DEE), a 5-10 point guard from the Philadelphia area, played three seasons at Mastbaum Vo-Tech in the Philadelphia public league before transferring to Friends Central and the Friends league. While at FC, he enjoyed great success, as the team was undefeated in league play on their way to back-to-back championship titles. This past season his team posted a 26-3 overall record. Childs, an outstanding defender and playmaker, led the team in both assists and steals. Following the completion of his senior season, he received several noteworthy honors, including being picked No. 177 out of 400 seniors by Hoopscoop Online, the top online scouting service. He was also named a second-team All-Area selection by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other named to the second team from that area are signed to play at such hoop powerhouses as Temple and North Carolina State. He was also the leading scorer with 22 points at the prestigious Labor Classic All-Star Game, where he led the All-Suburban All-Stars to victory over the City All-Stars.
"Shejdie has the opportunity to be an impact player right away in our program," said Rowe. "He, along with Roland Williams and Marcus Bullock, should give UNH a very competitive backcourt. Point guard is the deepest, most talented position in our league, and our first observation of Shejdie was his ability to take the other team's point guards out of the offensive equation."
Elisha Fields (pronounced like elijah or prefers Eli), a 6-5 power forward from Junction City, Kan., comes to UNH older and wiser after playing at Barton County Community College (Great Bend, Kan.). After finishing a stellar career at Junction City High School, Fields played for two years at BCCC and enters UNH as a junior in terms of basketball eligibility. Like fellow recruit Griffin Walker, Fields competed in the talent-laden Jayhawk Conference. This past season, he lost to Walker's Coffeyville team by one point in the regional championship game. Fields is best known as an aggressive and tenacious player, both on offense and defense, and he was a relentless rebounder for one of the top junior college teams in the nation. Division I coaches easily recognized the talent on his junior college team as no less than seven were recruited from Fields' squad. A three-sport athlete, he lettered in basketball, track and football, and was named All-State, All-District and All-League in basketball.
"Elisha's toughness on the boards will go a long way to make up for the loss of Chris Brown," said Rowe. "Like Griffin, he also has big-game experience and maturity. He adds skill on both ends of the floor to our frontline."
Ioannis Karalis (yah-NEESE, kah-RAH-leese), a 6-4 shooting guard from Athens, Greece, is currently a finalist for the Greek Under-20 National Team. He recently played for Panionious, the top junior team in Greece. His squad won the 2001 Harry Agganis Tournament in Lynn, Mass. A left-hander, Karalis was on the Greek National Team of Cadets in 2000.
"Ioannis will add depth at the 1 through 3 positions for us," said Rowe. "His ability to shoot the three-pointer and his outstanding court vision will allow us to be flexible with our lineup when he is on the floor."
Griffin Walker, a 6-4 small forward from Coffeyville, Kan., has spent the last two seasons playing at Coffeyville Community College (Coffeyville, Kan.), a member of the highly-regarded Jayhawk Conference. He will be a junior at UNH in terms of eligibility. A graduate of Field Kinley High School in Coffeyville, he broke that school's career scoring and rebounding records. This past season he started at forward for CCC and led his team to a 36-2 record, winning both the Jayhawk regular season and conference titles. The team then went on to lose a heartbreaker in the National Junior College Championship contest to Hutchinson Junior College. He was not a top offensive weapon, but consistently drew the assignment of defending against the other team's top offensive player. All five starters at Coffeyville were recruited by Division I teams.
"Griffin brings to UNH an element of big-game experience, which is needed here," said Rowe. "He has competed at the highest level of JUCO basketball over the past two years. While he was not relied upon as a scorer in the system at Coffeyville, he has those abilities. We are looking for him to pick up where Austin Ganly left off."