SIUE men’s basketball head coach Jon Harris has added a trio of recruits to his roster during the early signing period.
Kenyon Duling (Chicago), Micah Thomas (Oklahoma City) and Jake LaRavia (Indianapolis) have each agreed to join the Cougars for the 2019-2020 season.
“We could not be happier with our 2019 class,” Harris said. “Above all else, we’ve added high-character individuals that will excel academically and entrench themselves in our community. In terms of basketball, these young men are winners, simply stated. Two state champions and another from one of the top programs in the state of Indiana. They all possess the drive to excel, not only in sport, but in life which is what we look for when recruiting.”
Duling, a 6-foot, 2-inch guard, is playing his freshman year at Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas. Duling helped Morgan Park High School to a pair of state championships and the Mustangs were 25-9 during his senior season. He is a two-time All-State and All-City selection.
“KD will be a great addition to our locker room,” Harris said. “He hails from Chicago powerhouse Morgan Park. More than anything else, he is a competitor. He has a unique ability to raise the level of those around him. Some call it leadership; we call it influence. He can motivate people, and that is a quality that cannot be understated. On the floor, he’s an aggressive on-ball defender that wants to take the big shots on the other end. He also has a strong IQ for the game and will be productive with or without the ball in his hands.”
“The coaching staff made me feel at home,” Duling said of his commitment. “I have trust in them that not only will we win, but they will help me develop my game. I just felt it was the perfect fit for me.”
Thomas, a 6-foot point guard, comes to SIUE from Putnam City North High School, where he led the school to its first 6A state title. Thomas was the Most Valuable Player of the state tournament. He also earned a spot on the All-Region Eight team as well as All-Conference and All-City honors.
“We are excited to have Micah join us,” Harris said. “He is a point guard, in the truest sense, but also a very good scorer. He plays the game with great poise and tempo. His vision and court awareness allow him to make plays that most do not even see. His determination and will to succeed carried PC North to a state championship a year ago. Winning is in his DNA.”
“I signed with SIUE because of how much of a genuine fellowship the school and basketball program has,” said Thomas. “My future goal being a Cougar is to cut down nets and obtain a degree.”
LaRavia, a 6-8 forward, comes to SIUE from Lawrence Central High School. LaRavia had a break-out summer for Game Time Thomas AAU. He averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. He also connected on 42 percent of his shots.
“At 6-8, he possesses a very high skill level and IQ for the game,” Harris said. “His ability to make plays off the bounce and knock down perimeter shots will make him a matchup problem for most guys his size. His versatility on both ends of the floor will greatly enhance our offensive and defensive schemes. We came away most impressed with his overall presence on the court. He carries himself in a way that exudes confidence.”
“I chose SIUE because of the great school, coaching staff, players, and community,” said LaRavia. “The coaches really reached out to me in every way they could, and I bonded with every single one of them.”