MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men’s basketball program signed four players to National Letters of Intent as the early signing period opened Wednesday.
The Cardinals inked high school teammates Jeremie Tyler and Rashaun Richardson from Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis along with another Indiana product in Sean Sellers of Greensburg. Francis Kiapway, from Canada by way of St. Thomas More School in Connecticut, also signed.
“The four of them collectively make the type of recruiting class we felt like we needed,” Ball State first-year head coach James Whitford said. “They are high in talent and high in competitive character. All four guys really love the game, and that is an important attribute we are always looking for.”
Tyler is a 6-foot-1 guard who was the second-leading scorer for a loaded Tech team last year with an average of 12.3 points per game. He knocked down 34.6 percent of his 3-point attempts for the Titans, which finished 21-5 and ranked among the top 10 in Indiana’s Class 4A. He played AAU basketball for Indiana Elite.
“Jeremie is a terrific scoring combo guard,” Whitford said. “He is a guy who has produced at a high level. He had a great summer and had some big-time games playing with big-time competition. Jeremie is someone we recruited very aggressively, and we think he can be an impact player for us.”
Richardson is a 6-foot-7 forward with shooting range. He played limited minutes last season behind Trey Lyles, one of the top recruits in the nation, but will play a bigger role this year as a senior. Richardson is continuing to develop his inside game at Tech under coach Jason Delaney, having grown nine inches since his freshman year. He played AAU basketball for SYF Hoopmatics.
“Rashaun is a long, athletic forward,” Whitford said. “He is a good player now, but I think has a chance to become a great player. He has a really high skill level, and he is at his very best when he is playing facing the basket. He can play both forward positions, can block shots and rebound, and he is an elite athlete.”
Sellers is a 6-foot-6 wing player who helped Greensburg to the Class 3 A state championship in Indiana last year. He has started since his freshman season for coach Stacy Meyer and enters his senior season already as the leading scorer and rebounder in school history. Sellers played his AAU basketball for the Eric Gordon All-Stars.
“Sean has a very high basketball IQ,” Whitford said. “He had a great summer. Sean can really shoot the basketball, and he is a proven winner. He has won at every level. He is a hard worker, he loves the game of basketball, and he has a skill level and a basketball IQ that we feel can really help us.”
Kiapway is a 6-foot-3 guard from Hamilton, Ontario. A strong outside shooter, he is currently playing at St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Conn. In Canada, Kiapway developed his game playing at United Leadership Academy. He scored 23 points in a February exhibition game against Huntington (W. Va.) Prep, going up against current Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins.
“Francis is an elite level shooter,” Whitford said. “He is one of the best shooters I have seen come out of high school in many years. He is someone I fell in love with because of his passion and love for the game. He has a desire to be a great player and is one of the hardest working kids I have recruited in a long time. He is also really humble with a great personality.”
All four players will complete their high school career this winter and enroll for the 2014-15 academic year at Ball State.