HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With the University of Southern Mississippi losing five perimeter players after the 2018-19 men’s basketball season, Coach Doc Sadler and his staff knew where their focus would lie on the recruiting trail.
“We lose five guards, and a big part of what we are trying to do is replace them," Sadler said.
Toward that end, Sadler added three perimeter players in the recent early signing period, including Southwest Mississippi Community College teammates Denijay Harris and Jay Malone and Las Cruces (NM) Mayfield High School’s Jorell Saterfield.
"First of all, I'm really excited about the guys that are coming back to our program," Sadler said of the current Golden Eagles. "That's something you don't ever forget. Saying that, you try to add some pieces to it.”
Harris, a SWMCC freshman, was a standout at Columbus High School, where he helped the Falcons win MHSAA 6A titles as a sophomore and senior seasons. Harris was named Most Valuable Player of the title game as a senior after scoring 20 of his 26 points in the second half.
As a senior, Harris averaged 12.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. "You can't replace the experience right away, but you get some size with Denijay,” Sadler said. “He's a 6-foot-6 wing who brings something we haven't had. He's an athletic guy (who) runs hard.
“You know that when he gets in the gym and really gets a lot of confidence in his jump shot, he'll get even better." Malone, a redshirt freshman guard at SWMCC, also had his share of in-state success in high school.
Malone helped Meridian High School to the 2017 MHSAA 6A title, earning MVP honors after scoring 23 points with four rebounds, two steals and two assists.
"With Jay, we feel we have some real good guards coming back," Sadler said. "He can add a point-guard mentality with his speed that can complement (freshmen) Shakur Daniel and Gabe Watson.
“I’m really excited about those three guys because I feel they fit the pieces of what we have returning."
Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler has announced the signings of Denijay Harris, Jay Malone and Jorell Saterfield in the early period of its 2018-19 recruiting class. While Saterfield will finish his senior season in Las Cruces, as a junior he won a Washington state championship playing at Garfield High School in Seattle for former National Basketball Association veteran Brandon Roy.
“Jorell may be player of the year in New Mexico,” Sadler said. “He’s 6-foot-4, athletic and can play all three guard positions, so he’s versatile. He and Denijay are going to be able to play multiple positions. Athletically, we are improving a lot with those two guys.”
USM (4-2) will continue its four-game homestand when it hosts the University of South Alabama (3-3) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.