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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Monday, June 13, 2011

SCSU announces 8 basketball recruits

Southern Connecticut State University head men’s basketball coach Michael Donnelly has announced that eight student-athletes will join the squad for the upcoming 2011-12 season. Ryan Belote (Meriden, Conn./Maloney HS), Kyle Callanan (Bennington, Vt./Cushing Academy), Kevin Clark (Trumbull, Conn./Christian Heritage), Jose Cruz (Shrewsbury, Mass./Worcester Academy), Luke Houston (Pearl River, N.Y./Pearl River HS) and Tylon Smith (Manchester, Conn./Kingswood-Oxford) will all enter as freshmen, while sophomore Dominique Langston (Bridgeport, Conn.) is a transfer from Division I Quinnipiac University. In addition, the Owls welcome Rashamell Vereen (Meriden, Conn.) who will sit out the 2011-12 season as a transfer from Post University.

“Our coaching staff is very excited about this year’s recruiting class,” Donnelly said. “We feel that we have added quality student-athletes who will not only achieve athletically, but also in the classroom as well. I want to thank both of my assistant coaches, Mike Makubika and Greg Clark, for their hard work and dedication to help bring in an outstanding recruiting class.”

Belote, a 5-foot-10 guard, was an All-State, All-Area and three-time All-Conference performer at Maloney (Conn.) High School. A three-year captain, he won a state championship with the Spartans as a freshman and helped the team to a league title and undefeated regular season as a senior. Belote was a three-time All-Conference pick, a two-time New Haven Register All-Area honoree and was also named Academic All-State.

Callanan, a 6-foot-2 guard, spent the 2010-11 season as a post-graduate at Cushing (Mass.) Academy after a decorated scholastic career at Mount Anthony Union High School (Vt.), where he finished his career as the school's all-time leader in both points and assists. He averaged 17 points and six assists per game at Cushing Academy while helping the Penguins to a 23-win season. He was also named Third-Team All-NEPSAC Class AA this past year.

Clark, a 6-foot-3 swingman, played scholastically at Christian Heritage School, where he was an Adidas All-American. Also a two-time All-Conference selection, he scored more than 1,000 points in his career and helped his squad win the 2011 National Christian Invitational Tournament. Clark also helped his team win its first two league titles in school history. A team captain, he was also a three-time winner of the team’s Sportsmanship Award.

Cruz, a 6-foot-7 forward, joins the Owls after spending the 2010-11 year at Worcester Academy, where he was awarded the Lawson Riley Award. While at Shrewsbury (Mass.) High School, he was a two-time league All-Star and helped his squad to the league title in 2010. Cruz was also a 2010 Worcester Telegram and Gazette All-Star.

Houston, a 5-foot-10 guard, collected an array of accolades in a decorated career at Pearl River (N.Y.) High School. As a senior, he averaged 20.3 points per contest en route to Rockland County Player of the Year honors. He was also named the Class A Most Valuable Player by MSG Varsity. Houston also collected All-State, All-County, All-Section and All-League honors while also serving as a team captain in his final season.

Langston, a 6-foot-4 guard/forward, played in 30 games as a freshman at Quinnipiac University last season. He averaged 7.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest and helped the Bobcats reach the post-season for the second year in a row. He played scholastically at Kolbe Cathedral (Conn.) and was a two-time All-State pick there before attending St. Thomas More (Conn.) in 2009-10 en route to All-Conference honors. Langston was also recognized as a McDonald’s All-America nominee and was invited to play in the 2009 New England High School All-Star Challenge.

Smith, a 6-foot-2 powerful guard, was a five-year member of the varsity squad at Kingswood-Oxford and led his team to the 2011 New England Prep School Men's Basketball Association Class B Championship. A two-year team captain, he averaged more than 30 points per contest as a senior and more than 25 points per outing as a junior. Smith was named First-Team All-New England Class B and was the MVP of the Class B NEPSAC Tournament this past season.

Vereen, a 5-foot-11 guard, will sit out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Vereen will have one season of eligibility remaining in 2012-13. He averaged 7.6 points and 3.4 rebounds at Post in 2009-10 under Donnelly. As a scholastic standout at Maloney (Conn.) High, he led the Spartans to the Class L state championship game as a senior and was named MVP of the contest. He was also an All-State selection as a senior.

Southern Connecticut opens its 2011-12 season on Saturday, November 12 at the University of Bridgeport Tournament. The Owls are coming off a 2010-11 campaign in which they reached the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament for the first time in nine years and posted the third-best win turnaround in all of Division II (+10 victories).

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