October 14, 2011

Basketball visit weekend for Tech

RUSTON, La. -- Michael White has yet to coach a game for the Louisiana Tech Men's Basketball team.

That is not stopping the first-year head coach from hitting the recruiting trail hard for the Class of 2012. Securing two commitments already in Alex Hamilton and Demetrius Moore, White and his staff have a pair of other prospects on their radar coming to Ruston for a big recruiting weekend in Kelvin Downs and DeOndre Haynes.

"I'm hearing from a lot of schools," Downs said. "I would have to say right now though that Coach White at Tech and Northern Colorado are the two schools that I am really hearing the most from right now."

The 6-8, 200-pound power forward out of Grand Prairie, Texas is a bruising inside force for his Juan Seguin High School squad, as he is averaging double-digit rebounds throughout his high school career.

"(Tech Assistant Coach) Dusty May is talking to me a lot," Downs said. "We are developing a really good relationship. We talk a lot of basketball of course but I actually am really liking what Coach May is saying that Tech could offer me academically. What Tech has in terms of its classes and curriculum really has peaked my interest.

"The other big thing is Coach May is talking about is how Coach White is brand new at Tech just like I would be and how I can come in on the ground floor and really build something special (in Ruston). That is something cool if you think about it. Nobody has seen Coach White's squad play yet and I can come in and hopefully be apart of building Tech into a winner should I chose to come there. I haven't been to the campus yet but I am looking forward to my visit. I want to get the chance to talk with Coach White, see how they play the game through practices and talk to the other players that are already there and just try and get a feel of how things work at their school."

While Tech hopes Downs could be another inside answer for the future, Haynes is a scorer. The Rivals.com Top 150, 6-2, 170-pound guard out of Calera High School in Alabama already has offers on the table from East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Murray State, Tennessee Tech and UAB. Haynes has renewed interest from the SEC since Vanderbilt called this week.

"I just want to get a feel for the campus and just see what life would be as a student at Louisiana Tech," Haynes said. "That is what I am looking to get out of my visit this weekend. I want to see what kind of basketball Coach White and his staff play and run with my own eyes. I want to check out what they are all about. I think the best way to really do that is just to hang out with the players. I also want to see how the relationships are between the players and the coaching staff. That is something that is very important to me.

"I don't think I will commit or anything like that yet. Tennessee Tech and Louisiana Tech are my top two favorite schools right now. I still have to visit Tennessee Tech; I owe them that. I want to see the same things there next weekend that I am going to see this weekend when I go to Ruston."

While Downs and Haynes are in Ruston enjoying the Louisiana Tech campus, White and his staff probably are paying close attention a little further north as one of their other top recruits that they are after is making a trip to Fayetteville.

Huntington High School small forward Michael Qualls will be on the Arkansas campus this weekend taking in their Midnight Madness festivities. The 6-4, 190-pounder out of Shreveport has an offer from White and his staff on the table in addition to offers from Central Arkansas, Jacksonville, Murray State, Tulane, UTEP and Wichita State. Qualls is the crown jewel of Tech's class.

Hamilton is an extremely versatile guard and is a key for White in the Class of 2012. The 6-4, 180-pounder out of Chipley, Florida is a three-star prospect according to the latest Rivals.com rankings and is coming off a junior season that saw him average 18 points to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game. Hamilton chose the Bulldogs over Auburn, Middle Tennessee State and Murray State.

Moore provides the muscle inside for the Bulldogs. A Junior College transfer, the 6-8, 220-pound power forward out of Niceville, Fla. chose Louisiana Tech over Nebraska and Troy.

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