Tulsa basketball coaches scoured the junior college ranks and earned a commitment five weeks ago from JUCO All-American Marquel Curtis. On Wednesday, he signed on the dotted line.
"Marquel is a talented wing player that will add great savvy to our team," Manning said. "He brings some versatility in that he can play multiple positions. Having played two seasons in junior college, he also brings valuable basketball experience to our team. He played at an All-American performance level at Williston State for Coach Eric Peterson.
"I've watched Marquel since high school and on the AAU circuit playing for Chris Carr. He is a very quiet and confident young man, and he will be a huge asset off the court for our team, program and university as well."
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound wing guard from Plymouth, Minn., played two seasons at Williston State, and he will have two years of eligibility remaining at Tulsa. He earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the NJCAA this season as a sophomore, and was a second-team All-America as a freshman in 2011-12.
While he became known as a big-time scorer, his defense needed improvement, and he took that to heart over the past year.
"Marquel has matured a lot over the past year," WSC coach Eric Peterson told the Minot Daily News in December. "Every school knows he can really score, but defensively he has gotten so much better in a year.
"He's a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams, and he is shooting over 40 percent from 3-point range. He's a great teammate on and off the floor."
As a sophomore this past season, Curtis' stock continued to rise. He led Williston State to a 25-9 record and the District Championship game. Curtis led the Tetons in scoring with 20.7 points per game and also averaged 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He was named to the Mon-Dak All-Conference Team after WSC won the Region XIII Championship, and was also the Region XIII MVP.
"He's very good," said North Idaho College coach Jared Phay. "He might be the best player in junior college."
Before committing to Tulsa, Curtis had serious interest from Maryland, Miami (Fl.), Georgia, Washington State, Utah, Butler, Wichita State, San Francisco, Portland, Wyoming, St. Louis, Northern Iowa, Sienna, Missouri State, North Dakota, North Dakota State and Cal State Fullerton.
As a freshman, Curtis was a second-team All-America selection after he averaged 22.3 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Tetons. He set the single season school scoring record with 715 points, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Mon-Dak Conference.
"Marquel is a 6-4 physical guard that can really score the basketball," Coach Peterson said. "He has the ability to score on all three levels. He can score it in the post, he can come off the dribble and shoot it from 15 feet, and he can shoot from the perimeter. He's a scorer, a flat scorer. He's a competitor, a winner and he knows how to get it done. He is a great student and an even better person."
Curtis joins three others in Tulsa's 2013 signing class. 6-10 junior college forward Lew Evans, 6-5 prep school guard Stevie Repichowski and 6-11 high school forward Emmanuel Ezechinonso all signed with TU in November.