According to a press release issued by the school, University of South Alabama head men’s basketball coach Richie Riley announced Thursday three players have signed national letters of intent with the program.
Junior-college recruit Marshall Kearing as well as high school seniors Alex Anderson and Tyler Shirley will join the team in the fall of 2021.
The recruiting class is rated No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 55 in the country, according to 247Sports.com.
A 6-foot-9 forward originally from Perth, Australia, Kearing averaged 11.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and region-best 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 61.5 percent from the field as a freshman at State College of Florida last season to help the Manatees to a 21-12 overall mark. After recording seven double-doubles and scoring 10 or more points 20 times he was voted first-team all-Suncoast Conference. Kearing — who is considered by 247Sports.com as the third-best junior-college recruit in the state and 10th in the country — posted 10 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks per contest in two seasons at Willeton Senior HS prior to arriving in the United States.
“Marshall is one of the top junior college players in America and is an even better kid,” Riley said. “His skill and versatility really jump off the page and fits perfectly with our style of play. Marshall plays with a non-stop motor and has proven to be an elite shot blocker. Playing for one of the top junior college coaches in country in Tom Parks he continues to improve every day. This was an absolute home run for our program to sign Marshall in the early period.”
Anderson, whose older brother Andrew is a freshman guard for the Jaguars, scored 23 points per game in 2019-20 and was a finalist for Mr. Basketball honors in Tennessee after helping Tipton-Rosemark Academy finish 18-12 after winning its first-round game in the state Division II A tournament. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 17 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals per outing as the Rebels advanced to the championship game of the state tournament on the way to a 23-9 overall record his sophomore year as well. He is rated as a three-star prospect the eighth-best recruit in the state by 247Sports.com.
“Alex is arguably the most competitive kid that I’ve ever recruited. He lives for competition and possesses an unmatched will to win,” Riley said. “He is a big guard who lives in the paint, his ability to be both explosive and creative off the deck make him special. Defensively, he is an alpha dog that takes every matchup personally. I love his approach to the game on a daily basis, it matches what our program is all about. His father, Ced, is an excellent ball coach and it shows in his game and his attitude. We’re so pumped to add Alex to our family.”
Shirley is rated among the top 25 prospects in Georgia and top 60 small forwards in the nation according to 247Sports.com entering his senior season at Pebblebrook High. Last year, the 6-foot-6 Mableton, Ga., resident averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds per contest to help the Falcons win their first-round state 7A tournament game. He was also part of PHS teams that advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament each of his first two years, including posting a 26-3 final record when he was a freshman.
“We’ve recruited Tyler longer than any kid in my career, and that has allowed us to really appreciate how special of a kid that he is,” Riley said. “He raises the level of energy in any room he walks in to. His versatility to play multiple positions makes him a great fit in our position-less basketball approach. He has great size and is a three-level scorer. Coach Washington is as good of a high school coach as there is in the country and it’s obvious in Tyler’s game. We are thrilled to have Tyler in our family and can’t wait for him to immediately impact our program.”
South Alabama was 20-11 a year ago, clinching the second seed and a bye to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Tournament, which was canceled before the Jaguars could play a game at the event.
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