Aug. 11, 2008
ARLINGTON - - UT Arlington men's basketball coach Scott Cross has announced the signing of 6-foot-10 center Ishmael Awange to a national letter-of-intent.
Awange played for the Kenyan national team and was a member of the African Global Games squad that toured the United States last year and played the U.S. under-19 squad in Dallas. Awange joins four other freshmen on UT Arlington's incoming recruiting class.
The Mavericks had already signed 6-0 guard Armani Williams from Chicago, 6-4 guard Jon Miller from Flower Mound and 6-8 center Jordan Kinner from Canyon. The signings of Awange and Kinnear give the Mavericks four players on the roster taller than 6-7.
Awange and 6-foot-8 sophomore-to-be Trey Parker each bring a 7-foot, 3-inch wingspan.
"Ishmael is an extremely hard worker and talented basketball player, very mature for an incoming freshman," Cross said. "Obviously, he brings height to the table, but he's also tough and athletic. There is room for improvement with each of our younger, big guys. But when we look at Ishmael, Trey Parker and Jordan Kinnear, we're very excited as a coaching staff to have that kind of size to work with from the start. It certainly gives us options."
UT Arlington opens the season Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. against Hardin-Simmons at Texas Hall. The Mavericks, who won a school-record 21 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year, lose starting center Jermaine Griffin and starting power forward Larry Posey from last season's team.
Cross said a big portion of the minutes played by Griffin and Posey most likely will be taken by senior Anthony Vereen. But there will be a need for the younger post players to perform at a high level in order for UT Arlington to repeat last year's success, Cros said.
"We should be better on the perimeter, but how we do this year has a lot to do with how much production we get out of the post," he said. "That's where our younger guys are really going to have to step up."
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