UNCW PRESS Release
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Two-time Colonial Athletic Association Coach-of-the-Year Kevin Keatts of UNCW has announced the signing of five players to National Letters of Intent during the Fall Signing Period for the 2017-18 basketball season.
Keatts, who has led the Seahawks to back-to-back regular season titles and the 2016 CAA Tournament championship in his first two seasons, dipped into five different states – Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Tennessee - to further bolster the future of Seahawk basketball.
The recruits include: Brion Whitley, 6-5, 185, Guard, Riverview HS, Sarasota, Fla.; Evan Cole, 6-8, 200, Forward, South Forsyth HS, Cumming, Ga.; Josh Boutte, 6-6, 205, Center, Dodge City CC/New Iberia, La.; Zac Cuthbertson, 6-7, 175, Forward, West Craven HS/Mineral Area College, Pleasant Hill, N.C.; Clayton Hughes, 6-5, 180, Forward, University School of Jackson, Jackson, Tenn.
“We’re very pleased with this great group of recruits,” said Keatts. “We were looking for a mix of young players who could develop and some older guys who can add experience. They all have the ability to step in with the graduation of our senior class and contribute. They are very athletic and that will help us maintain our unique style of play.
“These young men are all winners and have great versatility. Our program thrives on having interchangeable parts and these five individuals certainly bring that.”
Whitley anchors an athletic recruiting class that should keep the Seahawks flying high in the CAA. The 6-5, 185-pound guard from Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., bucketed 20.0 points per game as a junior for the Rams. He sparked Riverview to a berth in the Florida Class 8A state championship one year ago and is known as one of the best shooters in the Southeast in the Class of 2017.
Cole, a 6-8, 200-pound forward from Cumming, Ga., joins former Atlanta All-Stars AAU alumni Devontae Cacok as the second Peach State player on the roster. Cole collected 23.0 points and 12.0 rebounds as a junior for the War Eagles. He is a stretch forward who is deadly from three-point range and has good athleticism.
Boutte, who hails from New Iberia, La., is the first of two junior college transfers for Keatts and joins the Seahawks from Dodge City (Kansas) Community College. The 6-6, 205-pound forward averaged 16.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for the 22-9 Conquistadors last season and earned First-Team and Rookie of the Year in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
Cuthbertson, a 2015 graduate of West Craven High School in Vanceboro, N.C., returns to eastern North Carolina to complete his collegiate career after competing at Lincoln Trail College and Mineral Area College his first two seasons. The 6-7, 175-pound forward averaged 17.2 points and 8.0 rebounds last season at Lincoln Trail and was selected All-First Team and Freshman of the Year in JUCO Region 24.
An athletic swing man, Hughes continues the Hargrave Military Academy connection for Keatts, who enjoyed 10 successful seasons with the Tigers in Chatham, Va. The 6-5, 180-pound Hughes averaged 16.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Bruins and was a two-time All-State pick in Tennessee before moving on to HMA. The lefty was a three-star recruit and ranked the fourth best recruit out of Tennessee coming out of high school.
UNCW Men’s Basketball | 2017-18 Recruits
Brion Whitley, 6-5, 185, Guard, Riverview HS, Sarasota, Fla.
Averaged 20.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in junior season at Riverview HS…Propelled Rams to berth in Florida Class 8A state championship…Also played for AAU’s D3 Team M.O.A.M…Drew interest and offers from Ivy League programs.
Evan Cole, 6-8, 200, Forward, South Forsyth HS, Cumming, Ga.
Collected 23.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game in junior year for South Forsyth’s War Eagles…Shot 42 percent from 3-point range…Had 32 scholarship offers…Played for Atlanta All-Stars AAU squad, the same team that featured current Seahawk standout Devontae Cacok.
Clayton Hughes, 6-5, 180, Forward, University School of Jackson/Hargrave Military Academy, Jackson, Tenn.
Joins Seahawk program after playing at Hargrave Military Academy in 2016-17…Two-time All-State selection in Tennessee…Finalist for Tennessee’s “Mr. Basketball” in 2015-16…Led prep club in scoring as junior and senior…Averaged 16.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Bruins...Three-star recruit according to Rivals.com and 247 Sports…Rated as high as 37th best forward in country…Ranked as fourth best prospect in Tennessee…Lefthanded
Josh Boutte, 6-6, 205, Center, Dodge City CC, New Iberia, La.
Transfers from Dodge City Community College…Averaged 16.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for 22-9 Conquistadors in first year…Ranked 12th in scoring in the KJCCC…Selected First-Team All-KJCCC after shooting KJCCC-best 63.1 percent from field…Averaged 17.7 points and 11.5 boards in KJCCC games… Named Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Freshman of the Year…Features wing span of 7-1…Scored 41 points and racked up 23 rebounds in 82-74 win over Seward County in January of 2016.
Zac Cuthbertson, 6-7, 175, Forward, West Craven HS/Mineral Area College, Pleasant Hill, N.C.
Area product who transfers to UNCW and has two years of eligibility remaining…Played 2016-17 season at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo…Averaged 17.2 points and 8.0 rebounds in first year of college at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill…Named Freshman of the Year and First-Team All Region 24 in first season …Averaged 23.4 points and 8.9 rebounds for Eagles in senior season at West Craven HS…Brother, Josh, plays at USC-Upstate.