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.