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USF Men's Basketball adds three during early signing period

University of Sioux Falls
University of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) – Sioux Falls head men's basketball coach Chris Johnson has announced the signing of James Lawson, Austin Poe and Zach Wessels to national letters of intent for the 2014-15 academic year. All three hail from the state of Minnesota.  

“As a group these are talented additions to our roster,” Johnson said. “James, Austin and Zach will be tremendous assets not only to the men's basketball program, but to the entire campus community.” 

Lawson, a 6-4 forward out of DeLaSalle High School, owns career averages of 13 points and 6 rebounds per game. The Minneapolis, Minn., native is a two-time all-conference pick and a starter on the Islanders’ back-to-back state championship teams in 2012-13. A three-year starter, Lawson is frequently tasked with defending the Islanders’ top opposing offensive threat and looks to lead DeLaSalle to a third straight state title. 

“We are thrilled that James chose USF,” said Johnson. “He has been extremely well coached in both high school and during the summers and has benefitted from the opportunity to play with and against some of the best players in the country.” 

“James can be an elite defender at our level, and his offensive game is also rapidly improving,” Johnson added.  “He can play multiple positions for us and his athleticism will fit our style of play very well.”   

Poe attends Big Lake High School (Minn.) and is a two-time all-conference first teamer entering his senior season. A 6-4, 200-pounder, he averaged a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) as a junior and also harassed opponents to the tune of a three steals per game average. Poe was also a stand-out wide receiver that hauled in 36 receptions for 615 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Hornets.  

“Austin is a great teammate and a tremendous athlete," said Johnson said. "He loves to compete, which is what caught our eye early in the recruiting process, and will bring athleticism and size to our wing positions.”

 “We believe that Austin will be able to play multiple positions for us offensively, and that he is talented enough to guard several positions on defense,” Johnson added.  “I think that he has a very bright future with us.” 

Wessels, a 6-3 senior guard from Austin High School (Minn.), averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game as a junior to lead the Packers to a berth in the Minnesota state championship game versus James Lawson’s DeLaSalle Islanders.  A two-time first team all-conference awardee, Wessels has led the Packers to consecutive Big Nine Conference titles. He joined the 1,000 point club as a junior and will join former high school teammate Tom Aase, who is red-shirting this year for the Cougars. In addition, Wessels has excelled in the classroom and is a member of the National Honor Society.

 "We are excited that Zach has chosen to attend USF; he is everything that we look for in a potential player—a great student, a winner, and someone who competes hard on every play," Johnson said. 

"Zach has the ability to make everyone around him better from the point guard position,” Johnson added.  “He is one of the toughest kids around, which has brought him success in high school and I think that will transition over well to the college game. We have very high hopes for Zach and are very happy that he chose USF.”

Courtesy: University of Sioux Falls