HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac University Men's Basketball Head Coach Tom Moore has announced five recent written commitments from recruits for the 2011-12 academic year. Marquis Barnett (Bronx, N.Y.), Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.), Nate Gause (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) and Alex Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) join Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) and Zaid Hearst (Silver Spring, Md.) in comprising the Bobcats' incoming class.
"I am very excited about the group of young men we have been able to add to our Quinnipiac University Men's Basketball program this Spring," said Moore. "I think their combination of talent, size, and athleticism will make an immediate impact in the season ahead. Joined by our Fall signees, Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) and Zaid Hearst (Silver Spring, Md.), this group will be the core of our program going forward as we look to make a postseason national tournament for the third straight season."
Barnett is a 6-foot-8 forward with a reputation for rebounding and shot blocking out of Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside, N.Y. A third team All-Queens selection by the New York Post, Barnett helped the Judges to an undefeated season in Queens AA and a spot in the PSAL Class AA semifinals. After contributing five points, seven rebounds and four blocks per game as a junior for a Judges team that reached the PSAL Championship Game at Madison Square Garden, Barnett upped his numbers to 8.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.2 blocks per game in helping Coach Ron Naclerio's team to a 28-3 record as a senior. Barnett also played AAU basketball for New Heights.
"Marquis Barnett will be a welcomed addition to our frontcourt as he has proven himself as one of the better rebounders and low-post players in the New York city high school ranks," said Moore. "He flourished at Cardozo High School under Coach Ron Naclerio against the highest level of prep competition. He will bring some added size, toughness, and post defense to our program."
Conti is a 6-foot-3 guard out of Holy Cross High School in Flushing, N.Y. He ranks fifth all-time at Holy Cross with 1,120 career points and grabbed nearly 600 rebounds in his high school career for Coach Paul Gilvary's Knights. He averaged nearly 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game as a senior, earning Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) First Team recognition while leading the Knights to a 17-12 record. He was also picked to the second team in New York City by the New York Post and New York Daily News and the third team by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Conti earned all-tournament team honors at the Gonzaga D.C. Classic and the Stop DWI Tournament. He was named MVP of the 18th World Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2009. Conti also played AAU basketball for the Rising Stars and Raising Champions. In 2009, Conti led the Rising Stars to the Elite 8 of the AAU D1 Nationals. NYHoops.com ranked Conti the 13th-best player in the area in March 2011.
"Evan Conti is the classic overachiever who can shoot, pass, and handle the ball at a high level," said Moore. "A first team New York city Catholic League performer, Evan had a storied prep career for Coach Paul Gilvary at Holy Cross High School. In addition to his scoring, I am excited about all the intangibles Evan will bring to our backcourt."
Gause is a 6-foot-3 guard from Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) High School. He was named all-league, all-section and all-state after averaging 23 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game as a senior for the Pioneers. The Poughkeepsie Journal honored Gause with its player of the year award after he led Coach Brian Laffin's Poughkeepsie squad to a 21-1 record. He also earned the MVP of Large Schools Award. A 1,000-point scorer in high school, Gause also played AAU basketball for the BC Eagles, City Rocks and Trac Panthers. NYHoops.com ranked Gause the fourth-best player in the area, behind three players who committed to Big East and Big 12 schools. Gause was also ranked ahead of two players who signed with Big East schools in the NYHoops.com rankings.
"Nate Gause is a very talented guard who is a versatile threat offensively both shooting and distributing the ball," said Moore." He led Poughkeepsie High to great success under the tutelage of Coach Brian Laffin. Nate is long, rangy, and very good with the ball. He should make an immediate impact on our backcourt."
Harris is a 6-foot-8 forward from Paterson, N.J., who was a 1,000-point scorer at Paterson Catholic. He averaged nearly 18 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks per game as a senior, leading Coach Greg Barnes' Paladins to a league championship and a 15-9 record. Harris was named All-League and All-County in both his junior and senior seasons. He averaged 12.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in 2009-10, leading Paramus Catholic to the Bergen County and League Championships with a 22-4 overall record. Harris also played AAU basketball for the New Jersey Gym Ratz and the New York Gauchos.
"Justin Harris brings some much-needed size and scoring ability to our frontcourt," said Moore. "At Paramus Catholic High School under Coach Greg Barnes, Justin established himself as an elite rebounder and scorer. His combination of size, strength, hands, and touch should make him an immediate contributor to our success."
Jackson is a 6-foot-5 junior college transfer from Frederick (Md.) Community College who will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the past year due to injury. A versatile athlete at 6-foot-5, Jackson is a mismatch against shorter small forwards while his quickness and shooting ability provide problems for bigger power forwards. As a freshman at FCC, Jackson averaged 19.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 32 percent from long range. He was named first team All-Maryland JUCO, first team All-Region XX and honorable mention All-National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Jackson led FCC to the first Region XX Tournament Championship in the history of the school. At Randallstown High School, Jackson led the Rams to the Class 2A State Championship in 2007 and a runner-up finish in 2008.
"Alex Jackson is the most experienced of our newcomers, having spent a year at prep school and two years at Frederick CC under Coach Dave Miller," said Moore. "Alex is a tough, versatile forward who can play both inside and outside, creating matchup problems for the opponent. He has very good hands, a soft shooting touch, and excellent rebounding ability which should translate to our level right away."