Thursday, August 12, 2010

Texans complete recruiting class with high-rated juco star

Sports Editor

Tarleton State has completed its men's basketball recruiting class with a big splash, adding the highest-rated junior college transfer in the program's history.

Head coach Lonn Reisman announced the signing of Carrington Tankson to a national letter of intent Thursday evening, adding him to a class that includes center Nick Mosley, a transfer from Division I Houston, and high school guards Coleman Furst of Denison and Donald Dallas of Austin LBJ.

Tankson is the No. 30 rated prospect in the nation according, the same respected Web site that ranked Devon Hills No. 51 before he signed with Tarleton last year.

Tankson, a 6-4 guard who goes by "Tank," averaged 16.5 points as a sophomore at San Jacinto College after scoring 12.8 as a freshman. He was a conference MVP and all-state player for Osseo High School in Minneapolis, where he was named one of the top 10 players in Minnesota in 2007-08.

He originally chose Southern Mississippi over Michigan and Western Kentucky before learning he would have to take the Division II route.

But Tankson is fine with that, saying he feels comfortable coming to Tarleton.

"After my visit I am actually more comfortable with my decision to go to Tarleton than I was when I decided to go to Southern Miss," Tankson said in a phone interview Thursday night. "I know there's the whole Division I versus Division II thing, but for me it was always about where I felt the most comfortable."

Reisman says it's clear the Texans are getting a Division I-type player.

"We know he's a Division I talent," Reisman said. "He has a lot of versatility because he's big and strong and has good ball handling-skills. He's a great shooter but he can also penetrate and cause problems for a defense. His ability to play more than one position fills some holes for us and brings tremendous competition to our team that will make everyone better."

Tankson also considered Midwestern State and Valdosta State, but cancelled his visits to those schools after his trip to Tarleton.

"After I went to Tarleton I knew it was either Tarleton or (MinnesotaMankato (because of proximity to his home in Minnesota)," he said.

The difference, he said, was in the academics-first approach of Reisman and his staff.

"The first place coach took me was the library," he said. "That was so impressive because at other schools they took me to the gym first. That showed me that (Reisman) really cares about my academics."

Tankson said his visit also included meeting Tarleton President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio and counselors who will help him with his major in criminal justice.

"They even had my next two years planned out," he said. "What classes I should take and when so that I graduate on time, how many points I should average, everything," he said. "It made me comfortable to see that they had a plan laid out for me."

Reisman says he begins all recruiting visits with academics.

"I take players to the library and talk about academics first because I want them to think about what they want out of life after basketball," Reisman said. "I want true student-athletes who are here to graduate, and I think that is important to Tank."

Meeting other Tarleton players also helped, Tankson says.

"(Warren) Webb hosted me and he was real open and honest," Tankson said. "He didn't just tell me about all the good things, he was honest and told me about the bad things, too."

Tankson scrimmaged briefly with a handful of Texans.

"I can tell they have a lot of talent," he said. "Corin is obviously a good point guard, and Devon is a great, athletic player. They have some good big guys, too. I could see right away that the coaches are serious when they say we can win the national championship."

The Texans are coming off a 24-8 season in which they reached the Lone Star Conference championship game and the semifinals of the South Central Regional. Tarleton last qualfied for the Elite Eight in 2006 after reaching the Final Four in 2005.

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