So. Oregon recruits expected to add shooting touch

Three transfers and three high school seniors have signed national letters of intent to play men's basketball at Southern Oregon next year.

Transfers Juston Smith (San Jose State/Hawaii Pacific), Lonnie Ridgeway (Alaska-Anchorage) and Ryan Staker (Central Arizona CC/UC Irvine) and freshmen Dex Daum (Churchill High School/Fallon, Nev.), Daniel Lide (Spanish Springs High School/Sparks, Nev.) and Matt Carpenter (Ketchikan High School/Ketchikan, Alaska) all will suit up for the Raiders in 2009-10.

"Our challenge was to help strengthen a talented returning group, find more shooters and help us prepare for the future," SOU head coach Brian McDermott said. "I feel with this group that we've accomplished that. The transfer guys have all played at a very high level and will be able to contribute immediately. They add to our athleticism and to our ability to score inside. The young guys can all shoot the basketball. Over the years, we have not had a group of high school kids enter the program that can shoot like these guys."

Smith, a 6-foot-3 wing, averaged 11 points and 5.6 rebounds at Hawaii Pacific during the 2007-08 season and shot 53 percent from the field. The senior-to-be played high school basketball with current Raider Humphrey Jackson.

"He brings us tremendous athleticism at the wing position," McDermott said. "At 215 pounds, he is strong enough to go inside and bang, but quick enough to play outside. Being with us the whole spring has been a huge advantage."

Ridgeway, also a 6-3 wing, averaged nine points and five rebounds at Alaska-Anchorage last year as a sophomore.

"Lonnie is another strong, athletic wing," McDermott said. "Built like Juston, Lonnie is more of a slasher on offense. With a 6-10 wing span, he finishes strong about the rim. With his long arms and strength, he is capable of guarding quickness out front or post guys inside."

Staker, a 6-8 post, saw limited minutes at NCAA Division I UC Irvine last year as a junior. At Central Arizona CC, Staker left his mark as one of the best big men in the country. As a sophomore, Staker averaged 15.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and over two blocks. The rebound total ranked third in the Nation.

"Ryan is a big strong man," McDermott said. "He can finish with either hand and plays strong around the rim. I expect Ryan to be one of the league's best inside guys."

As for the freshmen, Daum and Carpenter both are wings and Lide is a point guard.

Daum (6-4) averaged 17 points, 10 rebound and four assists at Churhill High School in Fallon, Nev.

"Dex is a very athletic wing that can really shoot the ball," McDermott said. "Having been a quarterback and a pitcher, he has learned a lot about competing and leading. Dex is the kind of player that fills up the stat sheet with ability to pass, rebound and score."

Carpenter (6-2) averaged 15 points at Ketchikan (Alaska) High School.

"Matt is a tremendous shooter with unlimited range," McDermott said. "He is very good at using screens and can pop up and shoot off a screen with great range. I see Matt being a zone buster for us for years to come."

Lide (6-0) went for 10 points and four assists at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks, Nev.

"Daniel is the consummate lead guard," McDermott said. "He is a pass first point that also has the ability to score when needed. He plays extremely hard, can get to the rim and can also knock down the three. Daniel has a very high basketball IQ and will solidify the point guard position for a long time."

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