ASHLAND — Southern Oregon University men’s basketball coach Brian McDermott has finalized the team’s latest recruiting class, announcing Tuesday the signings of three freshmen-to-be and one transfer to Cascade Conference letters of intent.
Teron Bradford of Oregon City High (Ore.), Kiefer Edwards of Crater High (Ore.) and Jake Virga of Jesuit High (Calif.) will join Tez Allen, a redshirt last season, to make up a freshman class that McDermott believes is the most promising since he arrived at SOU 22 years ago. Kaj Bansen, a junior-to-be from Linn-Benton College (Ore.), will round out a Raider roster that lost just two seniors after going 20-12 in 2017-18.
“This is a recruiting class that we believe will put us in the upper tier of our league and we hope in the NAIA,” McDermott said. “We think this class will help make us as deep as any team in the nation, and it includes great students, very athletic players and unselfish kids. I can’t wait to work with them.”
The signees are listed alphabetically below:
KAJ BANSEN, 6-5, FORWARD, LINN-BENTON C.C.: Bansen most recently served as an assistant on the Roadrunners staff after playing his second and final season in 2016-17. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals. He was especially dangerous from the 3-point line, where he shot 37 percent with over two makes per game.
McDermott on Bansen: “Kaj will provide some immediate experience on the wing and help to replace the shooting that Ben DeSaulnier and Kenny Meyer brought to our team. He’s a big guard who shoots with great range and is an above-the-rim finisher. His coaching experience is invaluable for a young guy and will help him be a leader on our team.”
TERON BRADFORD, 6-0, GUARD, OREGON CITY HIGH: Bradford, the younger brother of former SOU women’s basketball all-stars Toria Bradford (2015-18) and Tiani Bradford (2013-17), and current Oregon State receiver Trevon Bradford, succeeded in establishing his own first name as a senior at Oregon City. After garnering all-state recognition as a defensive back and receiver for the Pioneers football team, he jumped into basketball season and became the Mt. Hood Conference Player of the Year and a second-team OSAA Class 6A All-State selection. He posted 22.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest, including a career-best 38-point game, and finished among the top-100 scorers in state history with 1,581 points.
McDermott on Bradford: “We were extremely excited to be able to put the finishing touches on a wonderful recruiting class with a young man who is an elite athlete and a great fit on our team. Teron can play both guard spots and will be able to guard all three wing positions. He has a certain calmness on the floor that makes his game look like it comes easy, and he’s another very good shooter, but also someone who can get to the front of the rim in traffic.”
KIEFER EDWARDS, 6-6, FORWARD, CRATER HIGH: Under former Raider player and coach Chris Schmerbach, Edwards was voted the OSAA Class 5A Player of the Year after pushing the Comets to a No. 1 ranking, a 25-3 record and a fifth-place finish at the state tournament. The state’s leader in dunks averaged 20.5 points, shooting 63 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3, and 11.6 rebounds. Edwards, a three-time Midwestern League all-star, wrapped up as Crater’s career leader in points (1,467), rebounds (672) and wins (43).
McDermott on Edwards: “Kiefer is a very well-rounded player who had a huge roll in turning around the Crater basketball program. His ability to play above the rim will stand out but it’s only one of many great qualities: He shoots with range, will be a very good rim-protector and is an active rebounder. And although he has a slight frame, he doesn’t seem to get pushed around. He’s a wonderful person and should fit right into our program.”
JAKE VIRGA, 6-0, GUARD, JESUIT HIGH: Virga’s strength and deep shooting range made him an adept playmaker early on in his prep career at Jesuit, and during his senior season he put up 13 points and five assists per game. He was first-team All-Delta League for the second time, received top defensive honors, and was selected to play in the Sacramento area’s Large School Classic in the Optimist All-Star series.
McDermott on Virga: “Jake is an outstanding combo guard whose best attribute is toughness. He will not be afraid to challenge folks at the rim and will stick his nose right in the middle of everything defensively. We expect him to be a top on-ball defender immediately, and he’s an outstanding shooter who already has range well beyond the 3-point line. He’ll improve our overall team toughness on day one.”