Unknowns and Undervalued

Posted On: 09/4/19 1:00 PM

Barring any last minute decisions, the college destinations of the Class of 2019 in Oregon have been determined and this month, many of those getting ready to start their college basketball careers will have enrolled in school.  Here’s a list of those who are heading to the Division II level.

Prospect Height Position High School College
Zack Baugher 6’7 SF Santiam Christian Western Oregon
Jonathon Nchekwube 6’7 PF Jefferson Colorado Mesa
Joey Rodrick 6’4 SG Cleveland Humboldt State
RJ Veliz 6’2 PG Woodburn Western Oregon
Collin Warmouth 6’4 SG Roseburg Western Oregon

Breakdown: After a large contingent last year, there’s a smaller group of D-II signees from the Class of 2019. Western Oregon landed three of them, starting with Zack Baugher signing early and sticking with his commitment after the change from former coach Jim Shaw.  Collin Warmouth, last year’s 6A leading scorer, made a late decision to sign with new head coach Wes Pifer and he was joined by RJ Veliz who had originally signed with St. Martin’s before deciding to stay closer to home.

Two standouts from the PIL decided to head to D-II programs out-of-state.  Joey Rodrick found an opportunity in Northern California at Humboldt State, a school that has signed numerous Oregon prep players over the years, and developing big man Jonathon Nchekwube will move on to Colorado Mesa from Jefferson after previously playing at Churchill and Oakridge.

Here are some players who are Oregon high school graduates prior to 2019 who will be making their D-II debuts in 2019-20:

Prospect Height Position High School College
Parker Gaddis 6’4 SG Southridge ’15 Colorado-Colorado Springs
Amari Hale 6’1 PG Central Catholic ’17 Alaska-Anchorage
Demonte Malloy 6’3 SG David Douglas ’17 St. Martin’s
Jordan May 6’3 SG Reynolds ’17 Point Loma Nazarene
John Morrill-Keeler 6’9 PF Pacific ’18 Western Oregon
Amari Stafford 6’4 SG Jefferson ’17 Central Washington
Russell Tillery 6’0 PG Grant ’16 Concordia (Ore.)
Geno West 6’2 SG Jefferson ’17 Concordia (Ore.)

Breakdown: As usual, a number of players will continue their careers at the NCAA Division II level after starting elsewhere.  Amari Hale and Amari Stafford both played last season at Eastern Arizona JC, a program that has hosted for Oregon preps for many years.  Both move on to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference as Hale inked with Alaska-Anchorage and Stafford signed with Central Washington.  Demonte Malloy, who spent the past two years at South Puget Sound, whittled his choices down choosing to follow his JC coach Aaron Landon to St. Martin’s. John Morrill-Keeler, who excelled at 1A Pacific, moves on to Western Oregon after just one year at Umpqua CC.

It’s been a few years since Parker Gaddis graduated from high school at Southridge, but he parlayed a great sophomore campaign at Clark (WA) CC to earn a scholarship at Colorado-Colorado Springs. Jordan May heads down to San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene after a successful two-year stint at NAIA Eastern Oregon while Geno West, former 6A First Team All-State honoree and state champ at Jefferson, comes back home to Portland from Idaho to be a key player under new head coach Rodrick Rhodes at Concordia. Also joining the Cavs is Russell Tillery who sat out last season after competing at the JC level for two seasons.