Northern State Head Men's Basketball Coach Paul Sather has announced the signings of two commitments to the early signing period to the Wolves basketball team for next season.
Jake Johnson of St. Francis, Minn., and Ian Smith of Champlin Park, Minn., both signed their National Letters of Intent Wednesday to play at NSU.
"Jake will bring a great combination of size, athleticism and skill to our team," said coach Sather.
Johnson, who is a 6-foot-8 forward, had 11 offers from NSIC schools. Johnson averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds per game his junior season. Johnson also plays AAU basketball with the Minnesota Fury, which is the same traveling team that produced current Wolves student-athletes Carter Evans, DJ Pollard and Michael Schreiber.
"At the forward position he brings the skill set of a guard with the mindset of a post, he can take advantage of mismatches both on the perimeter and in the paint," said Sather.
"He can stretch the floor with his ability to shoot beyond the arc, and plays well above the rim to make plays around the basket. Combine that with the type of person he is and you get a total package guy. He will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the floor each night with a great competitive spirit. He's a great fit to Northern State and our basketball program."
Smith is a 5-10 point guard who averaged 12.4 points, 3.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game last season at Champlin Park High School. Smith scored 10 or more points in 15 games last season for the Rebels and scored 20-plus twice. Smith played AAU basketball with Minnesota Select.
"Ian was the guard we couldn't take our eyes off all spring and summer while we were out recruiting," said Sather.
Champlin Park plays in the same conference (Northwest Suburban) as Northern freshmen Dan Becken (Centennial) and Malcolm Seals (Anoka).
"He is a true point guard with exceptional quickness, but with a court sense and savvy that is rare. He can control a game without scoring a point, but his ability to shoot and create shots even makes him harder to guard. He's great at dictating the tempo of a game with his ability to push the ball up the floor at a high rate of speed. Ian is one of the special players that can make everyone around him better by getting them great shots in the right spots."
"Recruiting is never a one person job, our top assistant Matt Sevareid and I work together in this process and I want to thank him for the passion and commitment he brings to help recruit these tremendous student athletes. His love for NSU and our basketball program is contagious, and our recruits always feel that from him."