FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona men's basketball coach Jack Murphy has signed five student-athletes to his first recruiting class, including four prep standouts and a transfer from Texas Tech.
Forward Jordyn Martin of Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, forward Blake Hamilton of Pasadena (Calif.) High School and guard DeWayne Russell of Peoria (Ariz.) High School have signed National Letters-of-Intent to attend NAU this fall. Murphy also got commitments from former Tempe McClintock standout forward Cameron Forte, a transfer from Texas Tech University, and Sunnyslope guard Bryce Gosar.
"It is an exciting time for NAU Athletics and the basketball program," said Murphy. "We are welcoming in five great student-athletes. They have excelled both in the classroom and on the basketball floor. They all bring interesting intangibles to our team. They are great scorers and playmakers and are skilled athletes that will bring a high level of athletic ability. We are excited to bring them in as Lumberjacks."
Martin helped Palo Verde High School to the Sunset Regional title game, averaging 11 points and nine rebounds as a senior. Martin's father player football at NAU and his mother, Tammy, also attended the school.
"Jordyn has great lineage here at Northern Arizona," said Murphy. "He is the student body vice president at his high school and an outstanding student. He was looked at by numerous Division I schools and was the first young man to commit to me and the University so he is very special to me in my heart. He has an aggressive attitude on the court. He is a great rebounder and his body will continue to develop. I think he will have a bright future here at NAU."
Hamilton was a Pasadena Star News All-Area selection after scoring 16 points per game, while grabbing 11 rebounds with four blocks per game as a senior for coach Tim Tucker. He scored 25 points with six rebounds, four steals and three assists in a second round state playoff game, following it up with 22 in the next contest. He helped his team to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA state title. Hamilton's cousin, Jordan Hamilton, plays for the Denver Nuggets in the NBA and his father played at UTEP for Don Haskins.
"Blake is a young man who I called the first day I got the job," said Murphy. "We got into his recruiting late but early into my head coaching career at NAU. He is an outstanding young man and a fantastic individual. He led his team to the CIF championship and comes from a great basketball family. He has a wonderful mother and father who have raised him into the young man he is today."
Forte, a transfer from Texas Tech, will also join Murphy's Lumberjacks. He originally signed with Texas Tech after averaging a state of Arizona best 36.2 points and 12.7 rebounds during the 2010-11 prep season. He led the nation in scoring during his senior season before finishing sixth overall. He also averaged 21.9 points and 7.7 rebounds as a junior in leading his team to the state title. He was a member of the Arizona Republic's All-Arizona team in 2011. He scored a Class 4A state record 60 points in a contest against Queen Creek Combs, two points shy of the overall big-school state record of 62 points by Dennis Dairman of Phoenix North against Phoenix Carl Hayden in 1960. He went 26-for-36 from the field, 1-of-3 on three-pointers and 5-of-10 on free throws with 16 rebounds and eight assists in that contest.
"Cameron is transferring back to be closer to home," said Murphy. "He is a great scorer and very aggressive offensive player with two fantastic parents. We are looking forward to adding him to the fold. He is also an outstanding young man who has done very well academically at Texas Tech and he is looking forward to doing that here."
Russell, a 5-10 guard from Peoria High School, averaged an Arizona-best 27 points per game to lead his team to a 27-3 record and state Division II title under coach Michael Serwa. He also averaged 5.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.8 steals while making 66 percent of his three-pointers on the season. Russell was named The Arizona Republic's Big School (Divisions I-II) Boys Basketball Player of the Year and to the All-Arizona Division II first-team.
"DeWayne Russell led Peoria High School to the Arizona state championship," said Murphy. "He moved here from Philadelphia and really wrapped his arms around the state of Arizona. I think it was important for him to stay close to home. He is an outstanding scorer, leader and creator. He is a wonderful athlete and young man with a great personality and I think he will become a fan favorite here at NAU. He has a heart that can't be measured."
Gosar, who played for Ray Portela at Sunnyslope High School, averaged 21.6 points per games last season in helping the Vikings to a 21-8 record. He was a member of the All-Arizona Division II second team as selected by The Arizona Republic.
"Bryce is a great creator and shooter," said Murphy. "He has always had a desire to be here at NAU. His family has a great background tied to the school and the Flagstaff area. Bryce is going to be wonderful addition to our program. I really look forward to Bryce growing here not only as a student but an athlete."
2011-12 Northern Arizona Recruiting Class
Jordyn Martin, F, 6-7, 210, Las Vegas, Nev. (Palo Verde)
Blake Hamilton, F, 6-5, 190, Pasadena, Calif. (Pasadena)
Cameron Forte, F, 6-6, 200, Fr.-RS, Tempe, Ariz. (McClintock/Texas Tech)
DeWayne Russell, G, 5-10, 155, Peoria, Ariz. (Peoria)
Bryce Gosar, G, 6-1, 178, Phoenix, Ariz. (Sunnyslope)