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Breaking down Griffin recruiting class

Canisius basketball photo by Erica Morano

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

The Canisius College men’s basketball team must replace five seniors (four starters) averaging over 20 minutes per game, and yesterday’s recruiting class is a solid start, even if it will pay greater dividends two years down the road instead of next season.

The two “gems” of the class—Freddy Asprilla, the monster center (6’11” 280) who’s transferring from Kansas State, and 6’3 guard Isaac Sosa, the former Central Florida marksman—will both be forced to sit out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules. 

Without those two talented and experienced pieces, returning players Gaby Belardo, Chris Manhertz, Reggie Groves and Alshwan Hymes will be joined by Jose Agosto, Kevin Bleeker, Josiah Heath, Franklin Milian and Harold Washington. 

The Tennessee native Agosto is ranked as a one-star low major prospect by ESPN, but his strengths are as follows: “Strong and skilled inside force plays with passion and can knock down shots from the perimeter with a smooth consistent mid-range stroke. A hard charger off the glass on both rebounding blocks and has the ability to finish with either hand inside after contact.”  Although he’s a bit of a “tweener” position-wise, he’ll provide solid depth—an area that Coach Tom Parrotta wanted to address with this recruiting class.

Bleeker, the eligible recruit that The Buffalo News’ writer Rodney McKissic is most excited about, is 6’10 with soft hands and a honed shot.  You can never have enough 6’10 guys with soft hands.  He’s a Netherlands product with U-18 national team experience, and it looks like his finesse skill set complements Manhertz’s brute strength nicely. 

Heath is the most “local” product of Parrotta’s class—the 6’9, 230 pound forward from Section V champion Irondequoit put up jaw-dropping numbers in 2011, averaging 24 points and 16 boards.  Blessed with soft hands from years playing baseball, Heath wants to expand his outside game this summer to become harder to defend. 

From a Section V basketball coach that saw Heath play:  “Dominated in high school.  Decent little jump shot but really raw as far as true back-to-the-basket post skills.  Should be able to rebound [at next level] but needs to add bulk.”

Milian is a 6’4 guard from the same high school that produced Marial Dhal—from a YouTube clip and training video, Milian’s game resembles a very poor man’s Paul Pierce.  He’s a physical guard that won’t shy away from contact, his jump shot is a little awkward (but has a high release point), and he’s not a tremendous leaper.  For the Griffins, he’ll earn his buckets through effort and persistence, not sheer athleticism. 

Washington helped Cecil College to the second round of the NJCAA National Tournament this winter.  He’s known for being kicked off the Quinnipiac team in 2008 for intimidation based on bigotry and bias after he was a victim of a racially-based hate crime.  His cousin is the Boston Celtics’ small forward Jeff Green. 

Ashton Khan, Rokas Gricius and Eric Kindler have left the Golden Griffins under varying circumstances.  Parrotta and Khan mutually agreed to part ways—Khan was suspended for a stretch last season for theft along with red-shirt David Santiago, who remains with the team but still is under suspension.  Gricius, graduating this spring, will pursue non-basketball professional opportunities.

TAGGED: basketball, canisius college, college basketball, maac basketball

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