The Lehigh men’s basketball team has had three early signings for the class of 2020.
These signings, guard Jordan Cohen, forward Pat Andree and center Jack Lieb, vary in both position and size, which allows for multiple roles to be filled in the roster. The recruitment of men from different positions was deliberate, according to assistant coach Kyle Griffin. With key contributors Jesse Chuku and Justin Goldsborough graduating, both of whom are forwards, it was these spots especially that the coaches looked to fill.
Griffin spoke highly of Andree and his ability to shoot the ball from the outside, a trait shared by Chuku. Andree also has a very similar build to Chuku, standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing 225 pounds. He is also listed as a three-star recruit according to ESPN and 11th overall in the state of New Jersey, where he played high school basketball.
Similarly, Griffin sees Lieb being capable of replicating Goldsborough’s style of play as center. Lieb towers at 6-foot-10, 230 pounds and played high school basketball at the Brewster Academy in Illinois.
Versatility was another key part of Cohen’s game, as he is able to play at the point guard position or off the ball. Griffin said he also brings a good shooting presence that can contribute to any team. As a guard, Cohen is the smallest of the group at 6-feet and 155 pounds. Cohen also hails from the farthest location, California, where he played high school basketball for Campbell Hall in Tarzana.
Griffin also spoke highly of the character and academic ability of all three recruits.
“At the end of the day, obviously we always have to look for kids that have high academic caliber, and you also always want to recruit good kids,” Griffin said.
This is a priority also echoed in a previous interview with Chris Wakely, the assistant director of athletics recruitment. Wakely said it is important to ensure the men who are recruited want to be at the school and that they have impressed the recruiting staff with their character and record in high school.
The way Lehigh recruits for basketball is by breaking up the territory between three assistant coaches so that they can each be focused on a more distinct group. In the year-long recruitment process, the coaches also get a chance to meet and get to know the players.
One thing that has helped them in recruiting, according to Griffin, is the pedigree of former Lehigh basketball star C.J. McCollum. Now thriving in the NBA and having led Lehigh past Duke University in 2012, McCollum has shed light on the school that has helped make it easily identifiable by recruits who may not have been as familiar with it before.
Andree and Lieb, along with freshmen Matt Holba and Caleb Sedore, who will redshirt this season due to injury, will be competing for their first minutes on the court next year.
“We have some good, young bigs that have no experience, but we are going to need some of them to step up,” Griffin said.
Cohen will also look to compete for some minutes at the competitive guard position with junior Austin Price and sophomores Kahron Ross and Brandon Alston. Alston, who is out this season with a torn ACL, will return after next year.
The Lehigh coaches hold this class in high regard, saying it’s probably the top class in the league. With the addition of two redshirt freshmen in Holba and Sedore, the team can help form a younger contingent that will grow together and look to make an impact starting next year.