Lehigh men’s basketball coach Brett Reed announced the incoming recruiting class of 2021 will feature two Midwestern guards.
Marques Wilson II and Caleb Bennett have both signed their National Letter of Intent, and the two will make up the class of 2021.
Both Wilson and Bennett play guard and were highly coveted by many other schools. Wilson, a 6 foot 4 shooting guard, is ranked as the No. 8 recruit in Oklahoma. Bennett, also a 6 foot 4 shooting guard, is ranked as the No. 4 recruit in Missouri, according to 247sports.com.
Even with the team set to have six guards returning next year, the two are believed to have an opportunity to contribute next season. The team plays with a relatively small starting lineup by choosing to play with three guards.
Only one of the three starting guards, senior Austin Price, will not be back next year. Both will have a chance to play alongside guards, junior Kahron Ross, sophomore Kyle Leufroy, junior Lance Tejada, junior Brandon Alston and freshman Jordan Cohen.
Senior Tim Kempton believes this played a big part in the two players’ decisions to sign with Lehigh.
“They will be able to grow and play along side players like (Leufroy) and (Ross) who will be able to mentor them from the moment they step on campus,” Kempton said. “At the same time they’ll be able to make a big impact on the team from day one, which is always a big part of a guy’s reason to commit somewhere.”
During their visit to Lehigh, the new recruits spent time with the players and were given a tour of the school and facilities where they listened to pitches about why the school is the right place for them.
The recruits met Dominic Carlineo, the assistant strength and conditioning coach, during their visit. Upon meeting the recruits, Carlineo makes sure to give a pitch of his own and explain what he has planned for them.
“We let them know how we look forward to getting to work with them as freshman,” Carlineo said. “We make sure to inform them about the fact that our goal isn’t to make them ‘bigger, faster, stronger’ like most strength coaches harp on.”
Carlineo said instead, the team focuses on making the players into better athletes and better basketball players.
“They won’t go to the varsity house and ‘work out’, they’ll step into another atmosphere where they’re expected to compete and play basketball,” Carlineo said.
Even though Kempton won’t get the chance to play with either of the players, he is still aware of the elite skill set the players possess and is happy they chose to continue their careers at Lehigh.
“Both players are big time scorers who we are pleased to bring around,” Kempton said. “They fit in with the team on their visits and that’s what I think at the end of the day made their decision easy.”