Willamette Announces Men's Basketball Recruiting Class for 2014-15 Season

Incoming Class of Seven Ready to Contribute

By Brandon Chinn, Student Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- After the departure of a four-player senior class that featured the 'Cats leading scorer and best three-point shooter throughout the 2013-14 season, the Willamette University men's basketball team has some big shoes to fill.

In an effort to fill that void and provide additional depth to the Bearcat roster, Head Coach Kip Ioane has announced the incoming recruiting class for the 2014-15 season.

Although there is one Oregonian in the group, the seven-player recruiting class is coming to Willamette from all across the country. Two players are moving north from California, while two other members are heading down to Oregon from Washington.

One member is traveling from Texas, and the final athlete resides in Colorado.

At the start of the 2013-14 season, the Willamette men's basketball program implemented a junior varsity team in addition to the varsity roster. All of these incoming recruits are eligible to compete on either team based on their performance in the fall.

The 2014-15 Willamette men's basketball recruiting class:

Dylan Critchfield

Dylan Critchfield (6'8", Broomfield, CO/Standley Lake HS)
At 6'8", Critchfield will qualify as the tallest player on Willamette's roster. He averaged eight points and eight rebounds per game as a senior at Standley Lake High School. He also represented a defensive presence in the paint, notching 1.1 blocks per game. Critchfield was a Jeffco League Honorable Mention All-Conference selection in 2014.

Coach Ioane on Dylan:
"Dylan is a throwback big man. He wants to be on the block and he has the skill set to make plays when down there. We are very excited to add a post player of his skill set and demeanor to the roster."

Brendon McCullough

Brendon McCullough (6'1", San Antonio, TX/Home schooled)
McCullough was a versatile performer on his FEAST Home School team as a senior last season. He finished second on the team in scoring at 14 points per game and averaged five rebounds per contest. On the court McCullough served as a defensive anchor, leading the squad with three steals per game. His efforts helped lead FEAST to a 29-win season in 2013.

Coach Ioane on Brendon:
"Brendon is a point guard who can lead a team, attack gaps, and guard opposing perimeter players. We are excited for his ability to create and compete for time when arriving this fall."

Conin Oishi

Conin Oishi (5'10", Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS)
Oishi was named All-League Honorable Mention in the Wesco South District after averaging nine points per game last season. As a senior, Oishi also hauled in three rebounds and managed 2.5 steals per game.

Coach Ioane on Conin:
"Conin is a natural point guard who competes his tail off. He was instrumental in guiding his school to a historic playoff run and we love the energy he plays the game with."

Matt Peeler

Matt Peeler (5'10", Portland, OR/Lincoln HS)
Peeler averaged seven points and five assists per game in 2013. He also produced three rebounds and a steal per game. Peelar's efforts helped guide Lincoln High School to a 13-win season and a trip to the OSAA 2014 State Playoffs.

Coach Ioane on Matt:
"Matt has a great feel for the game, and that hoops IQ will allow him to grasp our system quickly. He competes his tail off on defense and can get shots for himself and his teammates."

Nathan Sherfey

Nathan Sherfey (6'4", Chehalis, WA/WF West HS)
Sherfey received plenty of accolades as a senior at WF West High School. He was named First Team All-Evergreen League and First Team All-Area after averaging 16 points per game. He also shot an efficient 58 percent from the field. In addition to his basketball honors, Sherfey was named Second Team All-Evergreen League in football as a defensive back last fall.

Coach Ioane on Nathan:
"Nate brings us a dynamic shooter who is versatile enough to play a two, three or four [position]. He had an outstanding high school career, and we look forward to him growing into a special player here at WU."

Casey Thornton

Casey Thornton (6'5", Santa Rosa, CA/Maria Carillo HS)
At 6' 5", Thornton has the ability to play in the post and up on the perimeter. He averaged just shy of a double double last season, recording 13 points and nine rebounds per game prior to an injury which kept him sidelined a majority of the season.

Coach Ioane on Casey:
"Casey is a great athlete with the ability to make shots from range and finish plays above the rim. His senior year was cut short due to injury, but he will be full go for us this fall."

Nico Troplent

Nico Troplent (6'4", Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS)
Troplent averaged 12.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season. He provided a disruption in the back court, managing 2.1 steals per contest. Troplent helped lead Cathedral High School to a 15-8 overall record, including an 8-2 league mark.

Coach Ioane on Nico:

"Nico is versatile enough to compete at all perimeter positions. He is a humble kid who works his tail off and has a chance to impact our program immediately."

Kip Ioane enters his sixth season as the Bearcats' head coach.

Kip Ioane enters his sixth season as the Bearcats' head coach.