The foursome is as diverse on the court as the cities from which they hail. The class includes a point guard, a pure shooting guard, a 6-7 wing and a 6-9 285-pound center with the potential to dominate.
The first prospects came during the early signing period in April when Jeremy Montgomery (Chicago, IL) and Charlie Woods (Lansing, MI) signed with the Vikings.
Montgomery, a 6-2, 170-pound guard out of Lincoln Park HS, is rated as a three-star recruit by rivals.com. Playing in the famed Chicago Public League, Montgomery scored over 1,000 career points and was a two-time all-league selection. Montgomery averaged 21.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6 assists per game, including over 60-percent from the field during his senior season.
"A guy that has to help us this year is Jeremy Montgomery," said Gary Waters. "He's a combo guard that can shoot the ball or run the offense. He can play some point for us this year and we need him to support in that role (off the bench)."
Woods, a 6-7 175-pound forward out of East Lansing HS, averaged 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game during his senior season when he was a first team all-state selection by the Detroit Free Press. The long and athletic forward shot 78-percent from the line and 43-percent from beyond the arc while leading his team to its deepest post-season run in 50 years. Woods was named league player of the year by the Lansing State Journal and to the class A All-State Tournament team by MichiganLive.com while also being ranked as the third best wing player in Michigan by PrepSpotlight.com.
"Charlie Woods has all the potential in the world," said Waters. "He's a pretty good basketball player right now but he can shoot the heck out of the basketball. One day I expect him to be a really good player for us."
Two weeks after Montgomery and Woods joined the fray, Waters received more good news. This time around it came from Missouri in the form of Josh McCoy.
McCoy, a 6-4, 190-pound guard from Fort Zumwalt South High in St. Peters, MO, was a two-time member of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-State first team. McCoy averaged 19.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.5 steals per game during his senior season when he lead his team to its second consecutive third place finish in the state tournament. McCoy was a three time all-league selection, including player of the year as a senior while twice being named first team all-metro by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. McCoy rounded out the honors with a spot on the Missouri All-Class Big Six as a senior. Also a stand-out on the gridiron, McCoy was the starting quarterback as a senior after being named first team all-league as a defensive back during his junior season.
"Josh has a lot of ability and he's a winner that comes from a winning program," said Waters. He can shoot the ball and he can also defend. If I can get him into our system and get him some confidence, then he can really help us."
The biggest signee, literally and perhaps figuratively as well, came in August when Waters reeled in Aaron Pogue out of Vincennes Community College.
The 6-9 285-pound Pogue was a star at Dayton Dunbar HS along side Daequan Cook and current Viking Norris Cole. While winning back-to-back Division II state titles, Pogue was being recruited by Arizona, Cincinnati, Florida, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and USC but instead landed at the JUCO level because of concerns about his grades. Pogue eventually made the grade but after being hospitalized with a gunshot wound during his senior year, he decided to enroll at Vincennes.
Now fully healthy, Pogue decided against his final year of JUCO ball and has enrolled at CSU as a sophomore. The talented big man is being treated as a transfer student and will have three years of eligibility starting with the 2009-10 season. Pogue averaged 7.1 points and 5.6 rebounds as a freshman at Vincennes, starting 14 times in 22 games.
"Aaron is a major recruit, a top 50 guy," said Waters. "He's a man out there. Aaron needed this year to get his body right, get his mind right, and to get refocused. He's going to really help us next year and he'll be a big key to any success we have. A kid that's 6-9, 275 with good feet is hard to stop. It's good to get him in now because he has a chance to fit in. He loves the school, he loves the players and the team has really embraced him."
Rounding out the class are two talented walk-ons in Tim Kamczyc (Strongsville, OH) and Ethan Anderson (Grand Rapids, MI).
Kamczyc was a special mention all-state pick as a senior when he averaged 26.1 points per game. The 6-6, 195-pound forward also played quarterback on the football team and was a second team all-state selection, throwing for over 2,000 yards on the season.
Anderson comes to Cleveland after playing only one season of organized basketball. A 6-8, 260-pound post player, Anderson picked up basketball last season at Lee Academy in Maine. Prior to the year of prep school, Anderson was an all-state tennis player at Grand Rapids High.
The six new faces will join four returning starters and eight letter winners from last season's 21-13 team that participated in the NIT. Two of the returnees, seniors Cedric Jackson and J'Nathan Bullock, have been tabbed as pre-season All-Horizon League first team choices. The Vikings open the season November 15th vs. Oakland.