SYRACUSE, NY. – June 24, 2010 – The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball program has signed three outstanding high school seniors to National Junior College Athletic Association Letters of Intent. Jesse Gates (Liverpool), Tom Graf (Jordan-Elbridge), and Jordan Prior (Cortland) have all signed and committed to continue their education and basketball careers at Onondaga in 2010-2011. They will join seven players from the 2009-2010 team who have signed Letters of Intent to return next season.
Gates, a 6’4” forward, comes to Onondaga as one of the Lazers’ most decorated players in recent years. He was a 1st Team All-Central New York selection as both a junior and a senior, and was an 8th Team All-State selection in Class AA as a junior. In addition, Gates was a two-time 1st Team Central New York Counties League All-League selection. He was a three-year varsity player for Liverpool, and averaged 21 points and 13 rebounds per game.
Graf, a 6’2” shooting guard, was a three-year starter for Jordan-Elbridge. He led the Eagles to their best season in over a decade this past winter, and averaged 23 points and 9 rebounds per game in the process. He was a two-time Auburn Citizen All-Star, and a two-time team Most Valuable Player. As a junior he averaged 17.5 points per game and led Section III Class B in made three-point goals.
Prior, a 6’ combo guard, was the Most Valuable Player of his Cortland team this past winter, leading the Purple Tigers to the Onondaga High School League Freedom American Division championship. He was a unanimous 1st Team All-League selection, and averaged 13.8 points and 4 assists per game, setting a school record for assists in a season. He was a two-year varsity starter, and a three-sport athlete, also competing in football and tennis.
Gates, Graf, and Prior will join seven returnees to form the nucleus of the 2010-2011 team. Returning are point guard Andrew Lucio (Solvay, 5.1 ppg, 4.9 apg), and forwards Heath Stone (Chittenango, 7.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Jake Johnson (Tully, 6.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg), and Trevor Jackson (Bay Shore, 1.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg). Forward Scott Cotter (Marcellus), who missed almost all of last season with an injury, and two redshirts, swingman Kevin Corbin (Cicero-North Syracuse) and center Zach Ryan (Liverpool), round out the returnees.
Onondaga will look to extend its streak of 10 consecutive post-season appearances in 2010-2011. Last year, the Lazers won 5 of their last 6 Mid-State Athletic Conference games to finish 3rd in the conference and advance to the conference semi-finals. Onondaga will open the 2010-2011 season on November 6, at the Northampton Community College Tip-Off Classic.
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