With three senior starters in the backcourt set to graduate, the Pepperdine men’s basketball team landed three young guards for next season, as head coach Marty Wilson announced that the program signed Trae Berhow of Minnesota, Colbey Ross of Colorado, and Jade' Smith of Northern California to national letters-of-intent.
With four scholarship seniors on this year’s team, the Waves could still sign one more player before next season.
“Our staff did a great job of identifying and building relationships with these three young men who will fit greatly together and with our basketball team,” Wilson said. “They are definitely OKGs – our kind of guys – on and off the court. They all come from great families that support them and have helped them be successful. We believe that they will all have the opportunity to compete right away on the court, and will bring great value to our university as well.”
Berhow is rated as one of Minnesota’s top 10 players.
“Trae has the ability to shoot the ball from deep, from mid-range, off the catch or by creating his own shot," said Wilson. "He is an athletic, big wing who will be able to defend multiple positions.”
Ross was the Colorado state Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior.
“Colbey is a very smart, tough and confident guard who can hurt a defense in a multitude of ways," said Wilson. "He is a very good passer who sees plays before they happen. He can also be on the receiving end by knocking down jump shots from deep or off the pull up.”
Smith (Oakland, Calif./St. Joseph Notre Dame HS) has won two state high school championships and was rated as one of the nation’s top 100 seniors at one point.
“Jade’ is a player that can hurt you in a variety of ways on both ends of the floor," said Wilson. "His confidence and quickness allows him to score, shoot and create off the dribble. He is a very athletic, big guard who can play on or off the ball.”
Pepperdine begins the 2016-17 season with a three-game homestand, facing Cal Poly tonight (Nov. 11), Weber State on November 15 and Life Pacific on November 17. All three games will be at 7 p.m. and will be shown online via WaveCasts on TheW.tv.
Here are the important details about each of the Waves’ recruits:
Trae Berhow, 6-foot-5 wing / Watertown, Minn. / Watertown-Mayer HS
Rated as one of the top 10 players in the state by NorthernExposurePreps.com, Berhow also earned All-Area status as a junior after averaging 25.7 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. He is a four-year varsity player.
NorthernExposurePreps.com wrote: “Trae Berhow is one of the most complete prospects in the class with his ability to impact the game on both sides of the ball at a high level. Berhow can take over games offensively with his ability to get hot from beyond the arc as well as take defenders off the dribble finishing around the rim at a high rate.”
Colbey Ross, 6-foot-1 guard / Aurora, Colo. / Eaglecrest HS
Colorado’s state Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior, Ross earned CHSAA All-State 5A honors and Denver Post All-Colorado first team status after averaging 18.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals. Ross was given a rating of 69 by ESPN and is a two-star recruit.
The ESPN Insider site says: “Ross has a solid frame with decent length and budding skills. He is a point guard who has a solid burst off the dribble and can finish in the lane. He pushes the ball well in the open court and his head is always up looking for open teammates. He can rub his defender off of screens and locate open shooters as well.”
Jade’ Smith, 6-foot-4 guard / Oakland, Calif. / St. Joseph Notre Dame HS
Smith averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals as a junior as St. Joseph won the CIF Division V state title. Although he was injured for a significant part of his sophomore season, Smith was at one time rated among Scout’s top 100 players in the nation. ESPN rated him by a score of 75, listed him as a three-star recruit, and proclaimed him one of California’s top 25 players.
The ESPN Insider site says: “Smith has an ideal Division I frame with long arms and with room to add good weight. He isn’t a true point guard at this stage in managing the offense, but he does have the savvy and skill set to mold into a point guard. He is quite effective attacking off the dribble and his pull-up game is very good. He shows excellent touch in the mid-range area and his jump shot out to 15 feet is smooth. In addition to his ability to score consistently at the rim and mid-range, he can also be an astute passer. He is quite good at the drive and kick as well as the drop-off pass in the mid-range area.”
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services