SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State head men’s basketball coach Brian Katz announced the signing of four freshmen to National Letters of Intent today. Combined with one early signee, the Hornets’ 2014-15 recruiting class will consist of five freshmen, including two guards, two forwards and a center.
Today’s signees are comprised of guards Marcus Graves (Westview High School) and Jiday Ugbaja (Archbishop Riordan High School), forward Mason Stuteville (Casa Roble High School) and center James Herrick (Douglas High School). They will join early signee Justin Strings (forward from Mira Costa High School) as the Hornets’ five freshmen on the 2014-15 roster.
Below is a breakdown on each of today’s four signees in alphabetical order.
Graves, a six-foot, 180-pound guard from San Diego, played his senior season at San Diego’s Westview High School after playing two years at North Carolina’s Independence High School. Graves was the starting point guard at Westview where he was a first team all-section and first team all-Palomar League choice after helping lead the team to an 18-11 record and a quarterfinal appearance at the CIF Div. I San Diego Section quarterfinals.
During that senior season, he played all 29 games, averaging 17.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting .479 from the field and .368 from the 3-point line. He notched the school’s first-ever triple-double when he had 10 points, 10 rebounds and a school single-game record 11 assists in a win against Scripps Ranch High School. In addition, his 509 points and 132 assists were the second best single-season marks in Westview history. He was recently named to the North County San Diego All-Star roster.
Prior to Westview, Graves played two years of varsity basketball at Independence High School in Charlotte, N.C. As a junior in 2012-13, he helped the squad to a 24-6 overall record, a third round appearance in the state championships, and 4A Southwestern Conference regular season and tournament titles. That season, he was a first team all-league choice and team MVP after averaging 12.4 points, 4.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
Graves’ father, Fred, has 12 years of coaching experience in the National Football League, and is currently the wide receivers coach with the San Diego Chargers. His mother, Michele, was an All-American softball pitcher for the University of Utah, and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
“Marcus is a highly skilled player who is a very good shooter and play maker,” Katz said. “He has a similar game to (current Hornet guard) Dylan Garrity in that he is a shooter that can drive. Marcus’ eyes are always up in the open court and in the on-ball, and he has a very good feel and understanding for the game of basketball.”
Herrick, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound center from Minden, Nev., played four years (three years of varsity) for Douglas High School in Minden. He helped the team to a combined 52-28 overall record and 33-10 conference mark during his three years of varsity, not to mention back-to-back Sierra League North Division titles in 2012 and 2013. Douglas HS finished his junior season ranked 10th in the state of Nevada, and 11th in the state during his sophomore season.
As a senior in 2013-14, Herrick was a first team all-Sierra League and first team all-region selection after averaging 11.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots while shooting .489 (112-229) from the field. That included 12 double-doubles (points and rebounds), and at least two blocked shots in all but three games.
As a junior in 2012-13, he was a second team all-league choice after posting averages of 6.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game. Herrick also played a year for the football (tight end) and baseball (pitcher/first baseman) teams at Douglas High School.
His mother, Tracy, played four years of basketball for Saint Mary’s in Moraga.
“James is a big, strong and powerful post player,” Katz said. “He has very good hands, and is a big man that can shoot and pass the ball. He has a tremendous amount of upside, and gives us a solid player at the 5 spot that will develop and get better.”
Stuteville, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward from Orangevale, Calif., played four years of basketball (three on the varsity squad) at Casa Roble High School in Orangevale. He is the younger brother of 6-foot-11, 240-pound freshman center Eric Stuteville.
During his final two seasons with the Rams, Mason Stuteville was named first team all-Capital Valley League both years, a six-time all-tournament selection, four-time tournament MVP choice and helped the team to a combined record of 41-18 overall and 14-6 in league.
This past year, as the team captain, he was Casa Roble’s leader in points and rebounds, and averaged 16.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting .554 from the field and .482 from the 3-point line. In addition, he was a third team all-Metro choice and selected to play in the Optimist High School All-Star game where he scored 25 points, including 22 in the first half.
As a junior, when he helped the team to a 23-9 overall record and an appearance in the CIF Div. III State Championships, he averaged better than 11 points and six rebounds per game. During his three years on the varsity squad, he was the sixth man as a sophomore, and started both his junior and sophomore seasons.
Stuteville has basketball in his bloodlines as not only is his brother, Eric, already a member of the Hornets, his father, Shannon, played hoops at Langston University in Oklahoma and his mother, Kristine, played at Cal.
“Mason is a skilled big man with a powerful body who can pass, shoot and has good hands,” Katz said. “When we signed his brother, we said Eric’s best days were ahead of him, and I truly believe that with Mason as well. He can post, he can drive the lane, and he can shoot it. We like his versatility, and he will provide matchup problems for our opponents.”
Ugbaja, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound point guard from San Francisco, played over three years of varsity basketball for Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco (he was moved up to varsity towards the end of his freshman season).
As a senior in 2013-14, he helped the Crusaders to their second straight CIF Div. III state semifinals appearance as well a 19-12 overall record and a 9-5 mark in arguably the Bay Area’s best league, the West Catholic Athletic League. He was named first team all-league, MaxPreps second team all-Northern California, team captain and team MVP that season after averaging 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Over the final seven games of the season, which were all playoff contests, he averaged 21.4 points, including 29 points in the regional semifinal victory over Campolindo High School. Of the team’s 31 games, he scored at least 11 points 27 times, including 15 games with 20 points or better. In addition, his 80 made 3-pointers set the school’s single-season record, and his seven 3-pointers against Bellarmine High School set the school’s single-game mark.
As a junior, he was an honorable mention all-league choice after helping the Crusaders to a 20-win season while posting averages of 7.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
In addition, Ugbaja, who is of Nigerian descent, played for Team Pan Africa in the Nike Global Challenge on July 17-21, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
“Jiday is an athletic guard with power and explosiveness,” Katz said. “He’s 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, and with a year or two of weight training, he will look like an NFL running back. He is a driver that can shoot, and he fits the mould of what we look for in our perimeter players as guys that can dribble, pass and shoot.”
2014-15 Sacramento State's Signees
|Marcus Graves||G||6-0||180||Fr.||San Diego, Calif./Westview HS|
|James Herrick||C||6-10||240||Fr.||Minden, Nev./Douglas HS|
||F||6-6||210||Fr.||Carson, Calif./Mira Costa HS
|Mason Stuteville||F||6-10||230||Fr.||Orangevale, Calif./Casa Roble HS|
|Jiday Ugbaja||G||5-10||185||Fr.||San Francisco, Calif./Archbishop Riordan HS|