Nov. 25, 2008
BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Atlantic University men's basketball Head Coach Mike Jarvis announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent.
The class includes three of the top high school seniors in the state of Florida and a McDonald's All-America nominee from Coolidge High School in Washington D.C. The four recruits are all-state point guard Ray Taylor (Plantation/American Heritage High School), two-time Gainesville Sun "Player of the Year" Greg Gantt (Gainesville/Gainesville High School), 6-foot-6-inch forward Jordan McCoy (Orlando/Olympia High School) and all-DC1AA forward Andre Mattison (Washington D.C./Coolidge High School).
The incoming class is expected to attend FAU for the Fall 2009 semester and play for the Owls in 2009-10.
"The first thing we want is great kids, character people," says Jarvis on his recruiting philosophy. "Not only are we getting four outstanding basketball players, but every one is a National Honor Society student. So we are getting kids that are coming here for all the right reasons, to improve as basketball players but also to receive a great education which they will get at Florida Atlantic."
Jarvis is adding a dynamic point guard with exceptional quickness and ball-handling ability with Taylor, who led Miami Pace High School to a 4A state championship title in 2007. Taylor transferred to Plantation's American Heritage High School as a junior and averaged 15 points and eight assists, drawing recognition from the Miami Herald as one of Broward County's best guards.
"Ray Taylor is the best little player in America - period," says Jarvis. "He is fun to watch. I am going to have so much fun coaching him and watching him. I may have to be careful not to just sit back and watch him, as he does things with the ball that only a very few people can do. He is so gifted, he is so quick. Every little kid in South Florida should want to come see him play."
Gantt has been widely-recognized as one Florida's top shooters. The 6-foot-3-inch guard averaged 19 points per game as a junior, leading Gainesville High School to a Final Four appearance in the 5A state tournament in 2008. The Florida Sports Writers Association honored Gantt as a First Team 5A guard and the Gainesville Sun twice named him its "Player of the Year."
"One of those special guys," Jarvis said about Gantt. "He is about 6-foot-3, just turned 17 years old, is a lefty and strong. Built a lot like a kid I coached some time ago, Rumeal Robinson, who went to Michigan and won a national championship. He shoots the ball with range. Great shooter, I can't remember too many games this summer where he got less than four, three-pointers. And he does other things. He can rebound, defend and if he grows - watch out."
Mattison is a 6-foot-7-inch forward who has a 7-foot-1-inch wing span and cleared 11 rebounds per game as an All-Washington D.C. IAA selection as a junior. An exceptional student, Mattison has made the "Principals List" at Coolidge in each of the past three years and ranks second in his high school class. The Washington Post reported that Mattison considered offers from Harvard and Cornell universities.
Both Mattison and McCoy should give the Owls additional length and athleticism in key positions. "Andre has the longest arms," says Jarvis. "I saw him do some things just because of his length that most players can't do. He will be able to play the four and the three, and will develop into a great rebounder."
McCoy helped one of the nation's top prep programs, Olympia High School in Orlando, go 24-3 last season and advance into the 2008 6A district semifinals. PrepNation.com ranked Olympia No. 17 nationally among all high school teams in its preseason Top 25.
"What I love about Jordan is that he does the little things," says Jarvis. "Every shot that was taken during the summer, he boxed somebody out. I am getting a player that works until he drops. He is 6-foot-6, lanky, still growing and he can play multiple positions. I just love his energy."
McCoy has earned All-Metro Conference honors as one of the league's most talented front court players.