Men's hoops finalizes 2006-07 recruiting class with three signees
Men's hoops finalizes 2006-07 recruiting class with three signees
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Twilley, Smith and Mishler round out class

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 12, 2006)
- ETSU men's basketball head coach Murry Bartow announced Wednesday that the Buccaneers have completed their 2006-07 recruiting class, receiving national letters of intent from three high school seniors.


Guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville, Tenn.), swingman Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and forward Blake Mishler (Metamora, Ill.) have all signed to play with the Bucs next season. These three join a five-player class that includes a pair of early signees - 6-foot-8 forward Petras Balocka (Vilnius, Lithuania) and 6-foot-4 swingman Micah Williams (Manchester, Tenn.).


"We had some specific needs to fill and we really think these final three certainly add a great deal to our program," said Bartow, whose team is coming off a 15-13 season that included a stop at the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference standings midway through the campaign. "We were very happy with our two early signees, and what we really like about this group as a whole are four players who are their school's all-time leading scorers (Twilley, Smith, Mishler, Williams). That's pretty unusual."


Twilley, a 6-foot-0, 170-pound point guard, wrapped up an impressive high school career by helping lead his Shelbyville Central High squad to the Tennessee Class AAA state championship game this past season. In that contest, Twilley scored 31 points, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds that sent the game into overtime.


A point guard with good vision and passing skills, Twilley finished his high school career as Shelbyville's all-time leader in points (1,959), assists (607) and steals (258). A first-team all-state selection by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and the Associated Press, he averaged 18.9 points and five assists per game his senior season, earning recruiting looks from Tennessee, Purdue, Mississippi State, Tulane and Chattanooga.


"Dequan is a consummate point guard," Bartow said. "Obviously, with Tim (Smith) leaving us, we felt we needed another point. Dequan is a pass first, score second point guard, but he has the ability to score the ball as evidenced by his 31 in the state championship game. He's really looking to lead a team and get his teammates involved. He was a big piece of the puzzle for us."


Smith, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound swingman from Van-Far High School, ranks as one Missouri's most prolific scorers ever, netting a total of 2,627 points in his career and ranking 14th all-time in MSHSAA history. His career stats also include 1,508 rebounds (4th all-time), 588 assists (11th all-time) and 427 steals (2nd all-time), and he helped his high school to four-straight district titles, three sectional appearances and one state championship. In his four-year career, Van-Far enjoyed four 20-win seasons for an overall 94-25 record.


As a senior, Smith scored 777 points (26.8 ppg), grabbed 414 rebounds (14.2 rpg), dished out 163 assists (5.6 apg) and collected 100 steals (3.45 spg). He earned all-state honors in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and is one of three finalists for Mr. Show Me Basketball.


"Mike is an intriguing player," Bartow said. "The number one thing is he's a two-sport star (football and basketball). In football, he was a quarterback and linebacker, so he went both ways and has toughness to him. On the floor, he has a lot of versatility. He played some at point for his high school, but at 205, he is big enough to play (forward). He's got a big, thick body, but he's capable of making threes. The one game I went to see him he made nine."


Mishler, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward from Metamora High School, also finished his prep career as his school's all-time leader in scoring (1,715 points), rebounding (760) and blocked shots (202). In a senior season which saw Metamora finish with a 20-8 record, Mishler scored a team-best 583 points (20.8 ppg), grabbed 226 rebounds (8.1 rpg), and had 85 blocks (3.0 bpg).


A first-team all-area selection and honorable mention all-state, Mishler was a unanimous all-conference pick and team MVP three-straight years. With a left-handed shot, his ability to score on the inside caught ETSU's attention.


"Blake is an interesting pickup," Bartow said. "He's a guy that's going to have to add strength, but he's really been coached well on the defensive end of the floor. He can block shots, but he still has the ability to score on the other end. That's something we've needed, a guy that can score with his back to the basket."


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