JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 27, 2013) – ETSU men’s basketball head coach Murry Bartow announced Wednesday that the Buccaneers have added transfers Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.), Tommy Williams (Augusta, Ga.) and Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) to the team’s 2014-15 roster.
Bates is a 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward who has played collegiately at both Northeastern and Tennessee State, but will be eligible to play as a fifth-year senior thanks to meeting NCAA requirements by earning his degree back in the spring at TSU. As for Williams, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound wing will be eligible immediately following two seasons at East Georgia State College.
Meanwhile, Jurkin is a 7-foot, 230-pound center who will sit out this season after transferring from Indiana University. He will have two years of eligibility left beginning with the 2015-16 season.
“All three of these young men fit what we are looking for in our program,” Bartow said. “They are talented student-athletes, but more importantly they are great guys and come from good families. Each of them will help make our program better.”
Bates played two seasons at Northeastern, then sat out the 2012-13 season before playing his redshirt junior year at Tennessee State in 2013-14. He averaged 10.7 minutes a game and played in 29 contests for Tennessee State, averaging 1.6 rebounds per game. Bartow said Bates is expected to provide a veteran presence on the inside for the Bucs, with a strong emphasis on defense and rebounding.
“What Alex brings is just a lot of experience,” Bartow said. “He’s an older guy who understands the college game. He will have the longest wingspan on our team and will give us the length we need at that position, especially when it comes to rebounding and defense.”
Meanwhile, Williams started 28 of 30 games for East Georgia State last season, playing 21.1 minutes per game, averaging 12.5 points per contest, and shooting 51 percent from the field. Known for his athleticism and strength, Bartow said Williams should fit in well with the Bucs’ style of play.
“When you look at Tommy you see a guy with a lot of versatility that can play multiple positions,” Bartow said. “In junior college he played primarily in the post, but we see him as someone who can play the 3, 4 or 5 positions on the floor. He’s really strong and athletic.”
One of the top recruits in the country prior to the 2012-13 season, Jurkin averaged 14.8 points and a team-best 8.1 rebounds while playing for former NBA veteran Muggsy Bogues at United Faith Christian Academy. A three-star recruit according to Rivals.com and Scout.com, Jurkin saw limited playing time during his two years with the Hoosiers.
“In my 11 years here at ETSU, we’ve never had anyone like Peter in our program,” Bartow said. “He’s battled some injury issues in college, so our goal is to get him back to the form he had in high school. Once we do that, he will be a real difference maker for us. His length and ability to block shots, along with his shooting touch and offensive skills make him a special player.”
This trio joins signees Desonta Bradford (Humboldt, Tenn.) and Karl Overstreet (Lynchburg, Va.) to round out the team’s 2014-15 recruiting class.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2014-15 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.