With the new school year beginning, seven new students will be joining the Drover ranks of the USAO men’s basketball team.

Assistant coach Vinson Metcalf said he thinks the crop of recruits immediately will contribute positively to the team.

“We are very excited about every one of them because we think they are going to come in and make a immediate impact on our program,” Metcalf said. “We have eight returning players, so to get these type players coming in to go with these guys already in the system, we are very excited about this upcoming year.”

Six of USAO’s new players are transferring in from different colleges and one is directly out of high school.  Metcalf has specifically high hopes for the freshman, Ben Berry, out of Mustang High School.

The 6-foot-3 forward was a top scorer and strong defender for the Mustang Broncos. Averaging 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, he was selected as a Metro Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

“We think he is going to make an immediate impact as a freshman in our league,” Metcalf said. “He plays with such energy, and he has a knack for rebounding and playing good defense. The sky is the limit for Ben, and we look forward to having him on our team.”

Two recruits from Division I schools, Brandon Cutler from Stephen F. Austin, and Kyle Hunt from Middle Tennessee State, will bring height into a program looking for an inside presence. Both players are nearly seven feet tall.

“We lacked an inside presence last year,” Metcalf said. “Our team performed with what we had very well but we needed an inside presence.

Also joining the ranks will be two transfers from Clarton College, Javier Ramos and Tyron Williams, both of whom will likely play guard.

“Both are extremely versatile players,” Metcalf said. “Those guys respectfully averaged 15 or 16 points at their junior college.”

To finish the lineup, Metcalf said the Drovers grabbed Zacharias Lewis, from Louisiana, and Norris Rumph, who played college ball at North Dakota.

“Hopefully Zach can come in and make an impact by replacing Thomas Peters, one of our players that we lost last year that was a senioryear,” Metcalf said. “Rumph is a versatile guard and is very defensive minded.  We hope they can mesh together and play together well."

Metcalf said he hopes the new players can learn the system and gel well with the veteran players.For Metcalf the big goal for this new school year is that the seven players will be able to gel with the returning players.

“The quicker they learn our system the better off the new players will be,” Metcalf said. “We are looking forward to all the guys coming in and mesh with the returning players and that will be the big thing is that they quickly mesh with our returners."

Published: Aug. 17, 2011