Southern Auto

7-3 Australian & 6-1 Florida Guard Sign With Monarchs

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: April 23, 2004
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April 23, 2004

NORFOLK, VA. - Old Dominion University head men's basketball coach Blaine Taylor announced the signing of 7-3, 260-pound center Sam Harris (Newnham, Tasmania, Australia), a member of the Australian under-20 national team, and 6-1, 175-pound Brandon Johnson (Orlando, FL.) from Edgewater High School, the Florida 6A State Champion and ranked No. 7 nationally by USA Today. They join fall signee 6-6 forward, Jason Thompson (Chatham, NC.), The North Carolina 1A Player of the Year.

Harris currently plays for the prestigious Australian Institute of Sport., where he has already had games of 20 and 28 points. He was also a member of the Australian under-20 National team which won a gold medal in last summers World Championships in Greece.

"Sam obviously has tremendous physical presence. As he develops we think that presence will certainly be felt on both ends of the court, " said Taylor.

Johnson averaged 12.4 points, 6.4 assists and 6.2 rebounds as he helped lead Edgewater High School to the Florida 6A state championship this year. Johnson completed his career at Edgewater with 1,040 career points, and 522 career assists. He was selected to the Florida High School second team All-State and first team All- Conference. Edgewater compiled a 109-9 record during Johnson four years for head coach Travis Jones.

"Brandon is a pure point guard who brings nice size and a winning attitude to his position. His all around abilities are very evident and yet his ability to get to the paint, or keep an opponent from getting to the paint really caught our eye."

In the fall, ODU signed 6-6 forward Jason Thompson from Chatham High School in Bear Creek, NC. He was also selected to the North Carolina East-West All-Star game to be played this summer, and played in the North Carolina- South Carolina All-Star game in March.

Thompson averaged 25.1 points, 9.2 rebounds per game with 50 steals, and hit .755 of his free throws (195-258). Thompson was selected by the NCHSA as the 1A Player of the Year. He was a second team Associated Press All-State selection (the only 1A player on the team) and was named to the Yadkin Valley Player of the Year for the second time in three years. He also earned All-conference honors for the fourth straight year. Thompson completed his career with 2,140 career points which is the school's all-time best and ranks 14th in North Carolina State High School history.

"When you sign someone in the fall you hope they have a great senior year, and he did," said Taylor. "Jason comes from a very small school and really made a name for himself and his school this year. As he handles all the adjustments to the college game, his abilities will have every opportunity to show through."

"If there is a common theme to this class," says Taylor. "It would they are bigger, quicker and more athletic which will help us to be better able to defend everywhere on the court. This is a very solid group of young men who I think will add to our programs strength both on and off the court."

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