Monarchs Sign Three Standouts

November 14, 2007
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 14, 2007

NORFOLK, VA--Old Dominion University men's basketball coach Blaine Taylor announced the signing of 6-0, 190-pound guard Marquel De Lancey (Alexandria, VA.), 6-9, 215-pound power forward Chris Cooper (Woodbridge, VA.) and 6-8, 205-pound power forward Nick Wright (Suffolk, VA.) to national letters of intent.

"We are very pleased with the group of young student athletes we have been able to attract," said ODU head coach Blaine Taylor. ODU's 76 wins the past three years are the most among Virginia schools. " We really addressed our needs to solidify our roster position by position. The toughest areas to recruit are guards with point ability and players that can give you presence in the paint. We certainly feel good about this group."

Cooper averaged 9.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots for Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, VA. Over the summer, he averaged 16.1 points and 12.4 rebounds playing AAU ball. Cooper is a Sporting News honorable mention player on their pre-season All-American rankings. He is also a member of the Hoop Booth National AAU squad where he averaged 16.2 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.

"Chris is the hardest working and quickest developing kid I have ever coached. He is a great kid and has played for me for five years," said his AAU coach Craig Boothe. "Chris has put in the hard work to develop his skills. He is very athletic, quick with great hands. He respects the game and doesn't mind doing the little things to help the team win, like diving after loose balls. This summer, Chris stepped up for us and became our team leader. I am very happy for him."

TAYLOR ON COOPER:"A very good prospect who is still maturing and growing in every way. I get a bit giddy when I think about what his future may hold as he develops and gains experience. Chris has a lot of potential. It's up to him and our staff to get the most out of that potential."

Wright averaged 12.7 points, 13.8 rebounds and 6.4 blocks for Ed Young and Nansemond River High School. Last year, Wright helped lead Nansemond River to a 25-3 record, win its sixth straight district crown and reach the state quarterfinals. "ODU is a great school with a winning program," said Wright. I can't wait to play in the Constant Center in front of my family." Wright plans to study computer engineering at ODU.

"Nick is a shot blocker and rebound specialist," said Nansemond River's head coach Ed Young. "I am very happy for both ODU and Nick. This is a great match for both. He has grown steadily, averaging in double figures for his career in points and rebounds and over six blocked shots per game. He has a great upside."

TAYLOR ON WRIGHT:" He is a rarity in that he has a chance to be a triple -double threat with the third category being blocked shots. Very explosive, and well rounded player with a good work ethic. Played in a strong program with a winning attitude and willing to make the sacrifices needed to help the team. Nick has a great smile and upbeat personality and I see him being a positive addition to our program and campus community."

De Lancey, an honor roll student averaged 17.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.5 assists last year as Mount Vernon compiled a 20-4 record, and the National District title. In addition to being honored as the District Tournament MVP. He earned All District, All-Defense and honorable mention All-Regional honors.

"ODU is a great fit for Marquel with his skills," said Mt. Vernon head coach Alfonso Smith. "He is very anxious to get to the next level. We leaned on him a lot last year and he always responded. One of those games was the overtime win at Wakefield where he was the only starter left in the game. He simply took over the contest. The key to Marquel is that he sparks us on defense and dominates both sides of the ball."

Mount Vernon also produced one of ODU's all-time great guards in Frank Smith (ODU'88) who still ranks among the nation's top 20 in career assists with 883. De Lancey was also named Most Outstanding Player at the 2006 Eastern Invitational Camp in New Jersey. He competed on the AAU circuit with the Hoop Magic All-stars.

TAYLOR ON DE LANCEY:"Very, very good athlete with a sturdy frame. He has good speed and can really push the ball and attack the paint. Marquel will give us a strong presence out front. He is a splendid young man and a good student. Of all of the guards we looked at we felt he best fits what we need, and are very pleased everything fell into place."

`In the last few signing periods we have re-tooled our roster and now feel very good about the young men who will take us in to the future," said Taylor. "We have laid the foundation for the program to sustain itself. I want to acknowledge my staff and others at the University. Their hard work and persistence has produced a group of student-athletes who want degrees, fit ODU and of course will have some fun in the Constant Center."

The Monarchs have now signed four local standouts the past two seasons.