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Monarchs Sign Three To Standout Recruiting Class

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: April 23, 2003
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April 23, 2003

NORFOLK, VA. - Old Dominion University head coach Blaine Taylor announced the signing of three recruits, two ranked in the top 125 in what could be the strongest recruiting class in recent years for the Monarchs. Brian Henderson (Richmond, VA.), Arnaud Dahi (Ivory Cost of Africa) and Abdi Lidonde (Sutton, Mass.) Have signed letters of intent to play at Old Dominion next season. They join fall signee Valdas Vasylius of Norfolk Collegiate High School (Klaipeda, Lithuania).

Considered a top -100 recruit, Arnaud Dahi is a 6-7, 210-pound forward originally from the Ivory Coast of Africa. Dah averaged 19.5 points and 7.8 rebounds for Life Center Academy coached by Darrell Gladden. Life Center was 30-7 this year, defeating Coastal Christian for the National Christian Invitational Championship as well as the Penn-New Jersey League title.

"Dahi was very consistent for us all year," said Gladden. "He was our sparkplug." The Star-Ledger first team All-State selection scored 26 points in an overtime win against powerful Mt Zion, and 30 points with ten rebounds against Atlantic City High School.

"I immediately fell in love with the university, the arena and the area," said Dahi. "I felt more of a connection with the players and Old Dominion has a large international community." The son of Thomas Dahi and Margaret Sahui, A very strong student, Arnaud plans to major in business marketing.

"We are thrilled to have a player of Arnaud's abilities and make-up choose to be a part of our program, " said Taylor. " He has every opportunity to make his presence felt from day one. Arnaud is very explosive and very skilled, and is versatile enough to play either forward spot."

Brian Henderson is a 6-4, 185-pound guard at Varina High School averaged 20.9 points, 9.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game. He completed his two-year varsity career with 906 career points. Varina, coached by Stu Richardson was 18-8 and reached the regional quarterfinals. Henderson earned first team All-District, second team All-Region and All-Metro honors. Henderson scored 34 points against Monichan and 21 points with 12 assists against Henrico.

"He is the total package, " said Richardson. " He's a fine scorer, but can get the job done on the defensive end as well. He is one of the top high school players in the Richmond area."

"I always wanted to attend Old Dominion, even before I knew they were recruiting me," said Henderson. " I really like the coaching staff, and the Constant Center is an unbelievable facility. What a great atmosphere for college basketball." The son of Greg and Jaqueline Henderson, Brian plans to major in business and sports management.

"Brian really emerged on the scene this season. He has good basketball sense and all around abilities," notes Taylor. "His potential is bolstered by the fact he is one full year younger than his class. He won't turn 18 until November."

A consensus top 125 recruit, Abdi Lidonde is a 6-3, 185 pound shooting guard at St. Andrews. He earned first team All-New England honors and helped St. Andrews coached by Michael Hart to a 28-8 record and win the New England championship for the second time in three years.

Lidonde scored 1,896 career points at St. Andrews, located in Barrington, RI.,. He averaged 17.1 points, and 6.0 rebounds. He shot 51 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three-point range, making 119 treys this season. Lidonde scored 38 points with eight treys against Stone King, and 23 points against third ranked St. Patrick's.

"Abdi is a great kid, a very good student and an outstanding basketball player." said Hart. "He can really shoot the basketball, but he is also an outstanding defensive player."

"I was very impressed with the coaching staff and I just fell in love with the campus, the area and the arena," added Lidonde. An honor roll student, Lidonde plans to major in finance at Old Dominion. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Abdi Lidonde, Sr..

Says Taylor, "Abdi is a shooter deluxe, when you consider he shot 47 percent over a four year career. That's the kind of consistency you look for, but he brings a lot more to the table than just shooting. His ability to rebound and guard are important ingredients."

In the fall, the Monarchs signed, 6-7, 210-pound forward Valdas Vasylius from Norfolk Collegiate High School. The Tidewater Conference Player of the Year averaged 24 points, and 11.5 rebounds per game. He poured in 42 points with 27 rebounds in a game against Word of God Christian Academy of Raleigh, NC in the South Norfolk Holiday Classic. He completed his two-year career with 1,312 points and 696 rebounds.

"We went into the year knowing that this is an important time for our program, and that back-to-back solid recruiting classes would be vital for next year and beyond," said Taylor. " I really laud the efforts of our basketball staff, university representatives, and our players who helped present the program, school and area in such a positive and exciting way."

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