CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team has signed three players to National Letters of Intent, head coach Willis Wilson announced today. Jelani Currie (Albany, N.Y./Albany Academy), Brandon Pye (Mansfield, Texas/Timberview) and Joy Williamson (Oklahoma City, Okla./Redlands CC) have all signed on to join the Islanders program heading into the 2012-13 season.
"These three young men embody the qualities we are looking for in our players – character, toughness and talent," Wilson said. "They all have great athleticism and the type of work ethic we need to improve on the court. They are also all guys who can score in bunches, and that's an area we definitely are looking to improve in from last year. I think these three young men will all have an impact next year for our basketball program."
Williamson will have two years of eligibility remaining when he arrives at the Island University. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound forward played two years at Redlands Community College under Yaphett King. In his sophomore campaign, Williamson played in 22 games for Redlands, averaging 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He also had 42 steals on the season, and shot 46.4 percent from the field. As a freshman, he averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 boards.
"Joy is an athletic wing who can create his own scoring opportunities," Wilson said. "He's a guy who can either get to the rim or pull up with a mid-range jumper and his quickness can get him to the foul line a lot. He's a versatile, tough player who is up to the challenge of playing any position on the floor anytime he's needed to. He should push for a starting role from the moment he steps on campus."
Currie joins the Islanders program after a standout career at Albany Academy under Brian Fruscio and played his AAU ball for Jim Hart and the Albany City Rocks. The 6-foot-4, 175-pounder played in the post in high school, but will move to shooting guard at the college level. He averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals as a senior for the Cadets. He helped Albany Academy to a 13-3 record on the court, and was also a standout in track, where he won the state championship in the triple jump as a sophomore. His father, Neil, played college basketball at Siena in the mid-1980s.
"Coach Gross and I have gotten some strong players from Coach Hart in the past [Erik Cooper, Jason McKrieth, Yamar Diene] and Jelani is a guy who could follow in their footsteps," Wilson said. "His athleticism is off the charts, but he's still a little raw in his game. It may take him some time to adjust to playing more at the 2, but with his work ethic and ability, he has the potential to be an impact player for the Islanders down the line. He's a well-rounded young man from a great family, and we're excited to have him on our team."
Pye is a 6-foot-1, 165-pound guard who was a standout scorer for Timberview under Duane Gregory and played for the Dallas Showtyme under Ervin Davis in AAU ball. He led the school to a 21-15 record and a spot in the regional quarterfinals, including a 26-point performance in a 60-44 upset of Richland, which was ranked fourth in the state coming into the game. He was named the District 5-5A Co-MVP and a Star-Telegram Super Team selection after averaging 15.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
"Brandon played mostly at the point in high school, but we think he will be a guy who can have an impact at both the 1 and the 2," Wilson said. "He is a very talented player with good maturity and a strong basketball IQ. He's a guy who will push our current players immediately and could find his way into significant minutes quickly."
The three players all join 6-foot-7 forward William Nelson, who signed with the Islanders during the early signing period in November for the 2012-13 season. Nelson played two years at Hutchinson CC, where he averaged 12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds as a sophomore.