Justin Hammonds has opted to leave the Air Force basketball team, though he’ll remain at the school. This comes a month after losing guard Cameron Michael and on the heels of losing five key seniors, including one of the program’s all-time greats in Michael Lyons. It was no sure thing that either Hammonds or Michael would have started, but they certainly would have seen significant minutes.
So, where does this leave Air Force? If the starting lineup is constructed entirely out of returners, the probable starting five will be PG Tre’ Coggins, G Max Yon, F Kamryn Williams, F DeLovell Earls and C Marek Olesinski. However, there’s a good chance at least one of those spots will be contested by the nine freshmen who have completed basic training and are now officially part of the freshmen class.
Here’s a look at those nine:
F Kyle Broekhuis – 6-6, 195, Colorado Springs (CSCS)
The younger brother of Falcons center Taylor Broekhuis, who graduated in May, Kyle averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds last year for the USAFA Prep School, leading the team with 27 offensive boards.
F Austin Flues – 6-8, 195, Aloha, Ore. (Century HS)
The only member of the class arriving directly from high school, Flues is a solid perimeter shooter who may fit the mold of recent graduate Mike Fitzgerald.
F Hayden Graham – 6-6, 190, Austin, Texas (Anderson HS)
Was named Athlete of the Year at his high after averaged 16.1 ppg as a senior, helping his team to a 25-9 record. Averaged 7.6 points in 10 games at the prep school.
F Nick Jorgensen – 6-6, 200, Minnetonka, Minn. (Hopkins HS)
Described by Pilipovich as “hard-nosed,” Jorgensen led his high school to three consecutive 4A state titles and one semifinal appearance. He averaged 7.4 ppg at the prep school, finishing second on the team in assists, third in steals and fourth in rebounding.
G Zach Kocur – 6-3, 190, Centennial (Arapahoe HS)
Scored 14 ppg for the prep school and led the team in rebounding (4.8) and assists (2.6) while shooting 58 percent from the field and 50.4 percent (65-of-129) from 3-point range. Played point guard for Arapahoe, which he led to 5A runner-up finish as a senior, scoring 23 points in the title game.
C Eric Lewis – 6-7, 225, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Horizon HS)
Blocked 16 shots in 30 games for the prep school, while averaging 4.6 ppg and shooting 50 percent from the field. As a senior at Horizon, averaged 11.2 ppg and just under 10 rpg.
G Callum Long – 6-5, 195, Flagstaff, Ariz.
A strong perimeter shooter, Long averaged 10.4 ppg at the prep school, shooting 56 percent (73-of-129) from the field and 53.2 percent (25-47) from 3-point range. Ws two-time Arizona Daily Sun Player of the Year at Flagstaff HS.
C Darrius Parker – 6-7, 215, Allen, Texas
An athletic post player, according to Pilipovich, Parker led the prep school with 27 blocks and was third on the team in rebounding and third in scoring. Averaged 10.1 ppg and 6.7 rpg as a senior at Allen HS.
F Joe Tuss – 6-8, 195, Las Vegas (Durango HS)
His 96 3-pointers as a senior were the fifth-most in Nevada that season, as he averaged 18.5 ppg. He shot 82.4 percent (28-of-34) from the line at the prep school last year.