University of Alaska adds more NWAACC men's basketball depth
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The Alaska men's basketball program continued to add more talent and experience this offseason, this time bringing offensive firepower and versatility with the signing of four players for the 2014-15 season. Head coach Mick Durham announced Alex Duncan (Boise, Idaho/Whatcom CC), Ashton Edwards (Compton, Calif.), Adam Griffin (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) and Kyle Tomlinson (Mesa, Ariz.) have all signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Nanooks.
The signings bring Durham's and the Nanooks' 2014-15 class up to 10 players, having already inked Kyle Carlson (Fairbanks, Alaska), Eric Fongue (Zurich, Switzerland/Whatcom CC), Isaac LaDines (Arlington, Wash./Skagit Valley College), Reese Robinson (Anchorage, Alaska), Derritt Scarver (Tracy, Calif.) and Ruben Silvas (Tucson, Ariz.).
(See related article on Fongue and LaDines)
Duncan, a 6-foot-2-inch guard, averaged 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 27 games last season for Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. Duncan played alongside Fongue with the Orcas, as the duo helped lead the team to a Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges North Region title and a berth in the NWAACC championship tournament.
"I see Alex's versatility as a strength," said Durham. "He's played point guard and off guard primarily at Whatcom Community College and I see him doing the same for us. He does a lot on the floor for his team to win besides scoring, averaging seven rebounds and five assists per game."
Duncan was a NWAACC All-North Region Second Team honoree and was also named to the NWAACC All-Academic team. He shot 32 percent from behind the 3-point arc last season and 85 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 10 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game during his freshman campaign of 2012-13. Duncan plans to double major in psychology and communication at Alaska.
Edwards, a 6-foot guard, was the second leading scorer for Long Beach (Calif.) City College in 2012-13, earning First Team All-South Coast Conference South Division honors by averaging 19.4 points per game to go with 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest. Edwards sat out the 2013-14 season to complete his associate degree and will come to Alaska with plans to major in communication and minor in business.
"I'm excited about Ashton and his scoring mentality that he brings to our program," said Durham. "He has a great desire to be successful both on and off the court and I think he's really looking forward to the challenges of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference."
Edwards shot 41.2 percent in 2012-13 for the Vikings while averaging a team-high 34.5 minutes per game. His career best game came in his final junior college appearance when he scored 37 points against El Camino Compton Center.
Griffin, a 6-foot-1-inch guard, averaged 10.4 points and 2.7 assists per game at Santa Monica College last season. Griffin started 20 games for the Corsairs, who went 14-12 on the year, and shot 38.6 percent from downtown while grabbing 2.0 boards a game. He plans to begin his academic career at Alaska majoring in general studies.
"Adam will be a good fit for us, playing both point and off guard," said Durham. "He shoots the ball very well from 3 and also can create for his teammate. Adam's best basketball is ahead of him, as he is a very determined young man."
Tomlinson will join the Nanooks' front court as a 6-foot-4-inch forward out of Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz. Tomlinson's Mesa CC team won the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference title last season with a 20-2 conference record and 26-5 overall. The ACCAC also produced departing senior forward Andrew Kelly (Gilbert, Ariz./Justice) and incoming player Silvas.
"Kyle will add depth to our forward positions and brings a winning attitude with him," said Durham. "Kyle gained valuable experience this year while playing on a very good team at Mesa Community College, and had a big impact on their 26-5 season record."
Tomlinson played in all 31 games for the Thunderbirds last year, averaging 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He proved his ball-handling skills by chipping in 1.5 assists per game and tallying 13 steals and seven blocks. Tomlinson was top-10 in ACCAC conference play for assist/turnover ratio, ranking ninth at +2.1. He plans to major in justice upon arriving at Alaska.