GREENSBORO - North Carolina A&T head men's basketball coach Cy Alexander has seven seniors to replace for the 2013-14 season, so he got an early start in trying to complete the task by signing three players during the early signing period.
Forward Maurice Taylor (6-foot-7, 200, Chesnut, Mass., Beaver Country Day), power forward Bryan Akinkugbe (6-9, 225, Bowie, Md., Columbia State College) and forward Khary Doby (6-7, 195, Upper Marlboro, Md., Riverdale Baptist) have signed on to be A&T Aggies next season.
"We think these young men will have bright futures at North Carolina A&T," said Alexander. "We signed a young man from the Northeast, which shows we can go into that part of the country and find players. We're also signing young men from outstanding high school programs. All three young men add versatility to our lineup, so this is a good foundation for our first recruiting class."
The versatility starts with Taylor. Alexander envisions him being able to play shooting guard, small forward and even a little point guard. He can defend all three of those positions as well. Taylor is one of the most highly rated players coming out of the Northeast. He averaged 10.8 points per game last season. He was honorable mention all-conference in an elite league, and he has earned first-team all-tournament honors in three different AAU events. He was also honorable mention all-tournament at the prestigious Springfield Tournament in Massachusetts.
"Maurice Taylor can really finish around the rim," Alexander said. "He has a strong basketball IQ because his father is a high school basketball coach. He is going to be a slasher who we can play at multiple positions."
Akinkugbe is a player Alexander and A&T associate head coach Jay Joyner know well. Akinkugbe played for Joyner when Joyner was the head coach at Columbia State College and Alexander was the associate. During the 2011-12 season, he averaged 6.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. He will add size and toughness to the Aggies frontline next season.
"Bryan really runs the floor well," said Alexander. "He also gives us an inside, outside presence. He can stick the jump shot, but he'll also get in there and rebound. He is an excellent athlete."
Doby will play on the wing for the Aggies. He is a preseason first-team All-Beltway selection going into the 2012-13 season at Riverdale Baptist. He averaged 8.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior, and he was named Sixth Man of the Year.
"I think this will be an excellent opportunity for me," said Doby. "I really like the coaching staff and the players, and I think if I work hard, I will have opportunity to play next year."
Alexander likes the fact that Doby comes from a major high school program.
"He can really shoot the basketball," Alexander said. "I can see him making an impact; I can see all three men making an impact for us next season."
Alexander says he plans to complete the replacement of his seven seniors in the spring when he looks to add three or four more signees.