GREENSBORO (July 13, 2017) – The North Carolina A&T men's basketball team lost several close games last season including two overtime games and down-to-the wire defeats to Georgia Tech and UMass. On Thursday, third-year head coach Jay Joyner announced the addition of seven new players to help bolster the Aggies late-game efforts.
Joyner's recruiting class consists of a graduate transfer Devonte Boykins (6-foot-2, 180, Guard, Forest City, N.C., East Rutherford HS); junior college transfers Kwei Lartey (6-4, 200, G, Atlanta, Ga., Spartanburg Methodist College) and Milik Gantz (6-3, 180, G, Harrisburg, Pa., Harcum College) and four prep signees in Kameron Langley (6-2 205, G, Greensboro, N.C., Southwest Guilford), Jalen Spicer (5-11, 165, G, Greensboro, N.C., Northwest Guilford), Mohammed Abubaker (6-8, 240, Forward, McDonough, Ga., Eagles Landing) and DeAndre Johnson (6-10, 225, F/Center, Washington, D.C., Gould Academy).
The seven players will complement the three Division I transfers – Japhet Kadji (6-7, 205, JR, F), Femi Olujobi (6-8, 233, JR, F) and Aaren Edmead (5-10, 165, JR, G) – who sat out last season. The Aggies also return four players who received significant playing time last year in Amari Hamilton (6-1, 165, RJR, G), Davaris McGowens (6-7, 230, SR, F), Raymon Pratt (6-3, 197, SO, G), Donte Watson (6-6, 185, SR, G) and Austin Williams (6-1, 175, SR, G).
“Some close games are going to get away from you. We understand that,” said Joyner. “Unfortunately, we lost too many close ones. We wanted to add some guys we believe can be closers. Along with the players we had sitting out last season, in my estimation, we not only added personnel who can make big shots or make the right play down the stretch, we've added players who are willing to defend until the buzzer sounds.
In addition, I think we established a foundation for our future with four excellent freshmen, and I think we've become a quicker or more athletic team.”
Boykins played three seasons as a combo guard at Georgia Southern before graduating and transferring to N.C. A&T. The Aggies are looking for Boykins to bring the defensive intensity he showed at GSU to Greensboro. During his career at GSU, he averaged 3.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 16.9 minutes per game, while connecting on 31 percent of his 3-pointers (44-for-142). As a prep standout, he led East Rutherford to the 2A/3A state championship in 2011.
Lartey, a shooting guard, led Spartanburg Methodist College to a regional championship and the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament as a sophomore. He finished his sophomore season averaging 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 55 percent from the field and 49 percent from 3-point range. He played his high school basketball at Archer in Lawrenceville, Ga., where he earned all-region, all-county and all-metro honors while averaging 13.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Gantz, a combo guard, was a third-team JUCO All-American. He spent two seasons at Harcum, where he led the Bears to 50 wins and a district championship in 2016. As a sophomore, he averaged 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. He became Harcum's all-time assists leader with 384 during his JUCO career. He finished his career with 711 points, 378 rebounds and 122 steals. He played his high school basketball at Bishop McDevitt.
Langley was a two-time player of the year in the All-Piedmont Triad Conference. He was also a first-team HSXtra All-Area selection for public school players as a junior after averaging 15.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 3.2 steals per game. Langley helped Southwest to a 27-3 record, the regular-season conference title and the fourth round of the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs. As a senior, he led the Cowboys to the 4A championship and was named the title game's most valuable player. He participated in the East-West All-Star Game. Spicer and Langley will now team up after being adversaries during their high school days. Spicer scored more than 1,500 points and dished out better than 1,000 assists during his prep career. He also participated in the East-West All-Star Game.
Abubaker is originally from Nigeria before coming to the U.S. and playing at Eagles Landing in Atlanta. He was a first-team all-region and third-team all-state standout. He averaged 15 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks his senior season. Johnson adds more height to the Joyner's recruiting class. He was an all-state and all-region player in the D.C./Maryland and Virginia area. For his career, he averaged 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. He played one year of prep basketball at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine.