Looking for reinforcements after a storybook season, the Southern men’s basketball program added four newcomers during the spring signing period.
Friday, the Jaguars added two more — including one with a familiar face.
Southern has signed 6-foot-7 post player Aaron Alston of Hesperia, Calif., and 5-foot-10 guard Michael Harrel, a former Southern Lab standout who has transferred to SU after spending two seasons at Southeastern Louisiana.
Alston will help bolster a frontcourt that was shallow and undersized last season, even as the Jaguars surprised the Southwestern Athletic Conference with a 13-win turnaround and second-place finish.
Southern lost two seniors from last year’s team, and both of them were frontcourt players: 6-8 center/forward Quinton Doggett, the team’s leading rebounder (7.8 per game) and second-leading scorer (12.3 points per game), and power forward Fred Coleman, who started all 31 games, averaging 4.2 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Alston, a junior-college transfer, will come to Southern with three seasons of eligibility.
“(Alston) brings length and versatility to our program,” SU coach Roman Banks said. “We needed some guys with some athleticism that can play above the rim. Obviously, with three years (left), we will be able to work with him a little bit differently than we would be able to work with other junior-college transfers.”
Alston played one season at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash., where he averaged 16.6 points and 8.0 rebounds. He was named Northwest Athletic Association Community College Freshman of the Year.
“Aaron learned a lot in his time, and we’re proud he was able to earn a scholarship at Southern,” said Jim Roffler, his junior college coach. “He should have a great time in the bayou.”
Harrel, on the other hand, is much more familiar with Baton Rouge. He averaged 24 points and 4.0 assists as a senior at Southern Lab in 2010, when he was named to The Advocate’s All-Metro team. Harrel signed with Southeastern, where Banks was assistant head coach, and played in 30 games over two seasons, averaging 1.7 points and 1.1 assists in 9.0 minutes.
Harrel left the SLU team early last season.
“We’re excited about having him join our basketball program,” Banks said. “He can help us (get) quicker because he’s played in the system where I coached before, and we do some of the same things. His understanding will far surpass that of a first-year player in our program.”
Southern signed four other newcomers in April: 6-foot-4 shooting guard Yondarius Johnson of Plain Dealing, 6-4 shooting guard Devonse Reed of Dallas, 5-10 point guard Chris Hyder of Dallas, and 6-7 post player Damian Goodwin of suburban Atlanta.