Verbal Commit: Zach Newkirk
Donyell Marshall finally picked up a commitment from a point guard.
On Saturday, Zach Newkirk became the 5th member of CCSU's 2019 recruiting class, joining high school seniors Trey Tennyson, Xavier Wilson, and Greg Outlaw, as well as junior college sophomore Stephane Ayangma.
From Raleigh, NC, Newkirk played last season at Brunswick Community College, averaging 7.4 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game. The Dolphins finished 22-10 and lost in the Region 10 semifinals. Newkirk is a full qualifier with three years of eligibility remaining.
The Central Connecticut offer was the lone current scholarship offer Newkirk had, but he had drawn interest from a variety of schools over the past few months; Boston University was in to see him back in February, and Cornell, Western Kentucky and Denver had also expressed interest of late. He also had an offer from George Mason way back in the summer of 2016.
Known for his quickness with the ball, Newkirk has the ability to get into the lane and finish, and has also been described as a good perimeter defender. He's shown an ability to knock down mid-range shots, though has not developed a perimeter game yet; he made just 9 of his 49 three-point attempts in 2018-19, and struggled from the field overall last year (41%).
So where does Newkirk fit in on the 2019-20 Blue Devils? As I've said before, Donyell Marshall does not bring in junior college players unless he expects them to play major roles from day 1. Tyler Kohl, Dion Bute, Joe Hugley and Jamir Coleman all played starter-level minutes right off the bat. Newkirk and Thai Segwai, who will both be sophomores next season and are the only point guards on the roster (so far) should be expected to battle for the right to play the majority of minutes at the 1. I'd give Newkirk the edge, mostly because of what I wrote above but also because of Segwai's struggles last season, though that's mostly a guess at this point.
With the Newkirk commitment, CCSU now has at least two scholarships available. According to Verbal Commits, Chris Williams is transferring from CCSU, though I've seen no confirmation on that. So I'm going to assume there are just two open scholarships as of now.
I still think that Central Connecticut could use another point guard, as well as a shooter (or perhaps a combo-guard?), as I think it'd be difficult to roll with two point guards who struggle to keep defenses honest on the perimeter. A rim-protecting big could also be on the wish list.