WINCHESTER — The Umpqua Community College men’s basketball program has currently added six players for the 2020-21 season.
Head coach Daniel Leeworthy said Thursday the Riverhawks tentatively have three players coming from Utah, and one each from Idaho, Nevada and Oregon.
The recruiting class includes Ross Reeves, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Orem High School (Utah); Jared Bagley, a 6-1 guard from Logan High School (Utah); Will Harris, a 6-2 wing who prepped at Wasatch High School (Utah); Nathan Webb, a 6-6 forward out of Madison High School (Idaho); Alexander Spaight, a 6-2 point guard from Canyon Springs High School (Nevada); and Brig Schofield, a 6-0 guard out of Brookings-Harbor High School.
Reeves and Bagley both graduated in 2018 and were Mormon missionaries. Leeworthy said Schofield, a 2019 grad, will be a walk-on.
“It’s a really good group,” Leeworthy said. “If we can get some good bigs, I think we can be just as good as we were this year.”
The Riverhawks, who lost five sophomores, finished 25-4 overall in the 2019-20 season. They were considered a contender for the Northwest Athletic Conference championship, but the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Leeworthy said he’s hoping to add a few more players to the program.
In related news, Oakland High School product Cameron Benzel will continue his basketball career at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
The 6-7 forward, a left-hander, averaged 12 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots a game for UCC this past season and was selected to the South Region’s All-Defensive Team. Benzel started and shot 59.1% from the field, 71.7% from the free-throw line and 28.6% from 3-point range.
He averaged 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in his two seasons with the Riverhawks.
“The last two years at UCC drove me to become a better player and person,” Benzel said. “I give coach Leeworthy and my teammates all the credit.”
“I’m really proud of Cameron and the progress he made,” Leeworthy said. “He improved every day. He was really good (as a sophomore), unselfish and obviously improved his perimeter game. I think he’ll fit in well (at WOU).”
The Wolves, who play in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, finished 19-8 overall and 13-7 in conference. They lost to Alaska Fairbanks in the first round of the GNAC Tournament.
Pacific High School product John Morrill-Keeler, a 6-10 forward who played his freshman season at UCC, started for Western Oregon and averaged 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds. Former Roseburg High standout Collin Warmouth, a 6-5 guard, was also on the roster.
“It feels great. I had a couple of other options, but this is a little bit of a reliever,” Benzel said. “(Western Oregon) is a really good program, I think I connected with the coaches and know a couple of guys up there. I’ll be able to play in front of my family and I’m not leaving the state, and I’m excited for the next couple of years.”
Three other players who also completed their eligibility with UCC signed with four-year schools.
Kolten Mortensen, a 6-7 forward, is headed to D-II South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Spencer Campbell, a 6-6 forward, and Tanner Quinton, a 6-2 guard, signed with D-III Southern Virginia University.
Leeworthy said Brock Gilbert, a 5-10 point guard who led the NWAC in assists and was a first-team all-league selection, has a couple of offers but hasn’t signed yet. Among the schools Gilbert is considering is Dixie State (St. George, Utah), which is moving up to D-1 for the coming season.