TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology head men's basketball coach Rusty Loyd has announced his team's recruiting class for the 2016-17 season. The seven-player class comes to Rose-Hulman from five different states, and has three players who competed in their respective state's championship game.
The incoming class joins a team that finished 17-11 last year and reached the championship game of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years.
When asked about the incoming group Coach Loyd said, "The Rose-Hulman basketball family is excited to bring this new group of young men into the program to join our tradition of winning. This group of seven is part of what we consider a great young core of players that will help continue our outstanding string of success and I expect that they will represent our institute, our team, and their families in an exemplary manner. As good a students and players as they are, I have no doubt that they are better people - which is an important component to the recruiting class and team as a whole."
The individuals (listed alphabetically) are:
6'0" Guard, Chicago, Ill.
Stats: 12.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.0apg, 2.0spg, 50% FG%, 46% 3FG%
Aoki, a 6-0 senior captain at Stevenson High School, was a member of the 2016 North Suburban Conference All-Conference Team, and an honorable mention selection to the 2016 All Lake County Team. In 2015, Ruj and his Stevenson teammates won the 4A (big school) state championship in Illinois, in which he was also a state qualifier in the IHSA 3pt Competition. In addition to his success on the basketball court, Ryuji was a Marching Band letter winner, and won awards as a science scholar and a math scholar. A National Honor Society Member and two-year letter winner, Ryuji is the son of Moto and Yuko Aoki, and is planning on majoring in biomedical engineering.
Coach Loyd on Ryuji: "Any program, at any level, loves to add guys that can shoot the basketball. In adding Ryuji, our program got one of the best shooters in the state of Illinois and, even more importantly, a proven winner. Ryuji and his Stevenson teammates were Illinois Class 2A state champions in 2015 and this experience makes him a welcome addition to our program. I think his ability to shoot the ball make him a natural wing player, but I think he can handle it well enough and make good decisions with the ball which will give him the flexibility to play the point guard spot as well. Coach Ambrose has done a great job of teaching and coaching Ryuji and I look forward to that opportunity myself."
6'1' Guard, Bloomington, Ind.
Stats: 5.1ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.0apg, 47% 3FG%
Ben Chasteen, a 6'1 guard, comes to the Fightin' Engineers from nearby Bloomington South High School. Helping his team to a 21-5 record and a 4A sectional championship, Ben, a two-year captain, received multiple team awards including the Mental Attitude Award and the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Ben is a National Honor Society member and Conference Indiana Scholar Athlete. His parents are Don Chasteen and Amy Sherrill and he plans to study mechanical engineering.
Coach Loyd on Ben: "Having been around Indiana high school basketball for over 25 years, I know the marquee programs in the state. Ben is joining us from one of those programs (Bloomington South), and under the direction of Coach Holmes, he has played with and against the best talent in the state. Ben brings a great shooting touch with him to campus and one of the best work ethics imaginable. His impact will be felt not only on the court but in every facet of our program."
6'2" Guard, Linton, Ind.
Jacob Clothier is a 6'2 guard from Linton-Stockton High School. He was a 2016 SWIAC All Conference and All Region player and helped guide the minors to a 2A Sectional Championship while also collecting honorable mention academic all-state honors from the IBCA. In addition to his time on the court, Clothier also started on the gridiron as academic all-state player and a three-year letter winner in football. Jacob is a member of the National Honor Society, he is the son of Jim and Michelle Clothier and plans to study mechanical engineering.
Coach Loyd on Jacob: "Toughness is something that can be overlooked in the evaluation of potential impact players. In the case of Jacob Clothier, his jump shot and winning pedigree are what catch your eye as a coach, but it is his toughness that truly makes him the player that he is. Having won four sectional titles for Coach Hart at Linton shows that Jacob is a winner and I look forward to him bringing that same attitude of success to our program."
6'5" Forward, Bloomfield, Ind.
Stats: 11.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.1apg
Eli Combs is a strong 6-5 forward from Bloomfield High School. Eli was a captain and four-year letter winner whose team finished as the 2016 1A State Runner-Up in Indiana. As a senior he was a member of the IBCA Academic All-State team, as well as receiving honorable mention All-State accolades. Eli was the winner of the prestigious, 2016 Ray Craft Mental Attitude Award. In the classroom, Eli is a member of the National Honors Society and was actively involved as a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is the son of John and Gwen Combs and plans to study electrical engineering.
Coach Loyd on Eli: "When you are mentioned with players such as Damon Bailey, Greg Oden, Cody Zeller and Gordon Hayward certain assumptions are made athletically, but someone should not overlook how great they are as people. Along with the group mentioned, Eli Combs is one of 130 players in the history of Indiana basketball to receive the prestigious Mental Attitude Award (since 1944 called the Trester Award, but now the Craft Award for the 1A recipient). In taking his team and Coach Britton on a journey to the 2016 Class 1A state championship game, Eli showed not only a great ability to impact the game on the court, but the traits of a person everyone would like to emulate in their daily life. I look forward to bringing his tremendous personality to campus, but also bringing his high basketball IQ and skill level to our program."
6'7" Forward, Bettendorf, Iowa
Stats: 6.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.8apg, 1.0bpg
John is a 6-7 forward hailing from Pleasant Valley High School in the quad cities area of Iowa. His team was ranked No. 1 in the state of Iowa (4A - big schools) for much of his junior and senior year. As a senior, his team was 24-2 and finished third in the state, losing on a heartbreaking buzzer-beater in triple overtime. As a junior, Pleasant Valley finished 23-3 and was the state runner-up. John is a three-year letter winner and a senior co-captain. He was a member of the MAC Academic All-Conference team. John is a member of the National Honor Society, a member of a team that won the 2015 Quad Cities Tech Challenge, and a participate in the 2016 Engineering Academy. John is the son of Rich and Teri Czarnecki, and his uncle Jerry Czarnecki is a Rose-Hulman Basketball alumnus. He plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Coach Loyd on John: "Often stats in a basketball game do not tell the whole story. In leading his team to back-to-back final four runs in Iowa Class 4A, John Czarnecki's ability to fill multiple columns of a stat sheet still did not tell the story of how he contributed to his team. For Coach Hillman at Pleasant Valley, John scored when needed, rebounded outside of his immediate area, and defended several different positions. His ability to impact the game in different areas are what make him a great player, and I think he has only started to scratch the surface of his potential. I look forward to working with him to reach that potential, hopefully sooner rather than later!!"
6'2" Guard, Cincinnati, Ohio
Stats: 9.2ppg, 1.8apg, 1.9rpg, 43% 3FG%
Michael is a 6-2 guard from Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati. A two-time captain, Michael led his team to a 16-8 record and was voted to the Greater Miami Conference 2nd team. He also participated in the Cincinnati East-West All-Star Game. Lake is a member of the National Honor Society, and will graduate from high school with Highest Honors. He is the son of Jeff and Joyce Lake, and plans to study mechanical engineering in the fall.
Coach Loyd on Michael: "After four years in one of the toughest high school basketball leagues in Ohio, and after soaking in four years of teaching from one of the state's best coaches (Coach Price), Michael brings a battle tested and high IQ resume to campus to try and make his impact felt immediately. Michael's game is highlighted by an underrated ability to shoot the ball and score when needed, but more importantly a toughness and defensive presence that did not go unnoticed by his opponents. He will be physically ready to compete right away which is unusual for any player transitioning to the college level."
6'1" Guard, San Fafael, Ca.
David is a 6-1 guard hailing all the way from St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco, California. He is a two-year varsity starter, captain, and one of the top defenders in the WCAL. He helped his team to a 16-11 record and a Central Coast sectional championship. Additionally, David led the WCAL in steals and was the recipient of the Wildcat Most Valuable Player Award. An honor roll student, David is the son of Ali Saadatnezhadi and Barbara Harris and plans to study computer science and software engineering.
Coach Loyd on David: "Coming from the Western Catholic Athletic League, one of the more competitive leagues in San Francisco, David's teams at St. Ignatius Prep under the tutelage of Coach Marcaletti competed on a nightly basis against great competition. This great competition allowed David to excel as a perimeter shooter and his defensive efforts allowed him to lead the league in steals as a senior. I cannot wait to bring him to the Midwest and allow him to impact our program both offensively and defensively on the basketball floor and with his leadership skills in all other areas of the program."