Nov. 10, 2004
Clemson, SC – Clemson Head Coach Oliver Purnell has signed three student-athletes to national letters of intent. The announcement was made Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period. Clemson’s 2005-06 freshman class will include Raymond Sykes, a 6-9 forward from Jacksonville, FL, K.C. Rivers, a 6-5 wing player from Charlotte, NC, and Julius Powell, a 6-7 forward from Newton, NC.
Purnell brought in five freshmen to the Clemson campus for this season and he said Wednesday that the group he signed for the 2005-06 season continues the same theme. “We signed long, athletic players last year and we continued that theme today,” said Purnell, who will start his second season as Clemson’s head coach on November 19 when the Tigers play host to Hampton. “These three young men will help our athleticism, our defense, and our shooting.”
Rivers is ranked in the top 100 in the nation according to Hoop Scoop (49th), Prepstars (65) and Rivals.com (92). A member of the nation’s top ranked high school program, Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, Rivers scored 11.2 points per game and added seven rebounds and four assists per game as a junior. Oak Hill, under head coach Steve Smith, posted a 38-0 record last season, and was named USA Today’s National Champion.
Rivers made 48 percent of his three-point shots, including 15 in one game to establish an Oak Hill record. He made 15-24 three-point shots in the 45-point performance against Bishop McGuinness of Kernersville, NC. Rivers played his freshman and sophomore years at Independence High School in Charlotte, where he averaged 24 points per game as a sophomore.
This past summer Rivers was one of 25 high school players who participated in the USA Men’s Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs, CO. The event is conducted by USA Basketball.
“K.C. is one of the top all-around players in the nation,” said Purnell. “He can post up inside, but he can also shoot the three, as he proved last year when he made 15 threes in one game. He has a very good basketball I.Q. and is also a strong player at 6-5 and 210 pounds.”
Powell is a 6-7 forward from Newton, NC and Newton-Conover High School where he plays for coach Steve Litton. Powell is ranked 61st in the nation by Hoop Scoop and is 104th by Prepstars. He averaged 22 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and three steals per game as a junior. Powell was named the conference player of the year and first-team all-conference for the third consecutive year.
“Julius can really shoot it for his size,” said Purnell. “He also has the toughness on the inside. He is a quick jumper who will help us at both ends of the court.”
Sykes averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds and nearly 10 blocked shots per game last year for Head Coach Criswell Foye at Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, FL. “Sykes has been compared to Sharrod Ford at a similar stage in his development,” said Purnell. “He has a lean body who has an ability to block shots. He is a quick jumper who will help our defense.”
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