Mocs Basketball Team Adds Five New Recruits This Spring
(GoMocs.com) CHATTANOOGA—The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team won a school-record 29 games, claimed an 11th Southern Conference Championship and advanced the NCAA Tournament for an 11th time in the DI era. Coach Matt McCall announced the 2016 signing class Thursday building on a great foundation.
The class includes three from high school/prep ranks, one junior college and one high-major transfer. All five have a minimum three years of eligibility.
“First and foremost, the two biggest things that we thought we needed to address going forward is skill and toughness,” McCall noted. “I feel like that is going to be the biggest loss with our departing seniors (in 2016-17). We had to address that right away so these guys coming through the door get a taste of what it’s like to be on a high-level team.
“Each one of them brings a little something different to the table.”
Guards Rodney Chatman, David Jean-Baptiste and Makale Foreman bring a varying set of skills to the backcourt. Chatman is a natural point guard, while Jean-Baptiste and Foreman play off the ball.
“Rodney Chatman has elite feel (for the game),” McCall explained. “He’s got elite feel with the ball in his hands…terrific in the pick-and-roll.
“David Jean-Baptise is a winner. You want to surround your program with winners. The guy won three state championships at a power program in Florida. Another guard that has terrific speed but also good instincts on the wing and can shoot.
“Makale Foreman has toughness. His brother (Malik) is obviously an elite athlete who plays football at Tennessee. Makale can really, really shoot. With losing Eric (Robertson) and Dee (Oldham), two of your better 3pt shooters, you’re adding two weapons in David and Makale that can really, really shoot it on the perimeter.”
Chatman earned Georgia Class 4A All-State mention as a junior and senior at Lithonia High School and is a two-star prospect per verbalcommits.com. He turned in a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against North Clayton during a season that saw him average 13.3 points, 6.2 assists and 4.1 steals per contest.
Jean-Baptiste is a three-time FHSAA Class 6A Championship winner at Norland High School in Miami. He’s listed as a three-star prospect per scout.com posting 10.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game this past season. The Vikings were 101-23 during his four-year career with the three state titles.
Foreman finished a post-graduate prep year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia after a stellar career at Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett. His Hargrave team went 47-1 this past season. Before that, he scored 1,000 points at Dobyns-Bennett earning 2015 Big Seven Player of the Year honors.
Nat Dixon joins the program from East Mississippi Community College. Nat took an interesting path after a high school career as a high-level football prospect to go with a talented basketball background. He signed to play football at Boston College out of Mosely High School (Tallahassee).
“We felt we got such production last year on a high-level team between Eric and Dee defensively, being able to guard multiple positions,” McCall continued. “Nat Dixon is a high-character kid who played his freshman year of football at Boston College. So you know he’s tough. The toughness factor adds in right there because you know Dee and Eric were two of our tougher players.
“He can come in and guard multiple spots for us and be a bigger rebounding guard like those guys were for us.”
Dixon spent one season playing as a true freshman with the Eagles before deciding to follow his heart and return to the hardwood. He has three years of eligibility remaining. He tallied 12.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and a team-best 1.3 steals per game at EMCC.
Makinde’ London (Xavier) is the high-major transfer. He played as freshmen in the Big EAST in 2015-16 and has three years remaining.
“Makinde’ London is 6-10, 6-11, and can shoot 3s,” McCall shared. “He can play on the perimeter, he can play inside…he can do a little bit of everything. Not many guys in our league are like him.”
London may be the most decorated player to join the Mocs program. The former four-star recruit (rivals.com) ranked No. 83 in his class from Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) after playing three seasons at Summitt High School in his native Nashville.
He played in 18 games as a freshman at Xavier last season flashing his potential. London combined with Sean O’Mara as his no-look pass to O’Mara led to a slam with the pair getting ESPN Top 10 Play acclaim (No. 6 on Nov. 27, 2015).
Overall, it was important to McCall to continue the momentum built in a monumental campaign.
“You’ve got to build a program,” stated the winning first-year coach in the NCAA last season. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to sustain success. Losing six seniors (after 2016-17 season) is going to be difficult. Especially these six seniors and the impact they’ve had on this program and this city.
“It’s not easy, but the bottom line is when these guys are done and walk away, no one wants to see this program take a dip. We want to sustain a high level of success. You have to be creative in recruiting. You can’t just sign high school kids, you need to mix in some transfers, maybe some guys who have played in the Big EAST.
“Just continue to build your program moving forward.”