Head coach Tom Penders
April 20, 2009
April 20, 2009
HOUSTON - San Jacinto college forward Maurice McNeil became the newest member of the University of Houston men's basketball team when he signed a National Letter of Intent last weekend.
McNeil joined the Cougar program after spending the first two seasons at San Jacinto for head coach Scott Gernander. As a sophomore, he averaged team highs of 19.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game on the way to being named to the All-Region XIV First Team.
McNeil, who is a native of New York, started 16 of 30 games as a freshman during the 2007-08 season, averaging 12.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
A 6-foot-9, 215-pound player who will compete at UH as a junior in 2009-10, McNeil attended University Park Prep in Houston, where he averaged 20 points and 21 rebounds per game for head coach Elmer Lucas.
"Maurice is an extremely athletic player that has an amazing wingspan. He runs the floor, is very active on the glass and can finish inside," head coach Tom Penders said. "He is perfect for what we do and what we want to do, which is run and press."
McNeil chose Houston over Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma State and USF.
With the addition of McNeil, the Cougars' signing class grew to four student-athletes. McNeil joined guard Nick Haywood (Ouachita High, Monroe, La.), forward Kendrick Washington (Huntington High, Shreveport, La.) and forward Kirk Van Slyke (West Point Prep/College Park High, The Woodlands, Texas), who each signed late last week.
However, McNeil is the oldest member of the signing class with Haywood, Washington and Van Slyke competing as freshmen in 2009-10.
In 2008-09, the Cougars finished with a 21-12 overall record and advanced to the College Basketball Invitational for the second straight season. It was the program's fourth postseason appearance in the last five years.
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON MEN'S BASKETBALL SIGNEES
Updated as of 11:30 a.m., April 20, 2009
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl.-Exp. Hometown-High School (Last School)
Nick Haywood G 6-0 165 Fr.-HS Monroe, La.-Ouachita
Maurice McNeil F 6-9 215 Jr.-JC New York, N.Y.-University Park Prep [Houston] (San Jacinto JC) Kirk Van Slyke F 6-9 215 Fr.-HS The Woodlands, Texas- College Park (West Point Prep)
Kendrick Washington F 6-7 270 Fr.-HS Shreveport, La.-Huntington
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON MEN'S BASKETBALL SIGNEES BIOS
6-0 165 Freshman-HS
Monroe, La.-Ouachita High
ABOUT NICK HAYWOOD
Versatile athlete with an award-winning prep background... Point guard who can handle the ball but remains an offensive threat... Capable of playing point or at the No. 2 position... Pushes the ball up the court well and finds open teammates... Capable of scoring on the break and is a good penetrator... Talented student-athlete who is a leader on the court and in the classroom.
OUACHITA HIGH SCHOOL
Lettered for head coach Casey Jones... Talented all-around student-athlete who was named to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Academic All-State Honorable Mention with a cumulative 3.5 grade-point average. Senior (2008-09): Helped lead the Lions to the Class 5A state championship in Louisiana.... Class 5A Most Outstanding Player... Averaged 19.3 points, 5.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game... Honored as the Class 5A state championship game Most Valuable Player after scoring 19 points in win over Hahnville High... Was the first basketball state championship in school history... Named to All-District 2-5A First Team.. Junior (2007-08): Named to All-District 2-5A First Team, All-Northeast Louisiana Second Team and All-State Honorable Mention... Recognized as the Lions' Offensive Most Valuable Player.
Born Oct. 21, 1990... Cousin of former legendary player and current director of operations and performance enhancement Michael Young.
6-9 215 Junior-JC
New York, N.Y.-University Park Prep [Houston] (San Jacinto JC)
ABOUT MAURICE McNEIL
Tall, athletic player who runs the floor well... Regular performer at the No. 4 position in junior college and scored most of his points in the paint... Possesses a solid jump hook.
SAN JACINTO COLLEGE (2007-09)
Lettered for head coach Scott Gernander. Sophomore (2008-09): Led the Ravens with 19.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game... Earned place on All-Region XIV First Team. Freshman (2007-08): Started in 16 of 30 games... Averaged 12.8 points per game, third best on team... Connected on more than 54 percent from the field and posted 8.4 rebounds per game... Also added 32 blocks and 20 steals.
UNIVERSITY PARK PREP
Lettered for head coach Elmer Lucas... Averaged 20 points and 21 rebounds per game to lead the Wolverines as a senior.
PERSONAL Full name is Maurice Dominic McNeil... Born Jan. 29, 1987, in New York... Son of Michelle McNeil... Has three brothers... Also recruited by Arizona, USF, Oklahoma State and USF.
KIRK VAN SLYKE
6-9 215 Freshman-HS
The Woodlands, Texas-College Park (West Point Prep)
ABOUT KIRK VAN SLYKE
Shooter who will be an offensive weapon from the perimeter... Not afraid to work for offensive rebounds inside... Has a quick release and NBA range from the perimeter... Smart player who knows the game... Studied and played at West Point Prep a year ago and will benefit from that experience.
WEST POINT PREP (2008-09)
Lettered for head coach Cory Sinning... Member of Knights team that finished with an 8-15 record... Led or tied for the team lead in scoring in 15 games... Scored 29 points in a win against Queen City Prep... Recorded a season-high 37 points with 11 rebounds for his first double-double against Cayuga Community College... Finished with 35 points in an overtime loss to Edison Junior College... Helped lead the Black Knights into the championship game of the Blackburn Tournament with 28 points against Worcester Academy... Recorded 29 points in a loss to South Kent School and led the Knights with 29 points against Edison Junior College.
COLLEGE PARK HIGH SCHOOL
Lettered for head coach Clifton McNeely. Senior (2007-08): Named to All-District 15-5A First Team after averaging 17.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game...Scored 13 points with 10 rebounds against Oak Ridge High... Finished with 28 points and three 3-pointers against The Woodlands High.
Full name is Kirk Joseph Van Slyke... Born Sept. 7, 1989.
6-7 270 Freshman-HS
Shreveport, La.-Huntington HS
ABOUT KENDRICK WASHINGTON
One of the most dynamic players in the Ark-La-Tex... Also was an award-winning defensive end for the Huntington High football team... Possesses tremendous size but still runs the floor well.
HUNTINGTON HIGH SCHOOL
Lettered for head coach Mack Jones. Senior (2008-09): Earned place on the Class 5A All-State First Team after averaging 19.4 points and 17.5 rebounds per game... Named the All-City Player of the Year... Helped lead the Raiders to the Top 28 for the second straight season... Named an Athlete of the Week by KSLA for Dec. 10 after helping lead Huntington to an 11-0 start... Did not play football during his final prep season. Junior (2007-08): Honored as the Class 5A Most Outstanding Player to help lead the Raiders to the Top 28... Played for head coach Michael Green in football... Finished with 81 tackles, including 23 for a loss, 9.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.
Full name is Kendrick Montrez Washington... Chose Houston ove3r Marquette, Arkansas and Oklahoma State... Born June 15, 1991.