The Times West Virginian

Fairmont State Sports

April 22, 2014

Calhoun, FSU land two signees

FAIRMONT — Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun is adding the finishing touches to this year’s signing class.

On Monday, the Falcons added two players who have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the team next season.

Calhoun and his staff didn’t have to go very far to find the next layer of recruits, grabbing two prospects from Ohio.

“I think we’re really starting to grow a big name in the Ohio area. That’s kind of where I grew up and the basketball is very strong there,” Calhoun said. “Thomas Wimbush was the league freshman of the year and he’s from Northeast Ohio. The word kind of gets out.”

The two players, Brad Karn and Vonte Montgomery, look to fill holes and add depth to a roster that loses just two seniors.

Karn, a 6-foot-5 swingman, is a player Calhoun hopes can make an impact with his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter.

“He’s a small forward most likely but he needs to gain weight,” said the coach. “He’s really skilled and can really shoot. He’s one of those kids that you look at and say that his best basketball is ahead of him.”

While it’s too early to tell whether or not Karn could contribute immediately, Calhoun believes he should provide solid depth off the bench for the Falcons once he goes through the summer workouts.

“Getting these guys here in the summer and into the program with our guys is only going to help,” he said. “We’ll talk to him and try to get him to gain weight. You look at Stevie Browning, who came in at 160 and is now 200 pounds. That’s what we want to do.”

The guard from Holy Name High School averaged 19.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, leading his team in both aspects of the game and garnering First-Team All-District and All-Ohio honorable mention honors. He also led his team to a district championship appearance, scoring 13 points in the team’s final game of  the season.

Montgomery, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Garfield Heights High School, allows for added competition at the guard position and also brings in another shooter for the Falcons.

“He’s more of a combo guard, more of a two,” Calhoun said about his expectations for Montgomery.

With players like Caleb Davis and Shammgod Wells taking over the point last season, Calhoun expects Montgomery to get into the mix on the defensive side of the ball and really compete for minutes.

“This kid, anybody will tell you, is pound-for-pound one of the toughest kids in Cleveland,” Calhoun noted. “Every coach that knows him loves his toughness and that’s what we fell in love with.”

Montgomery was named an All-Ohio honorable mention selection, too.

The two new faces will join Trent Elliott and RJ Hutcherson, who signed back in November. Elliott, a 6-foot-4 guard, expects to showcase his skills to fill in at a shooting guard position, while Hutcherson will likely be called upon to ease the loss of swingman Brendan Cooper’s departure.

Overall, Calhoun and the Falcons have now inked four high school athletes, which was the goal for the offseason, Calhoun said. Now, the coach and his staff will look to solidify next season’s roster with a few junior college players.

“We still need some size and a veteran point guard,” Calhoun added. “With these four impact high school kids, we can have back-to-back great recruiting classes and that’s a testament to our staff, our university and the growth of our program.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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