Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson and his staff received National Letters of Intent from five new players, assembling a strong incoming recruiting class to join the Beach for the 2017-18 season.
“Today is a great day for Beach Basketball,” said Monson. “Our program is filled with optimism for next season as we feel these five student-athletes will supplement our two returning all-conference inside players, Gabe Levin and Temidayo Yussuf, and help us compete at the highest level. This class is filled with skilled, talented players, but at its foundation, it is a group built on winning. All five are from programs with a winning culture, and we welcome that attitude to get us back where our program was accustomed to being, and that is competing for championships on a yearly basis.”
The class is balanced between two incoming freshmen out of high school and a trio of junior college players. All five have great size and length that will help increase the athleticism of the team and a track record of winning that serves as an affirmation of their basketball background.
Milos Apic – F, 6-10 – Novi Sad, Serbia (Sandy Spring Friends School)
Apic came to the United States from Serbia in 2015 and spent two seasons playing for Sandy Spring Friends School in Virginia. At 6-10, Apic is a true stretch four that can shoot from distance as well as score from the post. A Washington Post All-Metro selection, Apic was a two-time all-league player and was selected to participate in both the Capital Classic as well as the DMVelite Top 80. Additionally, Apic will try out for the U19 Serbian National Team in May.
As a senior, Apic averaged 22.1 points, eight rebounds and seven assists per game after scoring 18.2 points per game as a junior. In just two seasons, he set the school record in scoring at Sandy Springs Friends School with 1,072 career points.
Deishuan Booker – G, 6-3 – Las Vegas, Nev. (College of Southern Idaho)
Deishuan Booker is a talented junior college guard who has led multiple programs to outstanding seasons. Booker spent last season at the College of Southern Idaho, where he averaged 8.2 points and 6.8 assists per game while leading his squad in both assists and steals. Leading the Golden Eagles to the NJCAA Tournament, Booker put up a double-double with 14 points and 14 assists despite a loss. A big-game player, Booker had great games on the way to the tournament most notably leading CSI to a Region 9 victory with a triple double, putting up 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
His time in Idaho came on the heels of two other successful stints. Booker also led Gillette CC to a 35-2 overall record and an NJCAA Tournament appearance as a freshman, where the Pronghorns finished in third place as Booker once more put up multiple double-doubles through the tournament. Booker went to the junior college ranks from Agassi Prep in Las Vegas, where his team posted a 52-1 overall record in his two seasons. Earning Player of the Year honors twice, Booker averaged 27.5 points per game on the way to scoring over 1200 points in two seasons.
Keondre’ (KJ) Byers – F, 6-7 – Charlotte, N.C. (Panola CC)
Keondre’ Byers comes to the Beach from Panola CC, a junior college that finished last season ranked No. 13 in the nation after posting a 26-9 overall record. Byers averaged 7.6 points per game and was second in the conference in blocked shots while providing a solid defensive presence and earning all-conference honors. “KJ is one of the most unique players I’ve ever coached,” commented his head coach at Panola, Grant McMillan. “At 6-7, he can shoot the ball with range and was second in our league in blocks. He was a huge reason why we won our conference and went to the national tournament.”
Prior to one season at Iowa Western CC, Byers played high school basketball at Phillip O’Berry High School in Charlotte, N.C. As a senior, Byers helped lead the Cardinals to the second round of the state championship, averaging a double-double with over 16 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Ron Freeman – G, 6-6 – Los Angeles, Calif. (Northwestern Florida State CC)
Freeman was a highly sought after recruit out of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, where he helped the Cavaliers win two straight CIF Southern Section 4AA championships. Averaging 16.5 points per game, 7.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game with J Serra, Freeman earned All-State honors and was a first-team all-area and all-league selection.
After a year at Future College Prep, he then played one season at Kansas State, where he saw time in 11 games as a reserve before moving to Northwestern Florida State last season. Once again Freeman helped guide a team to great success, as his squad went 29-5 overall and a perfect 12-0 in conference. Freeman averaged 8.2 points per game on the year, and averaged over 40 percent from three. At 6-6, Freeman is a freakishly athletic shooting guard that can score on all three levels.
Edon Maxhuni – G, 6-2 – Hyvinkaa, Finland (Helsinki Basketball Academy)
Edon Maxhuni is a talented point guard and is the second international player as part of the 2017-18 class. Playing on an amateur team in the Finland First Division, Maxhuni averaged 23.8 points per game and 3.8 assists per game for the Helsinki Basketball Academy, earning second-team all-league honors and being selected as the first-team point guard among domestic players in that league.
Ranked No. 19 in his class among all Europeans by Eurohoops, Maxhuni has participated in multiple high-level European camps. The guard was recognized as one of the top 12 players at both the Jordan Brand Euro Camp as well as Basketball Without Borders Europe in 2015. In 2016, Maxhuni once more was named an All-Star recognizing the top 12 players at the Basketball Without Borders World Camp held concurrently with the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto.
Maxhuni has also represented Finland in international competition, most recently at the FIBA U18 European Championship, where Finland reached the quarterfinals. Over the course of that competition, Maxhuni was the third-leading scorer at 17.8 points per game while contributing 3.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He has played for the Finland junior national team in three other FIBA competitions, starting with a pair of U16 appearances before back-to-back U18 appearances. He will continue to represent Finland at the next age group, participating in the U20 FIBA European Championship as well as the World University Games.
The five incoming recruits join Jordan Roberts in next year’s class at the Beach. Roberts, who signed in the November period, is a 6-8 guard/forward from Ridgeview High School in Bakersfield. As a senior, Roberts was honored as the CIF Division II player of the year, and helped Ridgeview capture a league championship and the Division II Section Championship this season with a 24-3 overall record while averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds four assists and two blocks per game. In the last year, Roberts had a 50-point game, a 40-point game and finished his high school career with 35 points and 17 rebounds in the CIF Tournament against Redondo Union.
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