May 21, 2013
Long Beach State men's basketball, winners of the last three Big West regular season crowns, will have a new look this fall as Head Coach Dan Monson has announced the addition of five players to the roster.
Joining the 49ers are forward Christian Griggs-Williams (Mesa CC/Mesa, Ariz.), shooting guard Travis Hammonds (Gray Military Academy/Richmond, S.C.), point guard Desmond Ross (Kellis HS/Glendale, Ariz.), power forward David Samuels (Collin College/Plano, Texas) and guard A.J. Spencer (Shawnee, Kan./Hutchinson CC).
"We are excited to bring in a new culture of 49er basketball with this signing class," said Monson, who has earned three consecutive Big West Coach of the Year honors. "These five young men will help our team succeed both on and off the court."
Griggs-Williams (6-8/240) averaged 11.6 points, while shooting 57% from the field (127-of-221) at Mesa CC (Ariz.). He shot 70% from the free throw line (87-of-123) and averaged 5.6 rebounds this past season, helping the team to one of its best records in several years. The forward earned second-team All-ACCAC and Region I honors as his team tallied a 24-7 record and a second-place conference finish. As a freshman, he earned All-ACCAC third-team honors. Griggs-Williams prepped at Nicolet HS in Milwaukee, Wisc. prior to playing for Mesa CC.
Hammonds (6-6/209) was a two-time All-State honoree and All-Region player in South Carolina, finishing his prep career as the all-time leading rebounder (625) and ranked fourth all-time in scoring at Gray Military Academy. He became the fourth player to achieve the 1000-point plateau (1040 pts.), which was helped by his career record mark of 141 made three-pointers. Hammonds also set a single season record for rebounds with 217. He was named the SPAA Player of the Year and earned MVP honors at the Best Western Caisson Shootout Tournament.
Ross (6-3/185) was named the Arizona Boys Basketball Division II Player of the Year and garnered Arizona First-Team All-State honors after his senior season at Kellis HS. He finished the season ranked fourth in the state in scoring, averaging 25.3 points per game with a 50% field goal percentage (89-of-178). Ross also averaged 3.0 steals per game, while leading his team to a 19-9 record and a spot in the championship game at the state tournament.
Samuels (6-7/212) led Collin College in scoring during the 2012-13 season, averaging 15.6 points per game (51% FG/36% 3FG). He also ranked second on the team in rebounds with 8.4 per game, helping him to earn first-team All-Conference and All-Region honors. During his first year at Collin College, Samuels was named the NTJCAC Freshman of the Year, earning first-team All-Conference honors as well.
Spencer (6-3/200) was the No. 2 scorer for Hutchinson CC this past season, averaging 15.0 points per game with a field goal percentage of 59.8 (211-of-353) as he earned first-team All-Jayhawk West and All-Region VI honors. The guard also averaged 5.7 rebounds per game, shot 48% from the three-point line (19-of-39) and led the conference in free throw percentage (80.8, 85-of-106). Hutchinson CC advanced to the 2013 NJCAA National Championship Tournament where Spencer led the team in scoring with an average of 20 points per game. Prior to attending Hutchinson, Spencer prepped at Shawnee Mission Northwest HS in Shawnee, Kan.
Coach Monson has also announced that forward Kyle Richardson will not return to the team. Richardson is graduating and will pursue a Master's Degree elsewhere. Guard Keala King, forward Tony Freeland and guard/forward Deng Deng will also not return for the 2013-14 season.
"We wish these four men good luck in their future endeavors," added Monson.
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