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Winthrop basketball recruit Farmer firms up his commitment with Eagles

Winthrop added another basketball recruit Thursday simply by keeping one they already had.

Charlottean Christian Farmer, who signed a national letter of intent with the Eagles in the fall but was considering asking out, confirmed he was staying put.

That followed an intense recruiting effort by new coach Pat Kelsey, one Farmer himself was skeptical of when it began.

“Most definitely I was leaning toward leaving,” Farmer said Thursday. “To be honest, I didn’t have any intention of going back to Winthrop once they fired coach (Randy) Peele. That whole situation sort of left me lost.

“I didn’t know what kind of person coach Kelsey was, but he came in and was upbeat, and really made me and my family feel comfortable about it again.”

Farmer admitted he was leaning toward asking for a release — as fellow fall signee Jackson Trapp did, before committing to Florida Atlantic — but ultimately he chose the comforts of home.

Farmer, who grew up in Charlotte, said having his family nearby and able to attend games was a significant factor. The 6-foot-5 wing has spent the past two years at Tallahassee Community College, and will have two years of eligibility left.

Kelsey said Thursday he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to get Farmer back in the boat, but made it one of his first priorities upon getting the Winthrop job.

“I had to re-recruit him, and establish the kind of rapport the previous staff did,” Kelsey said. “He didn’t know me, so I had to get in there with his family and try to sell him on what we’re doing.”

Farmer is effectively Kelsey’s second signing of the week, following the addition of Snow College (Utah) point guard Brandon Vega. Both will have a chance to contribute immediately to a young team, and Kelsey said getting both amplifies their individual talents.

For a team that lost more than 70 percent of its scoring output from last year, Kelsey thinks Farmer and Vega can pair to make the offense more aggressive.

“Chris is a high-level shooter, and he’s got good size and a high release so he can really get the shot off with no space,” Kelsey said. “But the thing that makes him so exciting is when you pair him with a fast point guard like Brandon, it’s a more powerful commitment.

“If Brandon has high-level scorers around him, he becomes that much better at finding guys, and is going to get a lot of assists.”

Farmer’s staying gives the Eagles two spaces available for next year’s class. Kelsey said he’s continuing to recruit both incoming freshmen and junior-college players, and wouldn’t commit to leaning either direction for the next two spots.

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