Winthrop basketball coach Randy Peele signed 6-foot-1 point guard Reggie Middleton from Augusta, Ga., 6-7 shooting guard Gideon Gamble of Atlanta and 6-2 shooting guard Andre Jones from Suffolk, Va., to national letters-of-intent.
"All three of these young men come from winning high school programs. Plus they all play for very high-profile AAU programs such as Georgia Elite, Atlanta Celtics and Boo Williams. They also come from families that are strong and supportive," Peele said. "We believe all three will make immediate contributions to our program in 2008-09, and will help us reach our goal of making it to the NCAA tournament each year."
Middleton, who picked Winthrop over UCF, East Carolina and Marshall, averaged 13.6 points and 5.7 assists during his junior year at Glenn Hills High School. As a sophomore, he attended Butler (Ga.) High, where he averaged 13.2 points and 5.5 assists. He was named to the Augusta Chronicle All-Area Third Team last year and the All-Area Second Team as a sophomore. He has been rated as one of the top four point guards in Georgia by Scout.com.
"Reggie is a true point guard that has the ability to score when needed," Peele said. "He is also a very good on-the-ball defender, and has the ability to put a team on his shoulders and lead them to victory. He will take the clutch shot and game-winning shots."
Curtis Wheeler, who coached Middleton's Georgia Elite AAU team the past two years, said Middleton "competes hard all of the time and loves to win. That is the type of attitude you have to have to play for a program like Winthrop."
At 6-7, Gamble will be the tallest guard ever at Winthrop. As a junior at Westlake High, Gamble averaged 13 points, three rebounds and six assists while leading his team to a 22-8 record and a tie for first place in Region 2-AAAA. He also played for the Atlanta Celtics, one of Georgia's top AAU programs.
"Gideon gives us great size at the two and three positions because he is 6-7 and long," Peele said. "He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and also has the ability to be an outstanding passer and shooter."
Gamble was offered a scholarship by UCF and was also being recruited by East Carolina, Tulane, UAB, Toledo, Marshall and Tennessee Tech.
According to Westlake coach Darron Rogers, Gamble "is one of those unique players in that he can play inside-out. He is an extremely good shooter and he is very long, which will cause problems for his opponents."
Rogers says that Gamble can handle the point position and defend bigger or smaller opponents.
Jones was a first-team Class AAA All-State selection at Nansemond River High. He averaged 20.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.4 steals and enters this season with 1,292 career points.
Jones led his team to a 25-3 record and the state quarterfinals. He also earned first-team All-Tidewater Area honors and was selected the Southeastern Region Player of the Year.
As a junior, Jones had scholarship offers from Virginia and Virginia Tech, but did not want to commit early. This year he was being recruited by 12 schools, including George Mason, VCU, Western Kentucky and William & Mary. He is considered one of the top 12 prospects in the state of Virginia and at one time was rated among the nation's top 75 prospects by Rivals.com.
"Andre is a very athletic guard that has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble," Peele said. "He was the only junior in the state of Virginia to be a member of the AAA All-State team."
Ed Young, Jones' high school coach, said, "Winthrop has gotten a very outstanding player who I am surprised got out of the state of Virginia. Andre has been one of the top players in Virginia and has started since his freshman year."
Jones' high school team will face Duncanville (Texas) Dec. 27 in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach.