(April 17, 2020) -With his first season under his belt and now, officially, a full calendar year as the head coach of the Tennessee Tech men's basketball program on his resume, John Pelphrey and his staff announced the signing of six student-athletes for the 2020-21 campaign.
"We are very excited about all the student-athletes who have decided to come to Tennessee Tech University," Pelphrey said. "It is an honor and blessing for them and their families to trust us with their decision on where to continue their education. Our assistant coaches (Andre Bell, Alex Fain and Marcus King) did a great job of looking for and identifying young men who were serious about school, serious about basketball and serious about serving in the community of Cookeville."
The class is made up of a healthy mix of high school seniors, junior college transfers and a graduate transfer. It features a pair of guards, three forwards and a center, all of whom are now ready to begin adapting themselves to The Code (shown below).
The first member of the class, Damaria Franklin, signed his national letter of intent in November, making the beginning of a strong and athletic group of future Golden Eagles. A native of Skokie, Ill., a nearby village of Chicago, the 6-foot-4 guard joins the Tech squad as a junior college transfer from State Fair Community College.
Also a 6-foot-4 guard joining the ranks of the purple and gold is incoming freshman Taelon Peter. Hailing from Russellville, Ark., the youngster will enter the Eblen Center after earning All-State honors while at Russellville High School.
One of three forwards, and the only graduate transfer of the group, is Shandon Goldman, better known as 'Biggie' by his peers. Standing at 6-foot-10, Goldman spent the past two seasons at Northern Iowa and also played a year each at Little Rock and Panola College.
A freshman from Athens, Ala., Austin Harvell represents one of the three high school signees. The 6-foot-6 forward wrapped up his final year at East Limestone High School last season with All-State honors.
Kenny White is another addition at the forward position, offering a left-handed shot that earned him All-State honors competing in his hometown of Madisonville, Ky. Standing at 6-foot-7, he led Madisonville-North Hopkins High School to its fourth district title as a senior.
Representing the lone center in the class, Marcus Hopkins rounds out the group of six Golden Eagle newcomers measuring in at a towering seven feet tall. The native of Castro Valley, Calif. will make the transition to Cookeville after spending last season at Daytona State College.
"We had very deliberate and intentional conversations with the incoming student-athletes and their families about being in a constant state of learning, growing and getting better, as well as, 'Leadership First,'" Pelphrey explained. "This is the type of mindset that we want driving our culture here at TTU, a mindset that is very much in the present moment and process-driven.
"We believe that last year's team did a good job of establishing this approach, and we are very proud of them all. We saw tremendous improvement and growth over the course of the season in our mindset, which led to better performance. As we always talk about, 'Mindset Matters.' It's the great separator of individuals and of teams. Cade Crosland
, Darius Allen
and Tyler Thompson
, as seniors, showed the commitment to mindset, leadership and the desire to becoming the best version of themselves that we all need moving forward. We appreciate those guys so much. Seniors are special, and they are all on track to graduate in May."
Beginning next week, a more in-depth look at each member of this year's Tennessee Tech men's basketball signing class will be released each day.
"Right now, our focus is for our current and new student-athletes to finish any and all academic work that needs to be completed, and to do it to their fullest potential," Pelphrey added. "Also, we need everyone
(not just Tech basketball players), to continue to pay attention to all social distancing guidelines, so that we can all stay safe and healthy. Wings Up!"
(Graphic by Ezra Pinzur)