Swartzendruber adds nine freshmen to roster

By Staff Reports
May 07, 2015

McPherson College men’s basketball coach Tim Swartzendruber has hit the state of Kansas hard to replenish his roster.

Swartzendruber on Wednesday announced the addition of nine freshmen, including eight from Kansas. The other hails from Oklahoma.

Here are the newest Bulldogs:

• Austin Weber (6-0, 165 lbs., shooting guard, Fr., Udall/Udall High School) •

Weber played for coach John Mayes and the Eagles for four seasons.

A three-sport athlete, Weber earned All-League honors for basketball (2014-15), football (2014) and baseball (2014). He averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for his junior and senior seasons.

He is the son of Amber Barnett and Ben Weber and plans on majoring in accounting at McPherson.

"Austin comes from a very good program at Udall," Swartzendruber said. "He is an extremely athletic guard who can make perimeter shots and get to the rim. He plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We believe Austin can develop into a solid player at McPherson College. We are thrilled to have him join our program and school."

• Brett Crist (6-2, 195 lbs., G, Fr., Quinter/Quinter High School) •

Crist garnered four letters while playing for his father and coach John Crist, a McPherson College graduate.

He averaged 16.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game and scored 1,448 career points. He made the Northwest Kansas All-League teams following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Crist was named the 1A Player of the Year for 2015.

He was the vice president of Student Council his junior year and also made the Quinter Honor Roll in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The son of John and Amy Crist, Brett will major in business.

"Brett was one of the top players in Class 1A this year," Swartzendruber said. "His versatility and ability to play with a high motor will allow him to be successful here. Not only is he a standout on the basketball court, Brett is a class act and very active in his school and church. His father, John, played basketball here and his brother, Scott, has been our student assistant coach these past two years. We are thrilled to have Brett join the Bulldog basketball family."

• Christopher Lowe (5-8, 155 lbs., PG, Fr., Wichita/Wichita Heights High School) •

The ultra-quick 5-8 point guard earned a pair of letters for coach Joe Auer and the Falcons, always one of the premier programs in Kansas. He was dazzling in the McPherson Invitational this past January.

Lowe was a member of the 5A state championship team for Wichita Heights and made the 5A All-Tournament Team. Throughout his senior season, he averaged 11.2 points, 2.3 assists and 1.7 rebounds.

Chris is the son of Ebony and Tony Lowe and is currently undecided as to what his major will be.

"Signing Chris was a huge boost for our program," Swartzendruber said. "Chris is arguably one of the best point guards in the state. He played on the 5A state championship team and showed tremendous leadership and character throughout the year. Chris makes people around him better. He competes every day and brings a refuse-to-lose mentality. This is one of the best freshman we have signed since I've been here. I can't say enough about how excited I am to have Chris on board."

• Grant Barrett (6-0, 170 lbs., G, Fr., McPherson/McPherson High School) •

Barrett played for two seasons at McPherson High School for coach Kurt Kinnamon and served this past year as a student assistant coach.

Barrett earned a pair of basketball letters and was part of two state championship teams.

He is the son of David and Linda Barrett and plans on majoring in communications at McPherson College.

"We are excited to have Grant join the Bulldog family," Swartzendruber said. "The fact he comes from a highly successful program at McPherson High is a huge plus. Grant has been around the college and our program for many years, so having him become an official part of the basketball program is positive for us. We are thrilled he has decided to continue his education at McPherson College and be a part of the men's basketball program."

 • Grant Raleigh (6-2, 175 lbs., G, Fr., Hesston/Hesston High School) •

Raleigh was an All-State player for his father, Greg, and the Swathers won the Class 3A state title his junior year with a perfect 26-0 record. He also excelled off the court with a 4.0 GPA all eight semesters.

Raleigh averaged 17.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists his senior season. He was named All-CKL following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He received All-State honors in 2014 and 2015. Hesston was 67-6 during his career.

Grant is the son of Greg and Carol Raleigh and has yet to declare a major.

"Grant was one of the top players in central Kansas," Swartzendruber said. "He is one of the toughest competitors we've ever recruited here. He is a combo guard who makes people around him better. His team-first attitude, tremendous work ethic, and competitive drive, will make him successful here. He is an outstanding student and a true class act. I can't say enough about how happy I am he is joining the Bulldog family."

• Justin Wiltfong (6-5, 195 lbs., F, Fr., Stockton/Stockton High School) •

A 6-5 forward, Wiltfong played for four seasons for coach Tom Stephens. He was a member of the National Honor Society and elected Senior Class Officer.

He averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and three assists per game. Wiltfong was named to multiple Class 1A teams for basketball and named a North-West Kansas Basketball All-Star.

He is the son of Douglas and Kelly Wiltfong and will be majoring in Sports Management.

"I was thrilled when Justin committed to our program and McPherson College,"  Swartzendruber said. "He is a great athlete who has a chance to be very good in our conference. Justin is long and athletic. He can play inside and outside and is very unselfish. Justin is very outgoing and connects quickly to people. He will be a great addition to our team and school."

• Kellen Watkins (6-2, 180 lbs., G, Fr., Hugoton,/Hugoton High School) •

Watkins played for Hugoton High School and coach Craig Szymczak. He was a member of National Honor Society and also received the All-GWAC academic award.

He averaged 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. He was named to the GWAC All-League second team following the 2014-15 season. Watkins also made the Red and Blue All-Tournament team.

He is the son of Kevin Watkins and Kim Hagadus and will major in biology.

"Kellen played on an outstanding team at Hugoton this year," Swartzendruber said. "He is versatile and athletic. We love the fact he was on the football team and track team. That shows the type of athlete he is and how competitive he is. Kellen is a team-first player and we believe he can be successful in our program."

• Parkes Wolters (6-2, 155 lbs., PG, Fr., Osborne/Osborne High School) •

Wolters earned four letters while playing for coach Jamie Wolters. He was a member of the National Honor Society, a Kansas Honors Scholar and earned the Governor's Academic and Principal's Academic Award at OHS.

Wolters averaged 14.1 points per game while shooting in 54 percent from the field including 37 percent from distance. He also averaged 3.5 assists. He was named to the 2015 Northern Plains League first team and named to the 1A All-State second team by The Wichita Eagle.

The son of Dusti and Traci Wolters, Parkes plans on majoring in Bio-chemistry.

"Parkes comes from a highly successful athletic program at Osborne," Swartzendruber said. "Parkes has excelled in football and golf along with basketball. The fact he is a great all-around athlete speaks of his competitive nature and great team attitude. Parkes is an outstanding student and has been active in his school in other activities. We are excited to have Parkes join our school and basketball program."

• Taylor Ellison (6-0, 150 lbs., SG, Fr., Tulsa, Okla./Tulsa Memorial High School) •

Ellison played for coach Bobby Allison and the Tulsa Memorial High School Chargers. He was on the Principal's Honor Roll and a member of National Honor Society.

Throughout his final two seasons at Tulsa Memorial, Ellison shot close to 50 percent from the field and made over half of his field goals in his two state tournament appearances. The Chargers won the 5A state championship in 2013 and 2014. This season, Ellison was named to the All-State Tournament second team.

The son of Scott Ellison, Taylor will be a business major.

"To sign someone from Tulsa Memorial is a great accomplishment for us,” Swartzendruber said. "Memorial is one of the top programs in Oklahoma each year. Taylor had the opportunity to play in many big games and displayed the type of confidence any coach would want in a terrific shooter. Taylor's willingness to do whatever is needed to help his teammates and be a positive influence on his team will be much appreciated by our players and staff."