Lipscomb men’s basketball coach Scott Sanderson and his coaching staff naturally looked for talented players for the 2012 recruiting class, but they were also looking for much more.
“It was really important for us in this class to get the right mix to get the right mix athletically, academically, religiously and socially,” Sanderson said. “They just kind of fit with the kids we have returning.
“This class is versatile. We think they all provide leadership skills. If they can’t succeed at something they are going to figure out how to succeed.”
Sanderson thinks he got what he needed with the signings of two junior college players and two high school players to go with his early signings of John Ross Glover from Jackson, Tenn., and Charles Smith from Southwind High School in Memphis. He would like to add a couple of additional players to complete the class.
With four scholarship players, his son Carter and two walk-ons returning Sanderson was looking for some veteran leadership. He signed Oscar Garcia, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound senior, from Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo., and Khion Sankey, a 6-5 guard/forward from Sheridan College in Johnson County, Wyo.
Garcia, a two-year starter who played high school basketball in El Paso, Texas, averaged 7.5 points and four rebounds per game. He helped guide Otero to the final eight of the National Junior College Championships in Hutchison, Kan.
“He knows how to guard down in the low post,” Sanderson said. “He will score some baskets down there.
“He won’t block shots like Justin Glenn did. But he is an excellent position defender. He took between 40 and 50 charges this past season.”
Sankey, from Stockton, Calif., averaged 7.2 points and 2.9 assists per game. He posted a 52 percent field goal percentage. Defensively, he averaged 1.5 steals per game. He was named to the Region IX All-Tournament team with per game averages of 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
“Khion is like a utility infielder in baseball. He will be a lot like Jacob Arnett. He played the point guard some for his junior college team and also played the No. 4 spot as well. He is an excellent defender.”
Sanderson expects Garcia and Sankey to have an immediate impact on the team.
“We have so many young kids on the team, so many freshmen and sophomores, that we needed a couple of guys who had played college basketball before who could add some experience,” Sanderson said. “I believe these two guys can provide some very good leadership for us both on and off the floor.”
Sanderson is hopeful that Garcia and Sankey will followed in the footsteps of Shaun Durant and Jason Hopkins, junior college players who helped elevate the overall level of play for the Bisons.
“Sometimes you have to fill a need,” Sanderson said. “But when you feel a need you have to make sure you have checked everything and I feel good about both of them. They are mature kids who have been very successful in the junior college ranks.
“We wanted an older post player. We wanted a guy who can play multiple positions and Khion can play No. 1 through No. 4. He covers a lot of different needs for us. I like a guy who can play multiple positions.”
Dylan Green, a 6-5, 205-pound forward, played this past season at the Kiski School in Saltsburg, Pa. His per game averages were 8.7 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.9 steals.
“He is a big, physical wing player,” Sanderson said. “He can guard multiple positions. He is very, very athletic. He gives us more athleticism on the perimeter.
“He is going to bring a lot of toughness to our team. He is a blue-collar player. He is going to keep coming and keep coming.”
Josh “J.C.” Hampton is a 6-1, 170-pound guard from East Hall High School in Gainesville, Ga. He averaged 25 points, four assists and four rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 39 points in the championship game of the Alaska Airlines Classic in Anchorage. He was named a “player of the year” in Georgia.
“He is a combo guard who can play at No. 1 or No. 2,” Sanderson said. “He really can score. He shoots the basketball at a high clip from 3-point range. He is a very good passer. He takes care of the ball which I like a lot. He makes good decisions.”
“We think we will have great competition for a lot of different positions,” Sanderson said.