UNA basketball

UNA men's basketball coach Tony Pujol said the Lions could add additional players before the start of the upcoming basketball season, according to a release. [JIM HANNON/TIMESDAILY]

FLORENCE – University of North Alabama men’s head basketball coach Tony Pujol has announced the addition of seven newcomers for the 2018-19 spring signing class. Two transfers and five freshmen will join the Lions, who will be entering their first season as members of the ASUN conference at the NCAA Division I level.

Junior college transfers Payton Youngblood and Tavon King will join true freshmen Jamari Blackmon, Christian Agnew, Emanuel Litttles, Cantavio Dutreil and Aleksa Matic next season.

“We are very excited about these guys and what they bring to the table,” Pujol said. “They are all competitors who come from a winning tradition and have shown the ability to play for championships. We will expect the same thing from them here at UNA. This group is a good fit for our culture.”

Youngblood played two seasons at Snead State Community College and will be a junior next season for UNA. The 6-5 forward averaged 12 points and five rebounds per game as a sophomore. He led the team to a 25-7 overall record as Snead won the 2017-18 NJCAA Region 22 championship and advanced to the national tournament. He was a first team all-region selection and finished second in voting for the 2018 Region 22 Player of the Year.

King averaged 14 points, three rebounds and two assists a true freshman at Columbia State Community College. The 6-0 guard from Gates, Tenn., graduated with an Associate of Science degree and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Blackmon was a 2017 Alabama Mr. Basketball finalist from Hoover High School. The 6-0 guard helped lead the Bucs to the 2015 Class 7A state championship. Hoover returned to the Final Four the following year with Blackmon being selected to the Class 7A all-tournament team. As a senior last season, he averaged 25.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per contest.

Agnew was a four-year letterman at Glenn High School in Westland, Mich. He also played a Taylor Made Prep academy in Pensacola last season, where he averaged 22 points per game. The 6-2 guard from Detroit, Mich., also averaged 24 points per contest in games against eight junior college teams.

Littles capped his senior season with a third straight Class 2A State championship at Lanett High School. He was a two-time first team ASWA All-State selection and finalists for the Class 2A Player of the Year. The 6-8 forward averaged 17.4 points, 16 rebounds and three assists per game while blocking 56 shots during his senior season.

Dutreil comes to UNA from Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, Conn. He led the team to a 20-6 record and state championship as a junior. He was also an All-State selection. As a senior, the 6-7 forward averaged 18.8 points, 12.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. He eclipsed the career 1,000-point scoring mark during his senior season, and he was once again named an All-State selection.

Matic, a 6-4 guard from Belgrade, Serbia, led his Mega Leks team to a second-place finish in the Euro League during the 2016-17 season. He then helped lead the Under-18 Serbian National Team to the European championship in the summer of 2017. Most recently, he shot 44 percent from three-point range, scoring 12.1 points per game while playing for BKK Radnicki.

The seven newcomers will join returnees Kendarius Smith and Kendall Stafford and a trio of early signees by UNA, including Cameron Diggs, Sean Elmore and Andrew Morrissey. Pujol said he could also add more players before the start of the 2018-19 season.


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