BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green men's basketball coach Dan Dakich has five scholarships to offer prospective players this year.
He has only one requirement of potential new Falcons: toughness.
So far, Dakich has four players who have said they will answer that call and sign national letters of intent to join the BG basketball program. The four prospective signees are 6-8 Jeremy Holland of Austin, Ind.; 6-7 Erik Marschall from New London, Ohio; 6-6 Lionel Sullivan of Detroit; and 6-5 Nick Wilson of Trenton, N.J.
All four are expected to sign with the Falcons during the early signing period, which runs from Nov. 10 through Nov. 17.
NCAA rules prohibit Dakich or his staff from discussing potential signees. But the eighth-year coach said the strategy he used to recruit players this summer and fall was simple.
"We felt we needed a couple of taller kids who were skilled forwards because of what we will be losing after this season," Dakich said, noting that the Falcons' current roster includes three seniors, all of whom stand 6-6 or taller, in Josh Almanson, John Reimold and Cory Eyink.
"Along with that, we wanted to recruit the toughest kids we could find," Dakich said. "We need tough kids. We looked at guys who we felt were skilled but tough, and who had demands put on them in high school."
Holland has started the previous two seasons at Austin High School, averaging 19.1 points per game as a sophomore and 19.6 as a junior. He bumped his rebounding average from 8.0 two seasons ago to 9.6 last year and has made 99 3-point shots in his career.
An honorable mention choice on last season's Indiana all-state underclassman team, Holland pondered offers from Indiana State, Evansville, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky before settling on the Falcons.
"I heard a lot of stuff about coach Dakich, and I really want to play for him," Holland said. "He's a coach who will make me a better player."
Marschall is a two-year starter at New London who has helped the Wildcats post a 37-6 record in that span. Last season he averaged 18.6 points and 12 rebounds per game and was named first-team all-district and second-team All-Ohio in Division III.
Marschall said he has played primarily forward in his career, but said that's not cast in stone. "Whatever coach wants me to do, that's what I'll do," he said.
Marschall said the toughness of the BG program was attractive to him.
"I saw a practice and saw the players, particularly how hard they worked," he said. "For me, things were so positive with the coaches."
Sullivan averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds for St. Martin De Porres High School last season, earning first-team All-Michigan honors in Class C. He played both forward positions for the Eagles and has a reputation as a fierce competitor, something he said he learned from his mother.
"My mom told me, 'The ball is your food, and if you don't get it you'll go hungry for a while,'●" Sullivan said. "I go get rebounds like I'm going to get food to eat. That's why I like being known as a hard worker."
Sullivan fielded interest from Eastern Michigan, Kent State and Toledo before settling on Bowling Green this past weekend.
"There were a whole bunch of reasons [I picked Bowling Green]," Sullivan said. "One thing that I know is that coach Dakich leads the right way, and he works hard. He and I will work to get me to the next level."
Wilson earned second-team all-county honors at Trenton Central High School last season, averaging 14.3 points and 3.2 assists per game. He also grabbed five rebounds and three steals per contest and said he took great pride in his defense.
"I like to make big plays on defense, and I like to start off with good defensive play," Wilson said. "I think I'm a strong defensive player, and I like having an impact on the game on defense as well as on offense."
Wilson said Fordham, Tennessee-Martin, Niagara and Missouri-Kansas City were among the schools from which he received offers.
"When I visited Bowling Green, I felt a strong connection with the coaches," he said. "I was looking for a coach who would make sure I was on-track and would make sure I worked hard, and that's what coach Dakich offers."
- John Wagner