BOWLING GREEN - Last season, the Bowling Green State University men's basketball team had painfully little depth at the power forward and center positions. Any hint of foul trouble in the post quickly became a big problem.
During the late signing period that started April 12, BGSU coach Dan Dakich has secured a big - very big - solution.
Three players signed with the Falcons this week, including 6-foot-9 Otis Polk, who is listed at 285 pounds but could weigh up to 320. Polk, a first-team All-Class C pick at Detroit Consortium Prep, averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks a game his senior year.
"We felt like we needed some bulk and strength inside, and that's what he is," Dakich said. "He's a very strong kid with the size and the strength to play right now.
"He's very athletic in terms of the jump. You wouldn't think a kid his size could jump as well. He has good timing to block shots and scores around the bucket."
Polk's coach at Consortium, Lonell Williams, said the chance for Polk to contribute his freshman year was a large factor in the decision to choose the Falcons over Detroit, the University of Toledo, Saint Louis and Cal State-Fullerton.
"He wanted to get time early in his career," Williams said. "He's been a four-year starter in high school, he's used to playing."
Also signing in the past week were guard Ryne Hamblet and forward Chris Knight.
Hamblet, a 6-6, 170-pound guard from Chicago, spent the past two years playing at Chipola (Fla.) College, a junior college. He averaged nine points a game for Chipola while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 38 percent on 3-pointers.
"He's a consistent 3-point shooter, unselfish, and he's got a lot of athleticism," Chipola coach Greg Heiar said. "He likes the spot they're plugging him into in the offense - they're going to let him play some point guard and also on the wing."
Hamblet was second-team all-conference at Chipola. As a junior at Von Steuben High, he won a dunk contest at an Illinois top 50 showcase event.
"He's a versatile kid," Dakich said. "We needed a kid that can make plays, make others better, and score himself."
Knight, a 6-7, 210-pound forward, averaged 25 points a game at Cincinnati Withrow his senior year. Last season he played at The Patterson School, a prep school in Lenoir, N.C. At least six of his teammates at Patterson have also committed to play in Division I programs. He chose BGSU over Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Akron, Dayton and Seton Hall.
"He's one of those kids who can score in a variety of ways," Dakich said. "He's very athletic. Coming out of high school I thought he was one of the five best players in the state of Ohio."
Said Knight: "I really liked the coaches, and the location of the school is good, it's close to home."
Along with the fall signings of guard Ryan Sims of Fort Wayne, Ind., and forward Marc Larson of Mattawan, Mich., the Falcons will have five newcomers next season. However, Knight is not expected to qualify academically for next season. He will not receive a scholarship in that case but would still take classes at BGSU to work toward qualifying.
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