HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WJTV) — From the comfort of his back porch Southern Miss head coach Jay Ladner put together his first spring class, which features a whopping total of seven newcomers including three of the top 40 JUCO prospects in the country.
Ladner says the catalyst was Pearl River point guard Tae Hardy.
“His committing to Southern Miss has had a lot to do with other people committing to Southern Miss,” said Ladner. “I think winners want to play with winners, and he calls and says ‘coach, can I have those guys’ numbers? I want to go ahead and start calling them’. I didn’t know what it was. I was so taken back by it, and that type of leadership is not as common these days as it was when I first started coaching.”
Hardy was a First-Team NJCAA All-American for undefeated Pearl River this past season. He averaged 16.6 points, 3.7 assists and 3.6 steals per game.
Other members of the class include Javarzia Belton (three-star center, Moravian Prep (N.C.)), Mark Jaakson (6-7 guard, Tallin, Estonia), Jaron Pierre (three-star guard, St. Augustine HS (New Orleans)), Blake Roberts (6-2 guard, Oak Grove HS), DeAndre Pinckney (JUCO G/F, Broward CC), and Justin Johnson (JUCO G, South Georgia Tech).