(Steve Ruark / Photo for The…)
Tevon Saddler liked what he heard from the UNC-Greensboro coaching staff throughout the recruiting process. But for a more objective take on life at the Southern Conference school, the St. Frances guard consulted a former MIAA A Conference rival.
Kayel Locke graduated from McDonogh last spring and joined the Spartans this fall. The former Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro forward was happy to give Saddler a preview of his trip to Greensboro.
“Honestly, he did a good job recruiting, telling me about everything before I came down,” Saddler said. “Everything he told me was true. No lying.”
A day after returning from his official visit to UNC-Greensboro, Saddler decided to join Locke next year by offering his commitment to the Spartans. Saddler picked UNCG over offers from Delaware, St. Joseph’s, South Florida and Southern Mississippi.
“It feels great,” Saddler said. “I just want to say thanks to everyone for helping me.”
A 6-foot-5, 205-pound wing, Saddler had a tough decision to make when it came to his recruitment. The Aberdeen native took an official trip to St. Joseph’s earlier this month, and was mulling a visit to Delaware, where his older brother Devon is a junior and the Blue Hens’ returning leading scorer.
“He was telling me to do what’s best for me,” Saddler said. “I mean, if I would have played [with him for] two or three years, it would have been tough [to turn down]. [But we would overlap just one year in college, so it] wasn’t too tough.”
The UNC-Greensboro coaching staff hasn’t been together too long, with head coach Wes Miller taking over the program during the middle of the 2011-12 season. Miller, a former North Carolina player, tabbed several former high-major players to make up his staff, including former Maryland standout Duane Simpkins.
“He's young. He’s understanding,” Saddler said of Miller, who was the youngest DI head coach in the country when he was hired. “[The coaches] all played at a high level in college. They know what you need to get to the next level.
“The coaches have a strong bond together. The players have a strong bond together. Coaches and players communicate well.”
Saddler said he expects to compete for minutes at the 1 and the 2 as a freshman next fall. The Panthers star, who’s considering a major in business or accounting, has simple goals for what he wants to contribute as a freshman.
“A good attitude, being positive and winning,” he said.