Shantz, Mavs sign five new players

Officially, it’s Andy Shantz’s first recruiting class.

In reality, this is not his first rodeo when it comes to signing players for the Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team; he’s been the recruiting coordinator for several years.

Shantz, in his third week as the Mavericks’ head coach after Jim Heaps was promoted to an assistant athletic director, signed four junior college transfers and one freshman for his first season in charge.

Last week, Heaps joked that he still gets credit for the wins this class helps generate this coming season. Losses? Yeah, those are on Shantz.

All five new Mavericks are from out of state, three from Arizona and one from California. The only incoming freshman, Derek Biale, is from Redondo Beach, Calif.

Biale is a 6-foot-1 guard and the California Interscholastic Federation South Section 2A player of the year. He was his league’s player of the year and a Division II all-state player, averaging 13 points, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals a game last season.

Shantz also signed two junior college guards, including Jerry Duckworth, a 6-footer who is an outside scoring threat, hitting 101 3-pointers and averaging 12.5 points a game at Cochise (Ariz.) College.

Duckworth, who is from Seattle, helped Cochise win 50 games his two years there and the 2011-12 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference title. He was an honorable mention all-region player and earned the Apaches’ academic award.

Dalton Noble, who graduated from Kearns High School in Salt Lake City, is a 6-1 guard who played at Cabrillo College in Aptos, Calif. The Seahawks won back-to-back Coast Conference South titles, with Noble leading them in scoring this past season, averaging 17 points a game.

Shantz also had to replace Colton and Chandler Burgon, the Mavericks’ 6-foot-8 brothers, to give the Mavericks some depth and experience inside. He did it by signing 6-7 Jon Orr from Eastern Arizona College and 6-7 Carlos Perez from Arizona Western College.

Colorado Mesa returns two sophomore post players, Ryan Stephan and Trevor VanTassel, both out of Green Mountain High School. Stephan got quite a bit of playing time last season when Chandler Burgon was injured. A knee injury just before the season limited VanTassel’s playing time.

Orr averaged 12.6 points and 9.3 rebounds last season for the Gila Monsters and was an all-conference selection.

Perez was an honorable mention all-conference pick for the Matadors, averaging nine points and seven rebounds a game.

Arizona Western won 51 wins during Perez’s career.

The Mavericks finished last season 18-10, 14-8 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

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