East Tennessee State head coach Steve Forbes had the unenviable task of replacing six seniors from a 25-9 team that made the Southern Conference Championship game. Yet despite this uphill battle, Forbes finalized ETSU’s seven-man recruiting class by signing seven-footer Octavian Corley last weekend.
The Bucs will replace five of its top seven scorers from a year ago. In each of Forbes’ previous three seasons, he has had to replace at least four starters in every campaign, and has had little trouble in helping the Bucs reload into championship form.
All told, the Bucs will have nine newcomers to keep an eye in 2018-19, with both Appalachian State transfer Patrick Good and JUCO transfer Jeromy Rodriguez available in addition to the following newcomers. In the meantime, however, here is a brief look at ETSU’s seven-man recruiting class:
Tray Boyd III — The 6’4 Memphis native will remind Buc fans of a mixture of Desonta Bradford and former ETSU guard and Robert Doggett (1993-95). Boyd is a quintessential two-way player: His athleticism gives him an edge as not only a defender, but also as a guard that can create his own shot. Boyd comes to ETSU from Northwest Florida State College, where he averaged 14.8 ppg — including shooting 45 percent from three — and led his team to a 31-3 record last season.
Isaiah Tisdale — Tisdale is another outstanding JUCO acquisition for Forbes. Tisdale, a 6-1 All-American guard out of Vincennes Junior College, will have two years of eligibility when he arrives in Johnson City.
The first-team JUCO All-American finished the season ranking as the No. 15 JUCO player in the country per JUCO Recruiting.com, thanks to averaging 17.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 4.5 apg. He helped lead Vincennes to a 34-3 record and a trip to the NJCAA Final Four.
Tisdale is a smooth operator with the ability to both distribute and shoot the basketball. Despite being just 6-1, his athleticism allows him to hit the boards well.
Carlos Curtis — Curtis is a 6’2 guard from Riverside University High School in Milwaukee, WI. As a junior, Curtis averaged 19.0 ppg and 6.4 apg and committed to ETSU during the November signing period. If there’s a player that you might want to consider comparing Curtis to it might be Dimeco Childress (1999-2002), who starred for former ETSU head coach Ed DeChellis.
Daivien Williamson — Another early signee, Williamson is a 6-2 combo guard that will give the Bucs more depth and versatility in the backcourt. Williamson also had mid-major offers from UNC Wilmington, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, UNC Greensboro, James Madison, Wofford and Hampton. During his senior season at Winston-Salem Prep, the speedy guard capped off a 23.1 ppg season with a 27-point outing in the North Carolina 1A State Championship game.
Kevon Tucker — Kevon Tucker is another perimeter threat coming in for the Bucs. Strangely enough, Tucker is no stranger to the SoCon: He was one of the top recruits for Mike Young at Wofford three years ago, but transferred to Gordon State Junior College after playing sparingly in the 2016-17 season. Now that he’s back in the Division I ranks, Tucker might be the steal of the recruiting class for the Bucs. The 6’3 guard was an honorable mention JUCO All-American last season following a 2017-18 campaign in which he averaged 19.5 ppg and shot 43% 3FG (with 108 makes) last season.
D’Andre Bernard — The 6-8 forward from Toronto, Canada was considered a Top 10 prep recruit out of high school. Bernard spent a redshirt season at North Florida of the Atlantic Sun Conference before playing two seasons of JUCO ball at Georgia Highlands College. During Bernard’s final season as a prep at Bill Carothers Secondary School, he showed off his versatility with an impressive 14.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.1 apg and 2.1 bpg statline.
Octavion Corley — During a golden generation of sorts for ETSU, center Greg Dennis (1988-2002) finished his career with over 2,204 points — good for second in program history.
Nearly two decades later, Forbes hopes Corley will be the second coming of Dennis, as the Bucs add seven-footer Octavion Corley out of Casper College. Although he missed the final 12 games of last season with an injury, Corley averaged 9.8 ppg on 63 percent shooting, grabbed 4.5 rpg and blocked 54 shots in 20 games.