Conroy’s Crew: 2015-16 men’s basketball recruits

Susan Fanelli, Contributing Reporter

Following its up-and-down season last year, Tulane men’s basketball is entering its sixth season under Head Coach Ed Conroy with high expectations.

During the offseason, seven players made their departure. This included guard Jay Hook, a recent graduate, and sophomore guard Jonathan Stark, who transferred to Murray State.

Despite these absences, the new team is balanced out by seven incoming players that will take the court this season.

One of the newest faces for Tulane is freshman guard Melvin Frazier from Marrero, Louisiana. After getting offers from schools such as LSU and Oklahoma, Frazier decided to stay closer to home. Frazier averaged 17.3 points and 8.6 rebounds playing for L.W. Higgins High School and was named to the Class 5A All-State first team during his senior year.

Another incoming freshman is guard Kain Harris from Chicago. Harris played his first three years at Morgan Park High School, leading his team to back-to-back Class 3A state championships. Harris spent his final year at St. Rita of Cascia High School, averaging 16.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists and leading his team to a 26-3 overall record.

From Reserve, Louisiana is guard Von Julien. After considering other schools such as Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana and Richmond, Julien decided to commit to Tulane. While at Riverside Academy, Julien averaged nearly a double-double with 11.0 points and 9.8 assists per game, which earned him the title of Class 2A Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Forward Kipper Nichols from Lakewood, Ohio led St. Edward High School to a state championship where he averaged 18.4 points as a junior. In his senior year, Nichols improved to an average of 18.6 points and 4.7 rebounds, which propelled the team to a state semifinal.

Forward Taron “T.J.” Oliver Jr. comes to Tulane from Washington, D.C. Oliver played his first three years at Riverdale Baptist School. In his junior year, Oliver transferred to Montrose Christian School, where he continued to be a valued member of the team. At 6-foot-9, Oliver is ranked in the top 50 big men in America by ESPN.

Forward Blake Paul from New Orleans is the last of the incoming freshmen. A local recruit, Paul decided to remain in his hometown. At East Jefferson High School, Paul led his team to a championship appearance as a junior before transferring to Landry-Walker for his senior year. Paul averaged almost two blocks a game last year and was a member of the Nike Team Louisiana program.

Originally from New Orleans, Jernard Jarreau is the sole transfer player for Tulane in this upcoming season. Jarreau was a presence at Washington, but after graduating in 2015, he has decided to return to his hometown to play out his remaining seasons of eligibility. During his 2014-15 season with the UW Huskies, Jarreau averaged a total of 5.1 points, 4.7 rebounds in 24.3 minutes in the 21 games he played.

Tulane men’s basketball opens its season with an exhibition game against Loyola New Orleans Nov. 5 at Devlin Fieldhouse.

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