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Steve Pikiell: We got our top three

Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell looks on

Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell looks on from the bench during the game against the Marist Red Fox. (Nov. 8, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

The beginning of the national letter of intent signing period for basketball on Wednesday could not have gone any better for Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell, who got the point guard, wing man and power forward at the top of his list of prospects and then followed it up with a hard-fought 73-66 win over a tough Northeastern team.

“We got the win over Northeastern, and I have a lot of respect for the coach and the program,” Pikiell said. “And we got three letters back from three guys we wanted. Those were our first choices at those positions.”

The three Seawolves signees include 6-7, 230-pound Tyrell Sturdivant, who is playing his senior season with a strong Chester, Pa. High School program, 6-1, 195-pound point guard Deshaun Thrower of Muskegon, Mich., who is a star quarterback and the No. 2-rated point guard in a basketball-rich state, and 6-5, 180-pound small forward Bryan Sekunda of State College, Pa., who averaged 20.2 points as a senior and is sitting out this season while recovering from ACL surgery.

Following SBU’s win over Northeastern, Pikiell offered his scouting report on each of the three newcomers:

Sturdivant – “He’s a versatile forward with a great body, 6-7, 230, shoots the three, puts it on the deck, can post up. We don’t have a guy like him. He’s going to cause problems because he can step out, he’s a good passer, he can dribble and handle and he’s very athletic. I’m really excited about him.” With senior power forward Eric McAlister graduating, Sturdivant will have an opportunity to come in and play right away alongside 6-8 post man Jameel Warney for the next two seasons. Pikiell said Sturdivant ultimately will be capable of playing center and both forward positions.

Thrower – “He’s 6-2, 200 pounds, a power point guard with deep range who really loves contact. He can get to the rim and make plays. He’s a really good athlete, the kickoff return guy, the punter, the safety and the quarterback. He’s very athletic and tough.”

The departure of senior guards Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley will create some room in the backcourt. Current sophomore Carson Puriefoy III, who is lightning in a bottle, figures to be the starter. Redshirt freshman Roland Nyama projects as the starting two-guard but also can play small forward. Thrower might come off the bench at first as part of a three-guard rotation, or he also can play two-guard.

“I always like to have my point guards two classes apart,” Pikiell said. “Trey will be a junior, and Deshaun will be a freshman. He scores. I can play him on the ball or off the ball. He’s versatile and can play both guard positions. I’m so excited because now he’s going to be full-time with basketball. I think he can be special.”

Sekunda – “He averaged 20.2 points a game as a senior, and he can really shoot the ball. He tore his ACL. He was going to go to prep school, but then he had to get the surgery. He’s home rehabbing now. He’s a great student. His father, Glenn, played at Syracuse and Penn State and played in Europe for 13 years, a real good player. When I was at UConn, he was at Syracuse, a great guy. His father is 6-10. Bryan’s 6-5 or 6-6 and could end up being 6-8.”

With this recruiting class, Stony Brook continues to get bigger and more athletic. As Pikiell summarized: “We got three versatile players who can play a lot of positions. Dee is a big-time athlete that’s tough and hard-nosed. Bryan’s a real IQ guy that can shoot and pass, and Tyrell can do a little bit of everything. I couldn’t be more pleased with the day that we had.”

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