NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Oklahoma head men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger announced today the signing of three players to national letters of intent on the second day of the 2013-14 early signing period. Joining the Sooners in 2014-15 will be high school products Dante Buford, Khadeem Lattin (pronounced kuh-DEEM LATT-in) and Jamuni McNeace (pronounced juh-MUNN-ee mick-NEESE).
"All three are really quality people who want to be Sooners," said third-year OU head coach Lon Kruger. "They want to be here, they’re good students, rangy athletes and good teammates. They’re all similar with their qualities and they fit perfectly in terms of what we’re looking for."
6-7, 210, G/F, Greenville, S.C. (Arlington Country Day [Fla.])
Buford, a 6-7, 210-pounder, is a four-star recruit by ESPN and 247Sports. Ranked No. 63 nationally by ESPN and No. 109 by 247Sports, Buford averaged 14.2 points and 9.0 rebounds a game last year for an Arlington Country Day team that finished 30-4. He was a second-team Florida Association of Basketball Coaches Independent All-State selection. This year, the Apaches are ranked No. 13 in the preseason USA Today top-25 poll. Originally from Greenville, S.C., Buford is also ranked No. 128 nationally by Rivals.com. He also took official visits to Miami (Fla.) and South Carolina.
OU Head Coach Lon Kruger on Dante Buford:
"Dante is a rangy 4/3, 3/4 who can score. He runs the floor very well and rebounds the ball aggressively. He's just a complete, all-around type player who brings a lot of things to the table. He plays with a good motor about him."
Arlington Country Day Head Coach Rex Morgan on Dante Buford:
"He's extremely athletic. He can run, he jumps real easy. He averaged 14 points and nine boards last year and shot 41 percent from the 3. So he can shoot the ball with good range. And he's a great kid. He's probably as good off the floor as he is on it.
"He wants to step outside and that's probably what he'll have to do at the next level. He's really been working on his ball handling and he can guard the 3 (position) right now, which is important."
6-9, 210, F, Houston, Texas (Redemption Christian Home School Academy)
Another four-star recruit, Lattin is a 6-9, 210-pound big man who is ranked No. 65 nationally by 247Sports (No. 13 power forward), No. 96 by ESPN (No. 11 center) and No. 124 by Rivals. Lattin, who is home schooled, averaged averaged 12.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots per game as a junior for his Redemption Christian Home School Academy squad. He spent his sophomore season at Canarias Academy in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, and played as a freshman at Second Baptist School in Houston. Lattin's mother, Monica Lamb, played collegiately at Houston and USC and in the WNBA, winning three league titles with the Houston Comets (1998-2000). His grandfather, Dave "Big Daddy" Lattin, was a starter on Texas Western's famed 1966 national championship team (portrayed in the 2006 movie "Glory Road") and went on to play in the ABA and NBA.
OU Head Coach Lon Kruger on Khadeem Lattin:
"Khadeem's a high-energy guy who is long, rangy and athletic. You can say that about all three of our signees. He rebounds the ball well. Because of his attitude and work ethic, he's got a tremendous upside in terms of where he's going to go as a player. Right now he's thought of more of a shot-blocker and a defensive guy, but I think he has a ton of potential offensively."
Redemption Christian Home School Academy Head Coach Ed Chung on Khadeem Lattin:
"Oklahoma is getting a super athlete, and it's enhanced because he's 6-9. He's a hard worker -- very hard worker -- is very coachable and he's a winner. And he's a great kid. He's young but he's a gregarious kid. I love him. He's definitely a winner.
"As far as his strengths, he's a defensive guy right now. He's a Dennis Rodman type. Offensively, he's got to still develop. But his potential is unlimited. He can rebound, he can block shots and he can guard little guys. He's got quick feet, good hips. The best thing about it is that the things that he needs, Coach Kruger and his staff will be able to coach him up on."
6-9, 205, C, Allen, Texas (Allen HS)
McNeace is a 6-9, 205-pounder who is a three-star recruit. He is ranked the No. 25 center in the country by 247Sports. He is coached by Jeff McCullough, who used to coach at Norman High School and before that at Sherman (Texas) High School when Cameron Clark played there. McNeace, who has grown almost a foot in the last three years and has put on 30 pounds in the last 12 months, has only been playing basketball a couple years.
Oklahoma Head Coach Lon Kruger on Jamuni McNeace:
"Like the other two, Jamuni has a high motor and a huge upside. Similar to Khadeem, he's more of a shot-blocker right now. But he loves to play and loves to work and he has a great upside. He has a bright future."
Allen High School Head Coach Jeff McCullough on Jamuni McNeace:
"The first thing I'll say about Jamuni is that he's young man with great character. He's just a fun-loving, high-energy kind of guy you'll see bouncing around campus having a good time interacting with everybody. I think he'll become a popular guy on campus because of his personality.
"On the court, he's extremely, extremely athletic. His potential and ceiling are very high. He's a little rough around the edges right now because he's only really played two years of basketball. He was 5-foot-10 as a freshman and got cut from the team. Now he's 6-foot-9 and things have changed. He's still learning the game and making some changes on how he approaches it mentally and with some basketball I.Q. things. But he runs the floor and jumps about as well as any player I've ever coached. I would put him in a similar athletic category as Cameron Clark with a little more size and about a seven-foot wingspan. He really blossomed late last season and in the spring and summer. He had a great summer on the AAU circuit and really started catching some peoples' eyes."