ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure men's basketball program completed a busy signing week Friday with the commitment of junior-college forward Chris Dees, who inked his National Letter of Intent to join the program this fall, head coach Mark Schmidt announced Friday.
Dees, a 6-8, 255-pound sophomore who will have two years of eligibility with SBU, spent his first two seasons at New Mexico Junior College. He is the third player to sign this week with the Bonnies, who have filled four of their five open scholarships for next season. He averaged 4.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 12 minutes per game last year for a guard-oriented New Mexico Junior College team. No player on the team averaged more than 17 minutes per game, and only three averaged more than six points per game for the substitution-heavy squad.
A native of Sylmar, Calif., Dees led the team in blocked shots with 28, anchoring a Thunderbirds' backline which led its conference (NJCAA Region 5 – New Mexico/Texas) in scoring defense, holding its opponents to just 58.9 points per outing.
"Chris gives us some much-needed depth at the traditional forward position," Schmidt said of Dees, who averaged 19 points and 14 rebounds per game in high school. "We have signed, and are bringing back, a few guys who are combo forwards, but we really needed another big body down low. He's got a decent shot for a forward, but we're most excited about the impact he could make rebounding the ball and at the defensive end."
Dees, who is interested in studying business at St. Bonaventure, started 30 of 34 games for the Thunderbirds, who captured the school's first Region 5 Championship since 1996, were ranked in the top-10 in the nation at the end of the year and finished the campaign with a 27-7 overall record.
On Monday, 6-7 combo forward Xavier Smith from Plano East High School in Texas joined the St. Bonaventure program, and on Wednesday, 6-4 JUCO guard Andell Cumberbatch from Barton Community College in Kansas inked his NLI. Last Monday, 6-7 combo forward Denzel Gregg from prep powerhouse St. Thomas More in Connecticut committed to the Bonnies. The spring signing period runs through May 15.