November 3, 2011

Black Knights pull off a weekend trifecta

For Coach Zach Spiker and his staff, even the surprising October Nor'easter storm could not dismantle what has to be one of the best basketball recruiting weekends for the 3rd year Army head coach. Three commitments, with apparent 4th on the way truly warmed the Black Knights' coaching staffs hearts during last Saturday snow storm.

Up for official visit during the weekend of October 27th were small forward, Zach Johnson; point guard, Scott Mammel; center, Kieffer Jordan along with small forward Kennedy Edwards.

As the recruits assembled this past weekend, where the group arrived separately on Friday in what was a stunning and picturesque autumn day one the historical West Point campus, they were about to make a decision that would not only link them together for the next five years, but most likely for the rest of their lives

Like most official visits that kick off on Friday, the quartet and their family members has an opportunity to tour the campus, hear from cadets, administration and actually sit in on classes.

Of course, Saturday would be the for this young men, who also had an opportunity to watch the Army football team trounce Fordham, 55-0 in crazy weather conditions even by football standards.

Each player had already become familiar with the mystique of West Point, what it has to offer and what it represents .... this weekend was just the icing on the cake, as noted by Johnson.

This was actually my third time ... I went for two other unofficial visits," shared the prospect out of Suffolk (Va.)." "My first was about a month and a half ago."

"And when I went for my official visit (weekend of 10/27) I met my future teammates, Scott (Mammel) and Kieffer (Jordan), also Kennedy Edwards. He hasn't committed yet but is waiting for his dad to see the campus. Kieffer committed two days after we all visited; he called me and told me."

Commitment Time

But it was Johnson who kicked things off when he and his family, along with Coach Allen made their way to Spiker's office.

"He then ask me what else do they have to do in order for me to play for Army? I said you guys have done everything and I want to commit right now," chuckles Johnson.

"We then embraced each other, there hugs all around the room and then right after that, they called Scott's family to come into the office. The he told me that he committed and it was a great feeling. We then embraced each other, took picture ... it was just a great feeling - very exciting."

For the foursome, they had already spoken amongst ourselves even before they went into coach's office that they were going to commit.

"I hung around after Scott committed, because right after him was Kieffer. But like I said, he didn't commit on the spot, because he wanted home talk to his mother first," shares Johnson.

So why did Johnson give his pledge to the Black Knights? "Army was the first Division I school to ever contact me and I knew from the beginning," he states. "I had a good feeling about it because Coach Allen, the assistant coach contacted me was when I was coming back church. I thought that maybe this was a sign or meant to be. But once I started knowing the coaching staff more with phone calls and when I got up on campus and met the players we just instantly bonded."

"I felt the family oriented environment ... everyone was very welcome and I felt at home. I also bonded with the two Virginia players (Max Lenox & Mo Williams) on the roster and they really welcomed me."

Like Johnson, point guard Scott Mammel, had already visited Army unofficially and this past weekend's official visit was the icing on the cake for the newest member of Coach Spiker's 2012 recruiting class.

But probably as excited as Mammel was about his eventual college decision, he was also blown away by the change in the weather conditions.

"It was crazy because we were taking a tour through the prep school and right before we went into the building it was only drizzling snow, but when we came out an hour later it was 6 inches on the ground ... it was crazy," shares the Texas prospect, who stated that his fellow recruits were teasing him about never seeing snow like this before.

However, it was in the comfort of Spiker's office that Mammel officially became a Black Knight.

"We were watching the football game and during halftime Coach Spiker called me up to his office, which was me, my mom and my grandfather. He talked with us and asked how our trip was going. Finally he was like .... 'well Scott, how much longer are you going to wait to commit?' and said that 'I'm ready now coach'."

"When we walked out of his office, he announced to everyone who was outside the office waiting that I had committed and everyone was clapping and pumped."

The audience that Mammel was referring to included, Johnson, Jordan, Edwards, their respective family members and the Black Knights' coaching staff, as the swift point guard elaborated on why he said yes to Army.

"Well, the number one thing for me, is that you are going to be spending four years ... well in my case, five years so the main thing for me were the coaches, the people that I'm around and the benefits of graduating from West Point," says Mammel, who had visited unofficially to attend the Elite Camp in June.

For those who have not seen Mammel play, 6-foot-0, 180 pound recruit will be the first to tell you that he has a strong will to win and it shows in his play on the hardwood.

"Whatever gets the job done, I will do it," says the prospect out of San Antonio (Texas) Churchill High School. "I like playing with shooters, so I can set them up for shots."

In 2010, Churchill had a solid regular season as they went 35-6, but lost to Taft in the 2nd round of the playoff. This season, Mammel and his teammates, which include University of Texas commit, Connor Lammert are hoping to go deeper in the playoffs in 2011.

Mammel, who was recruited by Omar Mance was also hearing from Navy, Lamar and Denver.

Stay tuned to GoBlackKnights.com as we will hear from Kieffer Jordan on his commitment and later today, an update on Kennedy Edwards who is also on the verge of saying yes to Army.

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