NEW YORK - Columbia will usher in a group of five newcomers to the squad for the 2013-14 season, as announced by head coach Kyle Smith on Wednesday.
The Class of 2017 includes forward Jeff Coby, guard Kendall Jackson, forward Chris McComber, forward Luke Petrosek and center Connor Voss.
“I’m really excited about this group of guys,” stated Smith. “All of these players come from highly successful programs and have championships on their resumes. They all had a strong desire come to here and continued to show that Columbia and the Ivy League is a prime destination to play college basketball.”
“Coming into this season, we knew we had some frontcourt needs,” Smith continued. “We’ve addressed those needs and continued to add another strong guard to our roster. I believe this talented group can get us where we want to be.”
Jeff Coby - F - 6-8 - 220 - Pembroke Pines, Fla. - Choate Rosemary Hall/Sagemont
Coby is an athletic post player known for his rebounding prowess and athleticism. He played the 2012-13 season at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. In his final year at Sagemont High School in Florida, Coby scored 19 points and grabbed 14 boards to lead the school to its first ever 2A title. Additionally, he has experience playing for the U.S. Junior Team that competed in Russia during the summer of 2011.
“Jeff gives us a strong athletic, inside presence that will provide a scoring option down low,” Smith said. “He helped Sagemont win a state championship in 2012 and played at Choate last year in the state finals. We hope that winning pedigree will continue at Columbia.”
Kendall Jackson – G - 5-8 - 160 - Union City, Calif. - Suffield Academy/Bishop O’Dowd
Jackson possesses great speed, court vision and is regarded as a pass-first point guard. He transferred to Suffield Academy in New England after playing at Bishop O’Dowd in Northern California. In 2012-13, Jackson averaged 12.0 points, 6.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds per contest, helping Suffield go 20-4 and 10-0 in league action.
“Kendall will be one of the quickest players in the Ivy League,” commented Smith. “He will give us a change of pace at both ends of the floor and gives us a true point guard. He had a tremendous year with Suffield and before that played at one of the premier programs in California (Biship O’Dowd), so we know he is battle-tested.”
Chris McComber - F - 6-8 - 225 - Nepean, Ontario - John McCrae Secondary School/REDA
McComber is another versatile player that can play in the paint or on the outside. He played at the 2012 FIBA World Championships with the Canadian U17 Team and participated in the Next Level Basketball Academy club program. McComber has also worked out and played tournaments with the Toronto-area Regional Elite Development Academy (REDA) with rising sophomore Grant Mullins.
“Chris gives us some bulk even though he’s not a true center,” Smith said. “He gives us a solid body in the post and has the ability to step out and hit some three’s. He’s an aggressive player and that’s what I really like about him.”
Luke Petrasek - F - 6-10 – 205 - East Northport, N.Y. - Northport
Petrasek is a well-rounded player that can play with his back to the basket or face up and became a strong rebounder and defender at Northport. He is coming off a season in which he earned first team All-Long Island, first team Class AA All-New York State and Suffolk County Player of the Year honors after averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. His strong play was instrumental in leading Northport to the Long Island Class AA championship and the New York State semifinals.
“Luke was a little bit of a late-bloomer, but he was first team all-state in New York which is such a high honor,” said Smith. “He is long, lean, very skilled and has the ability to knock down shots. He has the tools to become a very good basketball player. The future should be bright for him.”
Conor Voss - C - 7-0 - 245 - St. Cloud, Minn. - St. Cloud Cathedral
Voss will bring physicality and toughness in the post for the Lions. A strong rebounder and defender, he was named Metro Area Sports Player of the Week on March 11 and was selected Defensive Player of the Year at St. Cloud Cathedral following his senior year. As a junior Voss earned the Blue Gold Award and has experience at the AAU level, playing for the Minnesota Comets.
“Connor is going to give us a rim-protector from day one,” Smith said. “He’s a rugged guy, and that comes from his dad having a background as a football player and coach. He’s another one that comes from a winning program at St. Cloud Cathedral. He could be a big-time difference maker for us.”