BEAUMONT, Texas – Despite the fact the Lamar University men’s basketball team will be kicking off the season Friday at Tulsa, the Cardinals’ coaching staff spent part of Wednesday improving next year’s roster with the addition of three signees. Junior College transfer Christian Barrett (Houston, Texas) and high school standouts Davion Buster (Austin, Texas) and Grehlon Easter (Little Rock, Ark.) announced their intentions to continue their careers at LU announced head coach Tic Price Wednesday afternoon.
“The first thing we wanted to do was identify guys who were a good fit for our style of play,” said Price. “At the end of the day we felt like all three of these guys fit that mold. Each guy brings his own strengths to our roster. We feel very good about the talent we’ve added during the early signing period. We’ve added depth to our team with three guys who will compete at a high level, in addition to some offensive weapons.
The 2017 early signing class consists of two guards (Buster and Easter) and a forward (Barrett). The signees will join the four NCAA Division I transfers who were added to the LU roster during the offseason. The additions come at a key time for the Cardinals who will be graduating six players following the 2017-18 season, a senior class that includes four guards and two forwards.
The current signing class includes players who have achieved the highest level of success during their high school careers winning two state championships, to go along with one of the nation’s top scorers.
“When you talk about developing a culture, a big part of that is trying to bring in winners,” said Price. “You look for guys who have won at a very high level, players who refuse to lose because it’s part of their DNA. Bringing in guys who have played and won at a championship level adds to the standard that we’ve set for this program,” added Price.
The lone transfer in the class, Barrett makes his way to the Golden Triangle from Jacksonville College. A two-star prospect, Barrett is out to a quick start during his junior college career averaging 13 points and five rebounds through the first two weeks of the season.
Barrett was a first-team all-state selection out of Houston’s Westbury Christian High School where he led the squad to a 33-7 (.825) overall record and a perfect run through district play. Westbury wrapped up the season by bringing home the 2016 state championship behind Barrett’s 19 points and 11 rebounds per game.
“Christian gives us a grown man in the paint,” said Price. “He is one of those guys who is going to battle. He takes pride doing the little things on the court. With us losing Colton (Weisbrod) at the end of this year, Christian is a guy that we see can come in and play a very similar role. He may not be quite as efficient offensively as Colton is now, but he does everything else just as well. He is a double-double threat every game.”
Both Buster and Easter add depth and scoring punch to the Cardinals’ backcourt and both are ranked among their respective state’s top recruits. Buster is rated as the No. 83 player in the state of Texas, while Easter is considered one of the top 10 guards in Arkansas.
Buster enters his senior season as one of the states’ elite scorers. He has already eclipsed the 2,000-point plateau before he stepped on the court to begin the 2017-18 season. A first-team All-Central Texas selection, there were signs that Buster would play college basketball early in his career. A 5-10 guard, Buster averaged 26.8 points, dished out 4.1 assists and recorded 3.4 steals as a sophomore.
“Davion gives us an offensive threat that we’ve probably never seen here before,” said Price. “Simply put, he is a scoring machine. The kid can play either the one or the two position. What we really liked about him is you can’t guard this guy. He is very quick with the basketball, and he’s relentless on the floor. Davion plays hard on both ends of the court.”
Easter is a two-star prospect who makes his way south after a highly touted career at Little Rock’s Mills High School. A top-10 guard from the state of Arkansas, Easter guided Mills to a near perfect 31-2 (.939) overall record and a 2017 state title.
“Grehlon Easter has a toughness about him,” said Price. “He will compete on every play. He is another member of this signing class who can put up some big points. Defensively, he works just has hard and can guard several positions on the floor. Every time we watched him play he never backed down no matter who the competition was.”
While the recent signees will have to wait a year to don the Red and White uniform, the current Cardinals will tip off the 2017-18 season Friday afternoon at Tulsa. The game will tip off at noon from the Reynolds Center and can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI.