Men’s basketball signs two newbies

Joe Davis

When Sacramento State men’s basketball head coach Brian Katz took the job at Sac State he envisioned building a winning program which all Hornets, past and present, could be proud of.

Five years in, Katz’s teams have won less than 40 percent of their games, but through solid recruiting, a change is on the horizon.

“The bottom line is we took over the program when it was at its absolute lowest point ever,” Katz said “It has taken some time to build it up. We are at the point now where we are inching up the ladder in not only the win column, but we are starting to get better players.”

After two consecutive solid recruiting classes, which included Joe Eberhard, Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity, Katz thinks this year might be the best so far.

In the past month, Katz has nabbed two recruits for next season to bolster an already-deep rotation. The addition of Eric Stuteville and Nick Hornsby will be essential as the Hornets lose senior players to graduation.

“Number one (Stuteville and Hornsby) are both team-first guys-no question about it,” Katz said. “They come from good programs where the team is emphasized above the individual. They are both very hardworking kids who are competitive and have toughness as well.”

Katz did not travel far to find size to fill the paint for when senior forwards Konner Veteto and John Dickson depart. In fact, Katz tapped into his alma mater, Casa Roble High School, to bring in 6-foot-10-inch Stuteville.

During his junior season at Casa Roble, Stuteville averaged more than 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks per game. For his Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team, the Norcal Pharaohs, Stuteville averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds per game over the summer of 2012.

“Stuteville is the biggest sleeper in the state and it’s not even close,” Katz said. “I watched him the other day when he went off for an easy 33 and 18 and it wasn’t even hard for him.”

Hornsby is a 6-foot-5-inch guard from Tustin, Calif. He currently serves as captain for his Tustin High School team. As a junior, Hornsby averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game. Ideally, Hornsby would fill in for the senior Eberhard after wraps up his college career.

“Hornsby is a very long athletic player who needs to add some upper and lower body strength,” said Tustin High School head coach Rich Bossenmeyer. “Hornsby can handle the ball and he is a good shooter. He can guard multiple positions, and offensively he can play multiple positions. “

Bossenmeyer had high praise for his senior captain. He noted a strong family structure helps to stabilize Hornby on and off the court.

“(Hornsby) is a solid young man from a solid family,” Bossenmeyer said. “His parents expect him to be a high character guy on the court, in the classroom and in the community. I think you’ll see the same attributes when he heads up to Sacramento.”

Much of Sac State’s recruiting success is dependent on wins. Hornsby watched the Hornets win over Utah Nov. 16 on TV. The next day, he decided to sign a letter of intent to play for Sac State.

The extent of success these two new recruits will have playing Division I basketball remains to be seen. Katz feels like he may have stolen a couple more guys who were flying under the radar.

“After bringing in Garrity, McKinney, Eberhard, Joey Quigley and Cody Demps, you can see the progression,” Katz said. “This year we have these two guys. If Stuteville would have waited (to sign) he could have easily been able to play for a Pac-12 school. Hornsby could easily have received an offer to play in the Mountain West Conference.”

Joe Davis can be reached on twitter @famousjoe530.