Cleveland Adds Wills to Roster
May 11, 2009
FRESNO, Calif. - With an eye for continuing to ensure strength in years to come, head coach Steve Cleveland announced today the addition of Division I transfer and talented guard Jonathan Wills to the Bulldog men's basketball program with an Athletic Aid Agreement. Wills will redshirt the 2009-10 season due to NCAA transfer guidelines and Cleveland expects Wills to provide an immediate impact in the 2010-11 season with two years of eligibility remaining.
Wills (Carson, Calif.) will provide significant depth and strong leadership qualities to a backcourt that has led the Western Athletic Conference in 3-point shooting the past three seasons.
"Jonathan is a very good shooter who can play all three perimeter positions," Cleveland said. "He is skilled on offense and defense. He is also a good student. His two years of experience in the MWC will be good for our team. Jonathan will be able to use his year sitting to focus on strength development and elevating the quality of our practices."
For Steve Alford's New Mexico Lobos, Wills (6-6, 185) started 19 games over two years as UNM went 15-4 in those contests. For his sophomore campaign, he averaged 12.9 minutes in the last 18 games as an excellent perimeter defender who hit critical shots in key games for the co-regular season champion Lobos. One of his highlights came when he hit a game deciding 3-pointer in a 76-73 double overtime win at Colorado State. During his freshman season, Wills earned the Most Improved award, led the Mountain West Conference with an impressive 4.00 assists to turnover (24-6) ratio in conference contests, including a 24 assist to four turnovers clip in the final 12 games, and scored a career-high 13 points on the road at Colorado.
Wills has also earned the respect of coaches across the country including Wyoming head coach Heath Schroyer, who was Fresno State's associate head coach during Cleveland's first two seasons with the Bulldogs. Schroyer competed against Wills and New Mexico in the MWC and spoke very highly of the guard as a competitor, person and student.
"Jonathan fits exactly the mold of a great basketball player and a high character guy who is a good student as well," Schroyer said of Wills. "He is a type of student-athlete who is a possible first team all-WAC candidate. He definitely would have been one of the better returning wings in the MWC and this speaks to Coach Cleveland's system of bringing in quality individuals to his program."
As a prep star at Mayfair High School, Wills led the Monsoons to a 21-7 record in his senior campaign with an average of 20.8 points and nine rebounds per game. This led to a nomination for Lakewood, Calif., area men's basketball player of the year. As a good shooter with significant range, he converted more than 70 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip over the course of his junior and senior seasons. Wills also played quarterback at Mayfair during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Wills is the latest member of a highly touted 2009 recruiting class. The other members of the class are: point guard Steven Shepp, center Greg Smith and guards/forwards Garrett Johnson and Jerry Brown, Jr.
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