Hilltoppers sign five-star recruit

Head coach Rick Stansbury talk to Junior Lomomba (5) during the Hilltoppers 103-97 double overtime win over Kentucky Wesleyan College on Saturday Nov. 5, 2016 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Tyler Mansfield

Tuesday night the WKU men’s basketball team announced the signing of its highest-ever ranked recruit as 6’11, 215-pound five-star center Mitchell Robinson officially became a Hilltopper.

Robinson, who committed to play at WKU back on June 29, joins the Toppers out of Chalmette (Louisiana) High School.

The big presence is a consensus five-star recruit across all recruiting networks and is ranked as the No. 4 prospect nationally in the 2017 class by 247Sports.com and No. 6 by Rivals.com and Scout.com.

247Sports also rates Robinson as the top center prospect in the country and the No. 1 player out of the state of Louisiana in the Class of 2017.

“It’s obvious Mitchell is one of the most talented big guys in the country,” Stansbury said in an official WKU press release. “His best days all lie ahead of him. He has a lot more abilities than just running and jumping and blocking the ball. He has a skill set where he can step out and really shoot the basketball. We’re excited to have him and his family be a part of our program.”

Robinson, who was once committed to Texas A&M, averaged 20.9 points, 13.6 rebounds, 8.1 blocks and two steals per game last season as a junior at his high school, where he also shot 69 percent from the field.

Robinson, whose godfather is WKU assistant coach Shammond Williams, also averaged 15.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per outing for Pro Skills on the EYBL last summer.

While participating in the Peach Jam, the athlete recorded 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per contest while shooting 71.8 percent.The WKU men’s basketball program’s slogan for the 2016-17 season is “Back On The Map,” as the coaches, players and fans all have high expectations for Head Coach Rick Stansbury and the Hilltoppers for the next years to come.

With a total of three highly-touted signees and two transfers all a part of the 2017 freshman class, WKU has made strides towards making that slogan a reality.

Three-star guard Taveion Hollingsworth signed his National Letter of Intent last Wednesday while four-star guard Josh Anderson did the same on Monday.

Former Syracuse player Moustapha Diagne and Buffalo transfer Lamonte Bearden will also both be eligible with the Tops next season.

Although all three signings were eye-catching, the official announcement of Robinson engaged many Twitter users.

WKU Basketball’s official account tweeted at 6:29 p.m. on Tuesday and said “So how is everyone’s Tuesday night going? Would you like us to make it a whole lot better? #GoTops,” and then followed it in a new tweet reading “Our latest signee is a BIG one in more ways than one. WKU fans, please welcome Mitchell Robinson to The Hill.”

Four-star guard Anderson joins the WKU program out of Madison Prep Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is ranked as the No. 43 player in the country in the 2017 class by Rivals.com, No. 50 by Scout.com and No. 52 by 247Sports.

“We’re very excited to have Josh join our basketball program and family,” Stansbury said in an official WKU press release. “He’s a talented young man who brings a lot of athleticism offensively and defensively. Besides being a terrific basketball player and athlete, he’s a great young man that comes from a really good family.”

Anderson, a 6-foot-4 guard has led Madison Prep Academy to three-straight championships in four years.

Last year, he averaged 18.1 points, 5.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game as a junior. He and his team won their second-straight title and appeared in their third-straight state championship game.

At the AAU level, Anderson caught eyes by averaging 15.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals last summer for the Louisiana Elite program.

Hollingsworth, a three-star out of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, is a 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard and chose WKU over the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“We’re excited to have Taveion join our basketball family,” Stansbury said in an official WKU press release. “It’s very obvious he’s a terrific player from a really good high school program where he’s been really well-coached.”

Hollingsworth was named the KHSAA Sweet 16 Most Valuable Player last year while leading Dunbar to a 33-6 record and its first state championship title. In the tournament, the player played 124 of 128 possible minutes and averaged 21 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a junior.

Hollingsworth has a chance this season as a senior to become Dunbar’s all-time leading scorer, as well as the all-time leading scorer in Fayette County history.

One of WKU’s already-enrolled students, Diagne spent the 2015-16 season at Northwest Florida Junior College after failing to meet the academic requirements at Syracuse. He averaged 10.2 points and 7.3 rebounds while playing with the junior college.

Diagne, a 6-foot-9 forward is sitting this year out but will have three years of eligibility remaining.

WKU’s other current Topper, Bearden, who will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out this season, averaged 13.7 points and 4.2 assists per game as a sophomore at Buffalo in 2015-16.

Bearden started 27 of 30 games as a sophomore and averaged 29.9 minutes and shot 42.3 percent from the field.

He was named a Third-Team All-Conference selection in the Mid-American Conference. As a freshman, Bearden started 31 of 33 games and was named to the All-MAC Freshman team.

WKU currently has the ninth-ranked recruiting class nationally, according to 247Sports.com. Scout.com ranks it 10th and Rivals.com has the program at No. 7. Neither of those rankings include Bearden or Diagne.

[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMansfield.