Lamont Smith has been busy in his short time as Head Coach of the San Diego Toreros. He has brought in a number of assistants to round out his staff, most notably former Texas Assistant Coach Russell Springmann. After that recent hiring of Springmann, it’s no surprise that the first two player commitments of the Smith era hail from the Lone Star State. Springmann was a well regarded recruiter for the Longhorns helping bring in elite talent like Kevin Durant, and it’s likely his connections led to the to two Texas players committing to the Toreros not long after Smith added Springmann to his staff.
Smith inherited three available scholarships when taking over the Toreros. A fourth was taken already by Alex Floresca, a 6’8″ forward from Missouri who committed to Bill Grier during the early signing period in November. His status doesn’t seem to have changed since then, so it appears both he and Smith are committed to honoring his scholarship despite coming in under a new coaching staff than the one that recruited him.
Floresca fills a big need at the forward position, where the Toreros have never had a lot of size. So Smith probably felt comfortable addressing the depth at guard with his first signings. Olin Carter and Tyler Williams are both high-scoring guards with good size. While it will take a while for them to reach the talent level of Johnny Dee and Chris Anderson, at least on paper Carter and Williams are bigger and more athletic players than the departing duo who had to overcome a lack of size and athleticism.
Carter is a 6’2″ point guard from Allen, Texas. He was a triple threat in high school averaging 19.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. With that kind of stat line, he is a Kyle Collinsworth type of player who could be expected to contribute all over the court. His rebounding is also very appealing. Smith has stressed his desire to bring in athletes, something the Toreros have lacked in the past. Carter could step in immediately with those kinds of numbers, even if he begins his career coming off the bench.
Williams is cut from a similar mold. The 6’5″ shooting guard from Plano, Texas averaged 18.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. He was a McDonald’s All-American nominee, which instantly makes him one of the most high-profile and decorated high school players to ever commit to San Diego. He is in the mold of a Duda Sanadze type of guard/forward hybrid who will likely use his points and rebounds to make up for the loss of quality forward Thomas Jacobs to graduation.
More from San Diego
- Johnny Dee Quiet in the NBA Summer League
- Kris Byrant Will Face Albert Pujols in Home Run Derby
- Johnny Dee to Play for Warriors in NBA Summer League
- Kris Bryant Selected to NL All-Star Team
- Reviewing San Diego’s Coaching Staff Overhaul
These moves were clearly attempts by Springmann and Smith to bring in their own guys to build around. Marcus Harris and Vasa Pusica had decent freshman seasons, and were likely the favorites to assume the starting guard roles this season if Grier was still in charge. But Carter and Williams are impressive athletes, and they will fight for decent-sized roles right away. Their versatility is their greatest weapon as there aren’t many players on the roster who can make major impacts in multiple areas. If they can do one thing well, they can find an immediate role. If they continue to do 2-4 things well, they could instantly become the foundations of the lineup.
While it would still be nice to acquire more frontcourt depth, and they might with their final scholarship, Carter and Williams represent a lot to be excited about for Toreros fans. These are two talented athletes who should find ways to contribute at the Division 1 level. And the fact that they signed with USD shortly after one of the top recruiters in Texas was added to the coaching staff is a great sign. Springmann knows Texas talent, and it looks like he and Smith lured a couple quality players out to San Diego.
Time will tell as with any recruit, but it’s a great start to the new regime.