Xaverian standout Elijah Hardison is one of SFC’s new recruits
Ex-Clipper Hardison has 'tremendous upside' acccording to Braica
Standing 6-foot-7 and boasting an impressive athletic bloodline, Xaverian High School standout Elijah Hardison is one of four new recruits who have committed to play Division I college basketball at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights next season.
Hardison, a Brooklyn native and recent graduate of the Bay Ridge-based Catholic school, will be joined by Ontario’s David Muenkat, Vuc Stevanic from Serbia and Jamaica, N.Y., and Rheaquone Taylor in helping to replenish the Terriers’ roster after they went 13-18 last year.
“We would like to welcome these four exceptional student-athletes to our program. David, Vuk and Rheaquone are all older players with experience, which will help replace the majority of our frontcourt that we lost to graduation this past season,” SFC Head Coach Glenn Braica said.
“Elijah comes from a great program at Xaverian High School, and I believe he has tremendous upside. We look forward to them all being integral parts of our team,” he added after watching SFC lose a heartbreaking first-round NEC Tournament game to top-seeded Robert Morris last month.
Hardison, the only one of the four new Terriers who did not arrive on Remsen Street via the community college route, was a solid contributor to the Xaverian varsity squad last season, averaging 12.5 points per game to go with 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots.
He earned the coveted Clipper Award and Second Team honors during his time at Xaverian, but Braica sees limitless potential in the budding forward whose cousin Josh Howard was a 10-year NBA veteran while his brother Matthew spent some time with the New York Jets.
“Elijah is an athletic big with excellent upside for a freshman,” Braica said. “He is another strong rebounder who gives us some rim protection and is more skilled than he has shown to this point.”
The son of Renay and James Hardison, Elijah chose SFC because of the school’s high-level athletics, the opportunity to major in psychology and to stay close to home, according to a school-issued release.
Muenkat, a 6-foot-6 forward from Brampton, Ontario, comes to SFC after spending the first two years of his collegiate career at Trinidad State Junior College, where he averaged 10.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting 55.3 percent from the field.
“David’s a very athletic player,” Braica said. “He’s a slasher, who has increased his range. He has the ability to score the ball facing up or with his back to the basket and has developed his three-point shot as well. He’s a tremendous rebounder and a good finisher.”
Stevanic, a 6-foot-8 forward, joins the Terriers after spending the past two seasons at nationally ranked Highland Community College.
Through two seasons at Highland, the Jagodina, Serbia native appeared in 61 games and made 49 starts, averaging 7.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.
“Vuk is a skilled big guy. We’re looking forward to him helping in the frontcourt as he’s physical, plays very hard, and has a great motor,” Braica noted.
“He can pick and pop and shoot the three, or he could score with his back to the basket. Additionally, he has a high basketball IQ and is a tremendous passer.”
Taylor, listed at 6-foot-7, will be playing at the Pope Center after spending two seasons at Hutchinson Community College, where he averaged 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game during his two-year career.
Before his junior college experience, Taylor starred at Our Saviour Lutheran High School in the Bronx.
“Rheaquone is an experienced all-around player who can score the ball in the key area,” Braica said.
“He has a solid mid-range game and is a strong rebounder. He is a tough matchup from the perimeter as he is too strong for smaller guys to guard and too quick and athletic for bigger players to size-up with. He has a chance to score in different ways and is an excellent finisher.”
Terriers Head Coach Linda Cimino went the international route in bringing in a quartet of potential difference-makers, officially announcing the additions of Astou Fall, Fruzsina Horvath, Carmen Segura and Eszter Varga to the roster last week.
“We are excited to welcome these exceptional young women to our family here in Brooklyn Heights,” Cimino said.
“They have all played at the highest level representing their respective countries, which has allowed them to gain the necessary experience to be successful at the Division I level.”
Fall is a 6-foot-4 forward from Dakar, Senegal. She attended Cheikh Anta Diop University.
“Astou is an extremely long and athletic player who can play the wing or inside,” Cimino said. “She is a tremendous athlete with three-point shooting ability and possesses a great inside presence.
“She can score with her back to the basket and is a strong rebounder. Additionally, she fills the court on the defensive end and has a tremendous prowess to block shots.”
Horvath and Varga are both natives of Hungary and Segura hails from Spain, giving the Terriers a recruiting class that is as rich in bringing diversity to Brooklyn Heights as it is in providing a fresh batch of talent to the Terriers’ roster.
“They bring diversity, unique skill sets and a competitive edge that will help elevate our program to the next level,” Cimino insisted.
“We are excited for their arrival and look forward to each of them making an immediate impact on Remsen Street.”
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