September 7, 2006

Trio of Players Sign With Eagles (4/19/06)

April19, 2006

A pair of forwards who earned All-State honors in the state of Washington and a high-scoring community college standout have signed letters of intent to attend Eastern Washington University and play men's basketball for the Eagles, EWU head coach Mike Burns announced Wednesday (April 19).

The signees include 6-foot-7, 215-pound Jack Loofburrow from Eisenhower High School in Yakima, Wash. The other high school signee is Chris Sprinker, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash.

The third signee is Marcus Hinton from Centralia, Wash., Community College. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard is a 2004 graduate of Wilson High School in Tacoma, Wash.

"We are very excited to add these three young men to the Eastern Basketball family," said Eagle head coach Mike Burns. "They are each a key piece to the puzzle we are putting together for the future of our program."

Loofburrow and Sprinker played together -- along with fellow EWU signee Michael Taylor from Brewster High School -- in Washington's 103-95 loss to Oregon in the Les Schwab Northwest Shootout on April 2, 2006. Loofburrow scored 10 points in the game, with Taylor adding five and Sprinker finishing with three.

Hinton, who averaged 22.9 points as a sophomore and 20.6 as a freshman at Centralia CC, scored 17 points in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges All-Star game on March 19. His West squad beat the South 102-94 as Omar Krayem -- also an EWU signee from Lower Columbia Community College -- earned game MVP honors with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists as Hinton's West teammate.

Taylor and Krayem signed with the Eagles in November during the NCAA's early signing period. The five signees will join eight letterwinners and a redshirt on next year's Eagle squad.

"Marcus can make an immediate impact on our program," said Burns. "He had a phenomenal career at Centralia. He'll help us a great deal in the backcourt and help fill the void left by the graduation of starter Deuce Smith."

"Jack and Chris are both promising frontcourt players who come from great high school programs," Burns added. "Both will have a tremendous impact on Eastern Basketball."

Loofburrow averaged 18 points per game as a senior, earning honorable mention All-State honors from Associated Press and first team All-State accolades by Northwesthoops.com. He was also the Big Nine Conference MVP after leading Eisenhower to a 21-4 record and the Big Nine Conference regular season and district titles. The Cadets were ranked 10th in the final State 4A poll.

As a junior, he averaged 16 points and seven rebounds to lead Eisenhower to a fourth-place finish at the State 4A Tournament. One of his teammates on that team was Branden Johnson, who now plays at Montana State.

"Jack combines a great deal of skill with size that will allow him to be an inside and outside threat," said Burns. "He had a great high school career, capped by his being recognized by numerous organizations as an All-State player."

Sprinker was a third team All-State 4A selection as selected by Northwesthoops.com. He also earned honorable mention All-South Puget Sound League South Division honors after averaging 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots per game.

After finishing the regular season top-ranked in the final State 4A poll, Curtis advanced to the semifinals of the State 4A Tournament. Curtis finished the season 25-4, losing in the semis to eventual champion Franklin 80-76 after holding an 18-point lead. The Vikings were edged 77-76 by South Kitsap in the consolation bracket to finish sixth.

Sprinker, who missed 12 games as a senior due to a broken wrist, played at Curtis with Isaiah Thomas. Thomas averaged more than 30 points per game as a junior, was the Associated Press State 4A Player of the Year and set the State 4A Tournament single game (51), tournament (162) and career (241) scoring records.

"Chris was only able to play half his senior year, but made a big impact on his team's progress to the State Tournament," said Burns. "His size and athleticism will make him a future force in the Big Sky Conference."

Hinton finished his sophomore season with averages of 22.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while making 57 percent of his shots from the field, 34 percent from the three-point line and 74 percent from the free throw stripe. He scored 48 points at Clark on Feb. 22, 2006, to set a NWAACC Western Region single game scoring record.

He earned first team All-NWAACC Western Region honors twice, including as a freshman when he averaged 20.6 points per game. He also earned NWAACC All-Tournament honors in 2006 after leading Centralia to a fifth-place finish -- its highest finish since placing third in 1994 -- and a final record of 29-4.

At Wilson, Hinton was a first team All-Narrows League Bay Division selection twice. As a senior in 2004 he was selected as the league's MVP.

"Marcus was an explosive scorer at Centralia the last two years," said Burns. "He has a great ability to score from the perimeter as well as score by putting the ball on the floor."

Eastern finished the 2005-06 season with a 15-15 record overall and 9-5 Big Sky Conference mark. Freshman sensation Rodney Stuckey led the way, and returns for the 2006-07 season along with three other starters. Including the recruits, Eastern's 14-man roster for next season will include 11 players from within the state of Washington and one each from the neighboring states of Idaho and Oregon.

"It's great for Eastern Basketball to be able to recruit quality student-athletes from the State of Washington," added Burns. "We want to thank Dave Klovdahl from Centralia C.C., Lindsay Bemis from Curtis and Pat Fitterer from Eisenhower for all their assistance in the recruitment of these fine student-athletes."

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