LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Covenant head men's basketball coach Kyle Taylor recently announced his recruiting class for the upcoming season.
Six seniors departed after last season's 13-11 record making this recruiting year an important one for Taylor and assistant coach Brian Millar. Finding good shooters was an emphasis for Taylor and Millar and it appears the coaches were successful to that end.
Below is the first of two releases introducing the new players to the Covenant men's basketball program. The second release will come out later this week.
ROBBY BELL - Coral Springs, Fla.
Robby Bell, a 6'3" wing from Coral Springs, Fla., highlights the class of 2013. Bell helped Coral Springs Christian (coached by Covenant alum Steve Fitzgerald) to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A State Championship game during his senior campaign and finished with a 71-20 record as a three-year starter. "Robby is a great shooter, but what really makes him special is the fact that he is a complete player. Robby can guard and rebound in addition to being a great catch and shoot deep threat," said Taylor. Bell connected on 133 shots from downtown over his high school career, was valedictorian of his class, and also the chaplain for the senior class at Coral Springs Christian. He is the son of Doug and Gwen Bell.
BEN PHELPS - Asheville, N.C.
Ben Phelps, a 5'9" shooting guard from Asheville, N.C., is the second member of Covenant's 2013 recruiting class. "Ben is an outstanding lefty shooter with deep, deep range," said Taylor. "He is small, but I've had the privilege of watching him in many settings and he has handled himself well against bigger, stronger, and more athletic opponents. Ben needs to get stronger, but has the skill set to contribute and continue moving our program forward." Phelps averaged 16 points per game and shot 46 percent from 3-point range his senior year. He connected on 220 3s and scored more than 1200 points during his four year career. Phelps attended Asheville Christian Academy and is the son of Chris and Susie Phelps. He wants to coach basketball after his playing career is over.
JARED PEARLMAN - Fort Myers, Fla.
Jared Pearlman, a 6'5" wing/forward from Fort Myers, Fla., adds yet another shooter and skilled perimeter player to the 2013 recruiting class. Pearlman played at Evangelical Christian School where he had a stellar career, averaging 18.4 points per game his senior year and appeared in the FHSAA Class 3A Regional Final (Elite Eight) as a junior. "Jared is a well-rounded basketball player who can shoot the 3, is athletic enough to rebound at the 4 spot, yet skilled enough to play in our 4-out offensive system," remarked Taylor. "With the departure of three senior forwards Jared will have the opportunity to compete immediately for playing time." He is the son of Dennis and Kay Pearlman.
Z ARIMA - Herriman, Utah
Z Arima, a 6'2" guard from Herriman, Utah, adds some needed depth at the guard spot. A two-sport standout for Herriman High, Arima was All-Region in both Basketball and Baseball. "Z is a bigger guard which we really need to compete in the USA South. He is strong and skilled, with the ability to drive it and shoot it. Z can handle the ball and play the point if needed, and is a solid defender as well. I am thrilled we pulled him out of Utah with the help of Covenant College basketball alum Phil Farmer," Taylor commented. Arima will also play baseball for at Covenant under head coach Doug Simons. He is the son of Harry and Mary Arima.
TREY PATTON - Raleigh, N.C.
Trey Patton, a 6'4" wing from Raleigh, N.C., is another 3-point threat and solid all-around player in the class of 2013. Patton averaged 12 points for North Raleigh Christian during his senior campaign. "Trey came on our radar late, but as soon as we saw him play we knew he would fit well in our 4-out offense," said Taylor. "Trey is a capable shooter and has a chance to develop into a great offensive threat for us. Trey's ability to pick up our defensive system, rebound from the wing spot, and play our physical brand of basketball will determine whether or not Trey cracks our rotation as a freshman." He is the son of Rick and Mary Margaret Patton.
WILL PORTLOCK - Winter Haven, Fla.
Will Portlock, a 6'2" combo guard from Winter Haven, Fla., will compete for a spot as a point guard for Scots this fall. Portlock had a solid career at Lakeland Christian including a 17-game winning streak to start his senior year. He is one of six players in this year's recruiting class who was introduced to Covenant through a Covenant College alum. Portlock's high school basketball coach Todd Radford received his Master of Education from Covenant and first tipped Taylor off to this quality floor general. Taylor commented that "Will is a long point guard, and that is something I've wanted since I arrived at Covenant. His length will be a great asset for him as we need him to win 50-50 balls, get deflections, rebound, and lead the break. Will is a good ball handler and capable distributor who will need to adjust to the physicality of the college game." He is the son of Sam and Vicky Portlock.
CONNOR SEARS - Franklin, Tenn.
Connor Sears, a 6'5" forward from Franklin, Tenn., is a great candidate to replace Jon DeVries as a multi-dimensional, active forward. Sears played for the NCC Warriors and is the younger brother of Covenant basketball alum Callum Sears. "Connor is a big, strong, physical forward who can step out and shoot the 3," said Taylor. "He is a very different player from his brother, definitely not the shooter Callum is, but has the ability to play on the low block and rebound as well. Connor will need to develop his ball skills and continue developing as an inside-outside threat." He is the son of Ian and Anne Sears.