Duquesne basketball coach Jim Ferry secured his first player from this year's recruiting class when St. Benedict's power forward Isaiah Watkins signed with the Dukes.
Watkins (6-8, 220) averaged 8.0 points and 8.7 rebounds as a junior at St. Benedict's, a Newark, N.J., prep school with a powerhouse basketball program. His team finished 35-3 last season and was ranked No. 21 by USA Today.
The Toronto native, considered a three-star recruit, reported scholarship offers from Washington, Oregon State, Arkansas, Miami and Villanova, among others. He committed to Duquesne in late September.
Wednesday was the first day seniors could sign National Letters of Intent for basketball. The early signing period ends Nov. 21.
Considered one of Canada's top recruits, Watkins will provide front-court strength for a Duquesne program that ranked next to last nationally in rebounding margin a season ago.
His aunt, Khalihah Este-Shehu, also played basketball at Duquesne (2000-2003).
Another targeted prospect, Christ the King shooting guard Jon Severe, visited the Dukes earlier this month. The New York native has not yet chosen a college, but reportedly was still considering Duquesne. Severe (6-2, 180) averaged 13.6 points as a junior and tied the school's single-game record with eight 3-pointers.
The traditional signing period runs from April 17 until May 15.
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