N.C. Central's basketball program welcomed two new players on Monday as coach LeVelle Moton announced the arrival of transfers Dominique Sutton and Ray Willis.
Sutton, a Durham native, departed Kansas State after three seasons, while Willis, from Atlanta, left Oklahoma before the start of his junior year. Both provide the Eagles with the type of high-level basketball talent they are searching for while continuing to make the transition to NCAA Division I.
"I was ecstatic when Dominque contacted us to express his interest in transferring to North Carolina Central University," Moton said in a statement. "We are excited to have a student-athlete of his caliber as a part of our men's basketball program."
Sutton, who attended the Patterson School in Lenoir, will apply to the NCAA for a waiver that would allow him to play for the Eagles during the 2010-11 season. He returns home to be closer to his family, including two children.
Last season, the 6-foot-5 Sutton averaged 7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds, starting in 36 of 37 games. He established himself as a defensive-minded, rebound-grabbing forward, who played a key role in the Wildcats' system.
One of the top high school recruits in the nation, he transferred to Patterson after two seasons at Durham Jordan, where he was named the PAC-Six conference player of the year as a sophomore.
Willis, who played at Westlake High, must sit out until the 2011-12 season in accordance with the NCAA transfer rules. He comes to Durham after averaging just 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13 games for the Sooners.
"We certainly welcome the addition of Ray Willis to the North Carolina Central University men's basketball program," Moton said in a statement. "He was a top 100 prospect coming out of high school and has an outstanding ability to score the basketball."
Willis' departure from Oklahoma adds yet another blow to coach Jeff Capel's program. The former Duke guard has come under recent scrutiny as the NCAA opened an investigation of his program to determine if rules were violated. An assistant coach and several players, including key contributors, have left the program, leaving Capel with nine new players and a uncertain path to walk after finishing last season 13-18.
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