LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell head men’s basketball coach Dave Paulsen has announced the early signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, including a pair of highly regarded in-state recruits. Joining the Bison in 2014-15 will be 5’10” guard Stephen Brown (Manassas, Va./Christ Chapel), 6’9” forward/center Nana Foulland (Reading, Pa./Berks Catholic), 6’2” guard J.C. Show (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) and 6’6” guard/forward Zach Thomas (Ijamsville, Md./Oakdale).
“We are very excited to bring in four very good basketball players, but more importantly, four terrific young men who embody all the values and intangibles that we take so seriously at Bucknell,” said Paulsen of his sixth recruiting class. “We were able to address a variety of positions and skill needs in this class. I give great credit to my staff, in particular recruiting coordinator Aaron Kelly, who worked extremely hard to identify four great fits for our program. It is also very gratifying to me that the two top prospects on our board from the state of Pennsylvania, in terms of academic and basketball talent, decided to commit to Bucknell.”
Brown comes to Bucknell from the small Christ Chapel Academy in Woodbridge, Va., where he has already scored over 2,000 points entering his senior year. A member of the varsity team since the eighth grade, Brown has helped lead his team to the Virginia Independent Schools Division III state tournament three years in a row, including a berth in the championship game in 2012. He scored 21.9 points per game as a sophomore and 21.6 as a junior, and he has been recognized by the Prince William County News & Messenger as the area’s top scorer and 3-point shooter.
Brown is a two-time Christ Chapel Male Athlete of the Year, and he has been a part of three NVIAC league championship teams. Brown was selected to the 2011-12 and 2012-13 All-VISAA Division III State Teams. He is a two-time winner of the 3-point shooting competition at the Prince William County High School Hoop Fest. In 2013-14 Brown has already been selected to the DMVelite Preseason All-Northern Virginia First Team.
“Stephen is a pure point guard,” said Paulsen. “He is jet quick and a terrific on-ball defender with great intangibles and leadership skills. He is potentially a very dynamic guard on the court and a dynamic leader off the court.”
Foulland earned Berks County Player of the Year honors as a junior last season after leading the Saints to a 26-4 record and Berks Conference and District 3-AAA championship “three-peats.” Foulland averaged 14.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots while shooting 58.0 percent from the field for Berks Catholic, and he also led his Philadelphia-area AAU team, Team Final, to the semifinals at the AAU Nationals in Orlando, Fla., and the Peach Jam in South Carolina.
Foulland was a First Team All-Berks County and a Second Team All-State selection last season.
“Nana is a terrific frontcourt player with the ability to score around the basket and also step outside and hit a jump shot,” said Paulsen. “He has the potential to be a dynamic rebounder as well. I love his work ethic and unselfishness, and also that he has already been a part of such highly successful high school and AAU programs.”
Show is a highly decorated two-sport athlete at Abington Heights High School, where he plays quarterback and defensive back on the Comets’ powerful football team in addition to starring on the hardwood in the wintertime. During the 2012-13 basketball season, Show averaged 18.9 points and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 52 percent from the field and 49 percent from 3-point distance. He was a First Team AAA All-State selection and was nominated for the Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award in Pennsylvania. Show, whose father Mike is the athletic director and head basketball coach at Baptist Bible College, made the Times-Tribune All-Region Team and was a First Team All-Lackawanna League honoree after leading his team to a 26-3 record and a berth in the state quarterfinals.
Already a 1,000-point scorer entering his senior season, Show was also a Third Team All-State choice as a sophomore, when he averaged 17.1 points per game and helped Abington Heights to a district title and a state quarterfinal appearance.
On the gridiron, Show was named on the Pennsylvania “Hot 50” List for top juniors in the state in 2012. That year he caught 10 touchdown passes as a wide receiver, earned First Team All-Lackawanna League and Third Team All-State honors, and was part of a squad that finished 10-3 and won the District 2 AAA championship. This season he is playing quarterback, and through 11 games has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns while leading the team to a 10-1 record.
“J.C. is a prolific scorer who can get points on the board in every imaginable fashion,” said Paulsen. “He is the quintessential example of a ‘lead guard.’ He can run a team and also generate his own offense. He is also one of the most competitive young men I’ve ever encountered. He has limitless leadership potential.”
Thomas ranks No. 1 in his class at Oakdale High School, where he is a four-year team captain and a two-time Frederick News-Post Area Player of the Year. He was a First Team All-Conference pick as a sophomore and a junior, and he has been a Frederick County Gazette First Team All-Star in each of his first three seasons. In 2011-12 he earned an All-Met Honorable Mention from the Washington Post.
Thomas is a 2013-14 DMVelite Preseason All-State selection. He reached the 1,000-point milestone as a sophomore and enters his senior year with 1,609 career points. He has averaged 21.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Last season he helped lead Oakdale to conference and regional championships and a berth in the Maryland 2A state semifinals.
“Zach is a versatile player who will have the potential to play four different positions on the court during his career,” said Paulsen. “He has great size for a perimeter player. He can knock down the three as well as drive to the basket and guard multiple positions on the court. We love his versatility and competitiveness.”
Paulsen has gotten immediate production from each of his first five recruiting classes at Bucknell. His first class – Bryson Johnson, Colin Klebon, Mike Muscala and Joe Willman – combined to score over 4,600 points and captured three straight league titles before graduating last May. Muscala was a second-round pick in the NBA Draft, and he and Willman are both playing professionally in Europe this winter.
The Bison are currently 1-1 after a four-point loss at Stanford and Wednesday’s 90-80 victory at Penn State. Bucknell hosts Saint Francis (Pa.) in the home opener on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion.