Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball program and head coach Andy Bronkema, who recently completed his first season at the Bulldog helm, have continued building towards a bright future as evidenced by the additions Wednesday of four incoming standouts for the 2014-15 season.
As part of national signing day during the spring period, the Bulldogs inked three talented in-state prep products and also added a high-profile junior college playmaker to a squad that is expected to return nearly every key piece from this past season.
The group of additions includes junior college guard/forward Angelo Griffis (Kalamazoo/Central), who spent the past year at Glen Oaks Community College, along with standout West Michigan wing Markese Mayfield (Godwin Heights), talented combo guard Pakiya Ellis (Detroit/Allen) and highly-regarded shooter Andrew Meacham (Northville).
"We're thrilled to land these four talented players and they'll be key pieces as we move forward down the road," said Bronkema. "All four are coming off standout seasons and provide the necessary ingredients to help us achieve success.
"Our staff, and especially assistant coach Jim Lake, did an outstanding job of identifying these guys and helping recruit them into our program," he added.
The 6-5 Griffis averaged 22.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this past season for Glen Oaks Community College as they posted a 22-7 overall record and won the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Western Conference Championship under head coach Steve Proefrock. He was a MCCAA All-Conference and all-Western Division first team pick. Prior to Glen Oaks, he had a stellar prep career at Kalamazoo Central High School, helping his squad to a state title under head coach Mike Thomas. He also played AAU basketball for the KZoo Blues and originally began his junior college career at Lake Michigan College prior to moving to Glen Oaks.
"Angelo is a multi-tool player and a winner who's played on teams that have been highly-successful everywhere he's been," Bronkema said. "He has the ability to score the ball in many ways and will provide us some needed size at the guard/wing position. Anytime you bring in a transfer you anticipate them helping you right away and he will have that opportunity for us."
Meanwhile, the 6-4 Mayfield led Godwin Heights High School to a 25-1 overall record during the recently-completed 2013-14 prep season in addition to a state quarterfinal appearance. He was a Detroit News Class B All-State First Team selection and also recognized on the Associated Press Class B All-State squad. Under head coach Chad Conklin, Mayfield tallied 20.1 points and 11 rebounds per contest en route to Detroit Free Press Class B All-State recognition. He also achieved Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) All-State laurels and was tabbed as the Grand Rapids Press Player of the Year. Formerly, he played AAU ball for the ACB team.
"Markese is an athletic wing and a versatile player," said Bronkema. "As the tallest player on his high school team, he did what it took to win and no doubt has the skills to transition to the wing.
"Over the years, Grand Rapids has produced many Ferris State greats including current professionals Justin Keenan (Ottawa Hills) and Jerrell Sanders (Creston) so to get another talented player from the area is big for our program," he added.
The 6-2 Ellis led Detroit Allen Academy to a 20-3 overall mark as a senior while receiving Detroit News All-Metro, All-Detroit and Class C All-State Second Team recognition. He was also a Associated Press Class C All-State Special Mention choice and racked up 1,272 career points. This past season, he played in 23 games and averaged 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 4.2 steals for head coach Craig Covington. He also played AAU basketball for the Detroit Spartans.
"Pakiya is a scorer and is next in the line of successful Ferris State guards from the Detroit area, which includes past standouts such as Darien Gay (Henry Ford), Dontae Molden (Pershing) and Kenny Brown (Farmington) along with senior-to-be Dietrich Lever (Canton)," Bronkema said. "He has the things you can't teach and his athleticism and skill make him a perfect fit for our system. We're excited about his future with us."
Finally, the 6-6 Meacham was both a Detroit Free Press and BCAM Class A All-State recipient for head coach Todd Sander at Northville High School. He attained team Most Valuable Player Award laurels and was the all-area player of the year in addition to being a Detroit Free Press All-West Second Team pick. The first-team all-conference honoree averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 3.0 assists and 2.1 steals in his final campaign. He played on the AAU circuit with The Family AAU team.
"Andrew is one of the best shooters in the state and his ability to stretch the defense will be a valuable asset to our team," said Bronkema. "His desire to get better and prove he is more than a shooter is what we are looking forward to the most as he begins his collegiate career at Ferris State."
The Ferris State men's basketball program has a long track record of success that includes more than 1,000 all-time victories, 13 GLIAC Championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. FSU has also reached the GLIAC Postseason Tournament eight of the last 10 years, which ranks as one of the conference's top showings over the past decade. The Bulldogs have won four league championships and twice reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen since 2004.
This past season also marked the 12th consecutive year in which FSU has finished with double-digit victories. With the exception of senior forward Raymoan McAfee, the remainder of the Bulldogs' squad is eligible to return next fall.