Midwestern State coach Nelson Haggerty welcomed nine new faces into the fold during the first official practice of the 2012-13 season Monday afternoon.
The delayed announcement of the signing class includes forwards Corbin Thomas, Eddie D'Haiti and Derek Kaster as well as guards Cameron Adderley, Monzaigo Williams, Snap Peters, Keith Spellman, Connor Geiser and Patrick Smith.
"I'm really excited about the additions," Haggerty said. "We graduated some really good seniors at the forward spot. I think Eddie, Corbin and Derek will definitely fill the void left by that group of guys. At those posts, we're a little more skilled and really athletic around the basket. All have been great teammates and great for their programs and have won a lot of basketball games." We'll be looking to continue to win championships here at Midwestern State.
"This team has a lot of new faces added with a group with the experience of getting to another Elite Eight. We're looking forward to building this team for another run."
MSU opens regular season play at the Southwestern Oklahoma State Classic in Weatherford. The Mustangs take on Louisiana State-Shreveport on Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. before playing the host Bulldogs Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Midwestern plays a pair of exhibition games against at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The Mustangs take on Southwestern Assemblies of God on Nov. 1 and Sul Ross State on Nov. 5. Both games tipoff at 7 p.m.
Thomas transfers to Midwestern State after spending his junior season at Missouri State where he appeared in 11 games registering 10 rebounds and five points for the Bears in 2011-12.
Prior to that, the 6-6, 225-pounder played two seasons at Southwestern Illinois College. He garnered NJCAA Division I All-America third-team honors in 2011 after averaging 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. Thomas earned Great Rivers Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors was runner-up for the NJCAA Region 24 Player of the Year award as a sophomore.
"Corbin is a strong, really athletic and tough forward," Haggerty said. "He is quick off the dribble and shoots very high percentage shots and has a really good nose for the ball rebounding. He has been a winner all of his life."
D'Haiti, a 6-8 junior forward from Orlando, Fla., joins the Mustangs after earning NJCAA All-Region 8 honors last season at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game for the Saints while shooting 47-percent from the field two seasons ago as a sophomore.
"Eddie was an all-region player in a very tough Florida region," Haggerty said. "He is an athletic forward and is very skilled. He has range out to the arc but has really good foot work. Eddie has a knack for scoring with his back at the basket and as good of a shooter as he is, he's an even better passer."
D'Haiti appeared in 28 games while making five starts for Division I Youngstown State as a redshirt freshman in 2009-10. He averaged 2.5 points and 2.9 rebounds with 18 blocks and nine steals in 11.4 minutes per game for the Penguins.
The 6-6, 230-pound Kaster originally signed to play at Division I UC-Riverside before spending his freshman campaign at Riverside City College in 2009-10.
The Riverside, Calif. native enjoyed a breakout season at Glendale Community College in 2011-12 averaging 16.5 points and 6.2 rebounds a game for the Gauchos.
"Derek was an all-region player (at Glendale)," Haggerty said. "He has a really good perimeter game and has a knack of scoring the basketball at the 3-point arc and around the basket. He's big, strong and athletic for his size."
Midwestern State reloaded with a load of talented guard including four transfers in juniors Cameron Adderley, Monzaigo Williams and Snap Peters as well as sophomore Keith Spellman.
The Mustangs also gobbled up a pair of freshmen in Connor Geiser and Patrick Smith.
"I really like our perimeter players, as well," Haggerty said. "All are really good athletes that show great toughness on both ends of the floor. They all can score the basketball, guard multiple positions and can play in the half court as well as the open court."
The 6-2, 210-pound Adderley is coming off of a sensational sophomore campaign at Northeast Community College (Neb.) where earned NJCAA All-Region 11 while leading the Hawks with 20.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
"Cameron was one of the top scorers in junior college as well as one of the top rebounding guards in the country," Haggerty said. "He is really strong, loves to compete and has a knack of getting to the basket and finishing against contact. He is just a bull at getting to the basket."
Williams excelled at the point guard position in two seasons at Western Texas College averaging 13.1 points and 3.7 assists as a freshman in 2010-11 before scoring 9.7 points and dishing out 4.2 assists per game last season.
"Monzaigo is very fast with the basketball and very hard to stay in front of," Haggerty said. "He is really athletic in the way he finishes for his size. He has great vision and can really find people. He has been one of the leaders in steals in the over the last two years and has shown he can score the basketball. Monzaigo as a very high basketball IQ."
Peters will sit out this season after transferring from Lamar State-Port Arthur where he scored 15 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.2 steals during the 2011-12 season.
"Brandon is an extremely athletic and explosive combo guard who has done nothing but win all of his life," Haggerty said. "As explosive as a scorer that he is, he's an unselfish player who has proven he can guard anyone on the floor. He competes at a very high level."
Peters was highly touted as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com out of high school as he helped Houston Yates High to back-to-back state championships and a No. 1 USA Today national ranking. He averaged 6.5 points, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals a contest in his first collegiate season at Western Kentucky in 2010-11.
Spellman returns to the court after spending a year away from the game after his freshman season at Western Texas College was cut short due to injury in 2010-11.
The 6-2, 180-pound sophomore led the Westerners in scoring at 16.3 points per game to go along with 5.1 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game.
"Keith is a very tough and competitive player," Haggerty said. "He is very fast and explosive and does a little bit of everything. He shoots the ball and can really attack the basket. He is good in the open floor and has proven the can guard anyone."
Spellman scored 2,500 points during his prep career averaging 22.5 points a game for Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.
A pair of freshmen round out the class including Conner Geiser out of Howe Military School in Indiana and Patrick Smith out of Jones High School in Houston.
"Conner is a really tough lefty and competes on both ends of the floor. He has a really good handle, gets to the basket and finishes at the rim," Haggerty said. "Pat is a winner and has all of the intangibles that teams need in order to win. He has always guarded the top players and is a very versatile scorer."