Fostering a family atmosphere helped the Kent State men's basketball program make two key additions to its family.
Deon Edwin and Marvin Jones, who both signed national letters of intent to join the program in the past two weeks, each indicated that the family vibe they received while visiting campus played a major role in their decision to join the Golden Flashes.
Edwin, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound guard from the Virgin Islands, who played at Laramie County Community College in Wyoming last season, has actually been a member of the Kent State basketball family for quite some time. His brother Jason was a two-year starter for the Flashes from 2003-05, who averaged 12.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game and was named All-Mid-American Conference Honorable Mention as a senior.
Current KSU head coach Rob Senderoff was an assistant back then, and current assistant coaches Eric Haut and DeAndre Haynes were teammates of Jason Edwin.
"My brother knew the (head) coach and the two assistant coaches, and he said they'll treat me well," said Deon Edwin.
Jones, a 6-10, 205-pound forward/center from Chicago, who starred last winter at Highland Community College in Freeport, Ill., found the home he was looking for on his fourth campus visit.
"I asked one of my buddies why he picked Illinois and he told me it felt like home," said Jones. "Every visit I went on didn't feel like home until Kent. I jelled there perfectly, felt like I was already on their team, and they welcomed me with open arms."
Both players will have two years of eligibility remaining and are expected to contribute immediately, but in different ways.
Edwin fills a glaring need in the backcourt for the Flashes, who have only four returning guards on scholarship. He averaged 21.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and three assists at Laramie County, and also has the physical tools to be a solid perimeter defender.
"Coach (Senderoff) put stuff together that showed me what he wants me to do, and he asked me if I'm capable of doing it for him. Everything he said, I'm comfortable doing and have no problem doing," said Edwin. "I'm ready for it, and I'm gonna work to get it done."
Jones is a main component of Senderoff's size infusion. The Flashes' seven-player recruiting class averages 6-8, and six players on next year's roster will be 6-8 or taller.
Jones is thin, but athletic and versatile, and will be expected among other things to help improve a Kent State defense that had some difficulties defending at the rim last season.
"I can handle the ball, shoot, block shots, rebound, all around the table," said Jones. "When I (visited) Kent, they had great players, but I'm coming in to be a big asset to the team. I've been talking about (playing) Division I basketball since my senior year in high school. It was two long years, but finally it's here."
The current Flashes are off this week while preparing for next week's final exams. They will report to Kent State for summer school on June 9, while Edwin and Jones will join the team at some point over the summer after wrapping up educational commitments at their current schools.
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