OTTUMWA — One of the most talented NJCAA basketball teams in the country just got a little scarier.

Indian Hills is carefully scouring the country this offseason, trying to add the final pieces to its championship puzzle.

This past week, Warriors coach Jeff Kidder found two of those pieces.

Indian Hills officially signed point guard James Washington and forward Delvon Johnson. Both players are transferring to Indian Hills after playing last season at Western Illinois.

The additions could be a huge asset to the Warriors’ roster. Last season, Indian Hills won the Region XI Tournament and finished sixth in the country at the NJCAA National Tournament.

With ultra-talented guards Dwight Buycks and Dwight Hardy returning next season, Washington figures to be an important third scoring option in the backcourt.

“We are really excited about him,” Kidder said. “He’s left handed, he can run a team, he’s very strong.”

Washington already possessed a strong connection with the Indian Hills program before signing. In high school, the St. Louis native played with Warrior Leon Powell, and it was Powell who first hinted to Kidder that Washington might be interested in transferring to Indian Hills.

Playing alongside Powell, Washington was a standout in high school, earning all-metro and all-state honors. Washington compiled a record of 144-4 in four seasons at Vashon High School, losing to Tyler Hansbrough’s Poplar Bluff team in the state championship game his junior year.

Washington redshirted his freshman season before starting 12 games last year and averaging 10.5 points per game for the Leathernecks.

“James can hit shots and that is going to put a lot of pressure on the opposing defense,” Kidder said.

Johnson is just as big as a catch for the Warriors. The Chicago native stands 6-9, 225 pounds. Kidder said Johnson is adept at scoring over both shoulders.

“I didn’t know how good [Delvon] was,” Kidder said. “When he came on the visit, he was unbelievable and he got along really well with our guys. He is a high major player.”

Give a big assist to former Western Illinois coach Derek Thomas for helping Kidder land both recruits. Thomas resigned his head coaching duties with the Leathernecks after this past season, and told Kidder both players may be leaving Western Illinois.

Recruiting can be very trying for a coach and it never hurts to have a friend like Thomas, Kidder said.

“I’ve been recruiting for so many years,” Kidder said. “I’ve always kept one or two scholarships available as late as August. There are a lot of different things that can go on. Patience can be a virtue and it can be a pain in the neck in recruiting.”

Indian Hills is still looking to add another post player and another guard who can shoot the ball, Kidder said.

The 2008-09 season could be a special one for Indian Hills. Buycks and Hardy were both named to the all-tournament team at the NJCAA National Tournament and both are back next year after their record breaking seasons.

Washington and Johnson only add to a strong core of Warriors already in place.

“I am going to be real smart about piecing our team together,” Kidder said. “I think we can be real special next year.”

Trending Video

Recommended for you