GCU mens basketball program signs its first four recruits

The Georgian Court University (GCU) mens basketball program made history on Nov. 26, with the signing of the first four student-athletes to its inaugural 2013 recruiting class.

Hamilton Capellan (Bound Brook), Alex Ramirez (North Rockland/N.Y.), Jalen Robinson (Bowie/Md.), and Jonathan Rodriguez (Cardinal McCarrick) were all on campus with their families to secure their commitment to GCU’s first mens basketball team.

“To say we’re ecstatic would be an understatement,” said head coach Enrico Mastroianni in a college press release. “I am so deeply honored that these exceptional young men and their families have chosen to put their faith in our staff and our program to help guide them through their collegiate experience. They will forever be a part of our history and, more importantly, our future.”

In addition to having academic success, these men have had tremendous success on the court. Capellan had an outstanding junior season at Bound Brook High School, leading his team in scoring at 15 points per game. He helped guide the team to a 22-6 record, which was one of best in school history. He scored a career-high 31 points in a quarterfinals game last season, while earning All-Group 1 All-State Honorable Mention, All-Somerset County Second Team, Skyland Conference First Team and ranking as one of the top 75 high school players in the state of New Jersey.

“Hamilton has incredible scoring potential, but more impressive is the effort he brings defensively,” said Mastroianni. “I know that he will be a phenomenal college player, and I’m grateful that he’ll be on our side.”

Capellan’s longtime friend and new teammate, Rodriguez, had similar success at Cardinal McCarrick High School as a junior. He helped guide Cardinal McCarrick to the semifinals of the Greater Middlesex County (GMC) tournament while leading the team in assists. He finished his junior season as an All-Conference and All-Area selection, and he also ranked as a top-75 player in the state of New Jersey.

“Both of these guys impressed me so much during the summer and played so well together, it was only fitting for them to continue their on-court chemistry in college,” said the head coach. “JD [Jonathan] is a lights-out shooter and fearless attacker offensively. Knowing he’s not afraid to take the big shot is a big plus for me.”

Heading north from Bowie, Md., to join the Lions, Robinson completed his junior season averaging a double-double with 13.5 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game, which included a 27-point, 21- rebound effort vs. High Point High School. He was named to the Prince George’s All- County Honorable Mention Team. An honor-roll student throughout his entire junior year, Robinson has maintained that status in his first semester as a senior with a 3.85 GPA.

“What impressed me most about Jalen was his maturity and leadership initiative. He’s a guy that I feel confident will demonstrate a character that all of our players will aspire to emulate,” said Mastroianni. “Jalen’s strong frame, combined with his versatility, will present serious matchup problems for opponents.”

Ramirez, a point guard, averaged 13.5 points per game, eight rebounds per game and 10 assists per game during his junior season while also serving as a team captain. His AAU team, the New York Falcons, was the 2009 National Runners-Up in Las Vegas. As a sophomore, he was named to the Beacon All-Tournament team and was named tournament MVP in his junior year. Ramirez has also been selected to his All- Section and All-County teams, while also excelling academically as a perennial member of the honor roll.

“Alex is lightning-quick and sees the floor extremely well,” said Mastroianni. “He is a very smart player who makes great decisions with the ball. He is an amazing shooter with deep range and a pesky defender creating havoc for opposing ball handlers. His exceptional work ethic will ensure his success.”

While the Lions will be looking forward to the next signing period in April, things have certainly gotten off to a great start.

“I can’t express enough how excited I am to know that these four young men will be paving the way for our future success,” Mastroianni said. “Regardless of their athletic achievements, these are character-driven individuals that I am proud will represent this program for the years ahead.”