UT Martin head men’s basketball coach Jason James has announced the signings of Dee Oldham, Bobby Jones, Justin Childs, Orlando Rutledge and Tobias Dowdell for the 2012-13 season.
Oldham will have four years of eligibility, Dowdell will have three years, and Jones, Childs and Rutledge will have two years to play for the Skyhawks.
“With this year’s recruiting class, we improved ourselves in every facet of the game,” said James, who will enter his fourth season at the helm next season. “There were a few areas that we really wanted to address in the offseason and with these five young men, we did that. One of the things I am most encouraged about is the fact these guys want to win. All five of them come from success and they want to continue that success to continue into their years at UT Martin. I also love the fact that all of these young men are team-first guys. I am very excited about this year’s signing class.”
In three seasons, Oldham became Wilson Central’s all-time leading scorer, pouring in 1,260 points for head coach Troy Bond.
Oldham was a big part of the Wildcats’ run to the TSSAA Class AAA state tournament this past season, when Wilson Central posted a 26-6 record.
In his final season at WCHS, he averaged 17.5 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals per game.
Jones was part of a remarkable turnaround at Eastern Oklahoma State College.
Willingly accepting the team’s sixth man role, Jones averaged 14.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest last season, earning All-Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference third team accolades.
As a prep, Jones attended Trezevant in Memphis, where he averaged 16.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game his senior year when the Bears went 19-12.
A member of the Memphis Commercial Appeal “Best of the Preps” Class A-AA team as a senior, Jones had a knack for big scoring games, including a game-high 24 points over Manassas in the Region 8-AA semifinals.
Childs was a member of back-to-back Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges conference championships in his two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Childs led the Bulldogs to a 23-5 record and a Region 23 Tournament semifinals appearance as a sophomore. He was an all-region, all-state and All-MACJC second teamer last season and was voted as the team’s MVP after he averaged 7.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
As a freshman, Mississippi Gulf Coast posted a 21-6 record and Childs was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds. 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Childs averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game his senior prep season.
Rutledge joins the Skyhawks after a successful two-year run at Lake Land College.
Rutledge was the leading scorer (16.6 points) and rebounder (6.8) in 2011-12 for the Lakers, who tied for the Great Rivers Athletic Conference championship.
Rutledge averaged close to 20 points and 10 rebounds per game as a prep senior and poured in 16 points per game as a junior.
Dowdell played one season at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, averaging 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while making 56 percent of his shot attempts from the floor.
His best game of the season came on Nov. 15 against Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, when he recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds. Overall, he cracked double-figures in seven games, including five times in the first nine games of the season.
Dowdell was a ferocious rebounder and defender at the high school level, competing at Wenonah.
The Dragons went 26-8 competing against Class 5A competition during Dowdell’s senior campaign when he averaged 7.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, 2.9 steals and 1.9 assists per game.
As a junior, he led Wenonah to a state tournament appearance and was MVP of the regional tournament. In the regional semifinals against Arab, he scored 27 points and snagged 15 rebounds.
These signees will join UT Martin’s eight returning players in 2012-13. The new-look Skyhawks will make their season debut on Nov. 9 at Arkansas-Little Rock.
Published in The Messenger 5.16.12