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The Southwestern Spartans are certainly bringing in players who have experienced success in high school. The latest signee is Delby Halcomb, a 5'10" guard from Dallas Center-Grimes High School. Halcomb qualified for the Iowa State Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row this season. Halcomb has a knack for floor leadership, and his intelligence for the game helped propel Dallas Center-Grimes to the final eight in class 3A. Ironically, Halcomb met another Southwestern recruit, Marcus Littleton from Norwalk, in the first round. Now the two will combine their abilities to attempt to help a large freshman class for the Spartans next season.
Photo (L to R): Sitting - Joel Rankin, Dallas Center-Grimes basketball coach, and Delby Halcomb; Standing - Lisa and Clayton Halcomb, Delby's parents
Patrick Wright, a 5'11" guard from Davenport West High School, signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Southwestern Spartans next season. Wright, who helped lead West to 18 regular season wins, is a lightning quick perimeter player who will give Southwestern a legitimate dribble attack player, as well as a defender who can guard penetration players.
"Patrick's high-school coach (Mark Bigler) is an old friend of mine who really knows what we are trying to do here," Southwestern Head Coach Mike Holmes said. "Coach Bigler had high praise for Patrick and what he could do for us."
After seeing Wright play, Holmes agreed. "I realized Patrick could bring an element to our program that we really needed to compliment this recruiting class," Holmes explained.
Michael Kaufman, a senior guard at Orient-Macksburg High School, won't have to travel far to move into his dorm room next year. Orient-Macksburg High School is only ten miles north of Creston, so local basketball fans will be familiar with his exploits in high school. Kaufman, a 6'0" guard, led the Bulldogs deep into the 1A district tournament this year before bowing out to Guthrie Center. Head Coach Mike Holmes said, "I was really impressed with how Michael sees the floor, can pass off the urgent dribble, and can score in the lane while off balance. I think his set of skills is a good match for the stuff we are running." Assistant Coach Thad Tussey has ties to Orient-Macksburg, as his father, Steve, is the head coach for the Bulldogs.
It took a few years for Southwestern Head Coach Mike Holmes’ southeast Iowa connections to pay off, but the Spartans cashed in for the 2011-12 recruiting cycle by signing two prominent players from the region—Trevor Kayser of Cardinal and Kyle Graves of Davis County. Holmes, who spent six seasons at Ottumwa High School, was familiar with both programs and was no stranger to basketball at either school. Kayser, a 6-foot-6-inch smooth-shooting post player, who can play outside and inside, will be an effective tool in the Spartan’s high-post oriented attack. The 6-foot-2-inch Graves, who as a younger player attended Holmes’ summer camps, is extremely familiar with the systems at Southwestern, and will bring an intelligence and understanding for the schemes that few incoming freshmen have.
“Trevor and Kyle represent the solid work ethic and selflessness indicative in that part of the state,” Holmes said. “They will be excellent teammates for us next year, and will be able to make contributions within their roles. I am really excited about their addition to our program.”