Reloading with two early signees for 2020-21
Following a breakout 2018-19 season and a follow-up that has the Lancers off to a 4-6 start in 2019-20, Longwood Head Coach Griff Aldrich announced the addition of two student-athletes to the program during the early signing period of the 2020 recruiting cycle, a Longwood Athletics press release stated.
Officials in the release noted that the duo includes 6-foot-2-inch Jermaine Drewey from Houston, Texas, and 6-6 Jesper Granlund from Helsinski, Finland, both of whom boast high-scoring resumes and will come to Longwood with playing experience beyond the high school circuit.
Drewey will join the Lancers as a junior on the 2020-21 squad following two seasons at nationally-ranked Panola College, while Granlund — a multi-year member of the Finnish National Team program — will enroll as a freshman next season, the release continued. Those two will bolster a Longwood squad that is slated to return 11 of 15 members from this year’s team, which opened the season a perfect 4-0 in Willett Hall and ranked among the Big South’s top five in scoring offense, scoring defense, field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
Drewey will be the third Texan recruited to Longwood by Aldrich, who spent more than a decade in the state as an attorney and Amateur Athletic Union basketball coach before returning to the college sideline in 2016, first as Director of Recruiting and Program Development at 2018 America East Champion UMBC and then as Longwood’s head coach beginning in March of 2018, the release cited. Granlund, meanwhile, will be the fourth international player to join the program under Aldrich and the third on Longwood’s roster in 2020-21.
“Since we arrived at Longwood, we have sought to identify, attract and recruit not only outstanding basketball talent but also high quality young men who are eager to grow both as players and people,” Aldrich said in the release. “While possessing a high level of basketball talent and ability is a must, equally important is that any player entering our program is a great fit for our team, Longwood University and the broader Farmville community. We are very confident that both Jermaine and Jesper will be two outstanding complements to our program and university.”
Drewey is a guard who is in the midst of a high-scoring sophomore season at Panola College in Carthage, Texas, officials said in the release. He leads Panola and ranks among the top 10 in the NJCAA Region XIV Conference with 13.6 points per game, 39 field goals, 18 three-pointers and 40 free throws. He has scored in double figures in seven of his first 10 games, including a pair of 20-point outbursts, to lead the powerhouse Ponies to an 8-2 record out of the gate and a No. 11 NJCAA national ranking.
“Jermaine is an athletic scoring guard that will be a great fit in our system,” Aldrich said in the release. “He is a tremendous shooter with the ability to get into the paint and finish at the rim. He also has an infectious personality and has been coached well for the past two years. We are lucky to add Jermaine to our Longwood community.”
Drewey, whose mother, Valinda Lewis, played professional basketball for the Houston Comets in the Women’s National Basketball Association, plans to major in business administration with an emphasis in management at Longwood, officials noted in the release.
Granlund is a wing who has played multiple seasons for the Finnish National Team, the release stated. Most recently he was the leading scorer for the country’s under-20 national squad and has previously played for the U18 national team and in the organization’s National League.
He is coming off a 2018-19 season with Helsingin NMKY in the Finnish Division III where he averaged 19.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, the release continued. He ended that campaign with four consecutive 20-point games, with two of those coming in the postseason.
“Jesper is an active wing with a high basketball IQ,” Aldrich said in the release. “A product of the outstanding Finnish National program, he has been competing at a high level for years. He is a skilled wing that can shoot, drive and pass but also plays with great passion and intensity. Jesper will be a great addition to our roster, and I look forward to welcoming him to Longwood.”
Granlund plans to major in business administration and pursue a career in the business sector after the conclusion of his basketball career, the release cited.
Longwood’s 2020 recruiting haul follows the pair of back-to-back impact classes Aldrich and his staff have brought to campus, beginning with the 2018 group that includes current seniors Sean Flood, Shabooty Phillips and Jaylon Wilson, officials said in the release. Those three finished among Longwood’s top five scorers in Aldrich’s first season, with Phillips leading the team and earning Big South Newcomer of the Year recognition.