Nov. 15, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell head coach Dave Paulsen has announced that three promising student-athletes have taken advantage of the early signing period to ink National Letters of Intent to join the Bison in 2013-14. Apple Valley, Minn., native Ben Oberfeld joins a pair of San Antonio, Texas standouts in John Azzinaro and D.J. MacLeay in Paulsen's fifth recruiting class at Bucknell.
"Collectively, we are very excited about this group," said Paulsen. "We are confident that they will embody the very best in the Bucknell scholar-athlete tradition. They are all excellent students, and all three come from excellent high school programs where they were very well-coached. These are team-oriented guys who are used to winning, and they will all fit seamlessly into our team philosophy."
Azzinaro is currently a senior and an Honor Roll student at Brennan High School in San Antonio. He is a four-year starting point guard and is in his third season as a team captain. The 5'11" Azzinaro is already a two-time 4A All-State selection, and last season he was the leading scorer in the city of San Antonio at 24.1 points per game. He also averaged 3.5 assists while shooting 48 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range (76-192) and 81 percent from the free-throw line.
Azzinaro was a First Team All-City selection in 2011-12, and he has also earned all-district and all-region honors. He was named District 28-4A MVP as a junior, when he averaged better than 32 points per game during the playoffs, including a 40-point performance against Canyon High. Azzinaro's squad finished 32-6 overall and 12-0 in league play last season.
"John is very fast and he is a prolific scorer," said Paulsen. "He can score from deep and he has a very good mid-range pull-up game. But the great thing about him is that he is more than just a scorer. He is a very dynamic guard who can be on the floor in a variety of combinations. He is a gym rat, a very good athlete who will impact us in a lot of different ways."
MacLeay (pronounced ma-CLAY), a 6'6" forward, is entering his fourth year at Reagan High School in San Antonio. He earned All-District, All-Region and All-Area honors last season and was also named to the Northside All-Tournament Team.
Last season MacLeay was his team's leading scorer at 13.5 points per game. He shot 53.5 percent from the field on a squad that finished 22-8 and advanced to the regional playoffs in 2011-12. One year earlier, Reagan finished 30-6 and advanced to the regional semifinals.
MacLeay is also a district champion in the discus throw and is expected to graduate summa cum laude this spring.
"D.J. is one of the fiercest competitors that I've seen on the recruiting trail," said Paulsen. "He is a skilled forward with the ability to score on post-ups, with mid-range jumpers, and he can shoot the three. He is a very good passer with a good feel for the game. D.J.'s transition to college basketball will be smoother than most freshmen because he is physically strong and he has such a high basketball IQ."
The Bison will welcome another new frontcourt presence in the 6'9" Oberfeld, who is currently a senior at Eastview High School in Apple Valley, Minn. Oberfeld will become just the second player in school history to earn four varsity letters in basketball. An outstanding athlete, he is also a three-year letterman as a defensive lineman in football, and he also plays baseball.
On the hardwood, Oberfeld has helped lead his team to a 68-19 record and two Minnesota state playoff appearances over the last three years. He is already his school's all-time leader in rebounds with 438, and he also owns the single-season (231) and single-game (17) rebounding records.
Last season, Oberfeld averaged 11.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, and his .637 field-goal percentage was second-highest in school history. Oberfeld was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-State selection on a team that finished 28-2, was ranked No. 1 in the state for eight straight weeks and on the Section 3AAAA championship before being upset in the state quarterfinals. Oberfeld was named the top rebounder in Minnesota and an All-State Junior by the Northstar Hoops Report. He earned All-Metro Honorable Mention from the St. Paul Pioneer Press and was one of only three underclassmen to earn all-conference honors.
Oberfeld, who was listed as the No. 3 prospect in Minnesota for the Class of 2013, has earned his team's Hustle Award in each of the last two seasons.
"Ben is a big physical presence up front," said Paulsen. "His team played deep into the state playoffs last year, so he has a winning mentality. Ben loves to bang and compete, and we think he will be able to contribute right away because he can defend and rebound. He is another team-first guy with a high basketball IQ. And we love that he is a three-sport athlete."
Bucknell has gotten outstanding production from each of Paulsen's recruiting classes so far. His first class netted a record three Patriot League All-Rookie Team selections in Mike Muscala, Joe Willman and Bryson Johnson. That trio, along with fellow current senior Colin Klebon, will likely go down as one of the top classes in program history. A year later, Cameron Ayers made the All-Rookie Team as Bucknell won the Patriot League championship. Last season Steven Kaspar was an immediate contributor at point guard, and already in 2012-13 first-year players Dom Hoffman and Ryan Frazier have picked up significant minutes.
NOTE: The Bucknell women's basketball recruiting class has also been finalized. That announcement will be coming in the next few days pending submission of official paperwork.