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June 20, 2011

PLU Men’s Basketball Program Adds Eight Recruits

The goal of Pacific Lutheran men's basketball head coach Steve Dickerson was for his team to get longer, taller and quicker, and with the 2011 recruiting that mission has been accomplished.

Dickerson and his staff have received verbal commitments from the following eight student-athletes: Andrew Alness, a 6-4 wing from Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, Wash.; Keith Anderson, a 6-0 guard from Yelm (Wash.) High School; Ian Gillespie, a 6-2 guard from Flathead High School in Kalispell, Mont.; Daniel Landram, a 6-1 combination guard from Kentlake High School in Kent; Karsten Olson, a 5-10 guard from Lakes High School in Lakewood, Wash.; Cole Parker, a 6-7 wing/post from Monroe (Wash.) High School; Terrell Williams, a 5-11 point guard from Mt. Rainier High School in Des Moines, Wash.; and Austen Wilson, a 6-7 post from Decatur High School in Federal Way, Wash.

"These young men are leaders in the classroom and on the court," Dickerson noted. "They are mentally and physically tough, and are and will be great teammates. They fit in nicely with our returners and are ready to make immediate contributions to the program."

PLU finished the 2010-11 season with a 15-10 overall record, including a 10-6 record in the Northwest Conference. The Lutes made their first NWC postseason tournament appearance since the 1997-98 season, staying with No. 1-ranked Whitworth until the final minutes before losing to the Pirates on their home floor.

Andrew Alness

Alness, described by Coach Dickerson as "a great shooter with length," averaged 15.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while earning second team All-Cascade Conference honors at Cedarcrest HS. An honor student with a 3.5 grade point average, Alness was a team captain and helped Cedarcrest advance to the state tournament.

"Andrew, his teammates and coach had a vision, when those players were freshmen, to get to the state tournament their senior year. That sounded familiar to me," said Dickerson. "At PLU we are about vision and hard work, and those two things are very familiar to Andrew."

Keith Anderson 

Anderson was hampered by injury during his senior season, playing the entire campaign with a broken wrist. A presidential scholar, Anderson earned first team all-league honors during his junior year at Yelm HS. "His toughness is unquestioned," Dickerson said.

Ian Gillespie

Gillespie was one of the top 20 scorers in Montana high school basketball this past season, and was third in the state in three-point field goal percentage. As a result, the Flathead HS product was chosen to participate in the All-Class All-State Game.

"He has very good range and the ability to create his own shots," Dickerson said. "Ian is an athlete. He can score, defend and play multiple positions. His strength will allow him to post up as well as be a solid defender. His basketball intellect is very high at both ends of the floor."

Daniel Landram

Landram earned second team All-South Puget Sound League 4A honors while serving as Kentlake HS team captain for the third consecutive season. An honor student with a 3.2 grade point average, Landram is described by Dickerson as having "tremendous athleticism and quickness which makes him a great defensive presence as well as an effective offensive slasher.

"When he combines his athleticism with a high basketball IQ, watch out. He has great command of his body and he will increase our quickness, defensive pressure and ability to get to the rim," Dickerson added.

Karsten Olson

Olson was also a reserve guard on the Lakes HS basketball team that won the 2011 Class 3A state championship. A honor student with a 3.8 grade point average, Olson will continue a long line of Olson family members who have attended Pacific Lutheran University.

"He is a very good shooter and the rest of his game has a tremendous upside," Dickerson said. "Karsten has been an outstanding teammate, which is something we emphasize at PLU, and he understands our philosophy 'Do what you do best.'"

Cole Parker

Parker was named Co-Player of the Year in the Wesco North Conference, in addition to earning honorable mention all-state recognition following his senior season at Monroe HS. An honor student with a 3.5 grade point average, Parker averaged 14.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game to lead his team to the state tournament.

"Cole had a terrific senior year," Dickerson said. "He has a great inside/outside game, which will only improve as he gets stronger. He will be a very 'tough' guard in our conference. His presence at the defensive end will solidify our pressure defense."

Terrell Williams

Williams "is a great distributor of the ball and makes everyone on his team better," Dickerson said. "Terrell is a classic point guard. He puts extreme pressure on the opponent, both offensively and defensively."

While mentioning that Williams "will have to look for his shot more," Dickerson noted that "he knows who to get the ball to and when."

An honor student with a 3.7 grade point average while at Mt. Rainier HS, Williams has the goal of becoming a lawyer – perhaps a defense attorney, Dickerson noted.

Austen Wilson

Wilson earned second team All-South Puget Sound League recognition after averaging 10.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest during his senior season.

The Decatur HS team captain, Wilson is described by Dickerson as "an instinctive rebounder. He wants every rebound and has a great sense of where the shot is going to come off the rim. Defensively, his desire makes him a force." He helped lead the Gators to two consecutive state tournament appearances.

Wilson, a National Honor Society member with a 3.97 grade point average, was a Key Club member, a Food Bank volunteer, and a D.E.C.A. participant.

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