By The Sports Pulse Staff
WASHINGTON – Five student-athletes have officially signed to join the American University men’s basketball program next season, announced head coach Mike Brennan earlier this week.
Colin Smalls, Matt Rogers, Johnny O’Neil, Christian Lorng and Vic Brown have all signed National Letters of Intent and will add depth to a squad that finished second in the Patriot League last season.
Smalls is a local product from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (Potomac, Md.) and was coached by Kevin Jones, the 6-foot-2 guard helped the Lions to their best season in school history as a senior, finishing with a 24-4 mark and their first conference championship since 2015.
Smalls earned First Team All-Conference honors twice and finished his career and should be able to add some much-needed firepower to the Eagles offensive efforts.
“Colin is a competitive lead guard who can really defend,” said Brennan. “An excellent decision-maker, I believe Colin will be able to run our team immediately.”
Rogers prepped at St. Maria Goretti High School in Hagerstown, Md., where he was a member of the All-County First Team during his senior season. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game as a senior and was also tabbed as a Baltimore Catholic League Second Team honoree.
“Matt is a hard-playing, tough, competitive kid,” said Brennan. “He goes after every rebound, can really move on the perimeter defensively and will bring a ton of energy to the court. His offensive versatility allows him to score on the perimeter and inside.”
O’Neil joins American from Miami Shores, Fla., and Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, where he led the Lions to their first state tournament in 64 years. The sharpshooter hit 67% of his attempts from the field and 50% from three-point range as a senior while averaging 18 points per game, nine rebounds per game, and four assists per game.
The 6-foot-8 forward was named Most Valuable Player at the Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Tournament and also earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team at the City Beautiful Invitational in Orlando. In addition to being tabbed as a Miami Herald All-County honoree, he was also recognized as one of the Top 40 high school basketball players in the state of Florida.
“Johnny is an ultra-skilled wing who can really shoot,” said Brennan. “He can guard multiple positions, block shots, and is extremely competitive.”
Lorng joins the AU program after spending two years at NJCAA D-I Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. He will be eligible to play for American immediately. Coached by Brenden Foley, Lorng earned Second Team All-Panhandle Conference in his sophomore campaign after starting all 27 games and averaging 6.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Originally hailing from Paris, France, the 6-foot-9 center spent a postgraduate season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., which boasts over 25 alumni that have played in the NBA, including Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier.
“Christian is a strong, aggressive post player who rebounds and finishes,” said Brennan. “He has competed and produced against high-level programs, and he will help us immediately.”
Brown arrives in Washington by way of Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Fla. The 6-foot-4 guard, who was coached by Ben Fratrik, was named to the Orlando Sentinel All-Area team after averaging 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, three assists, and 1.5 steals per game as a senior.
The Highlanders won district and regional championships on their way to the state semifinals in 2020.
“Vic is a multi-faceted guard. He does everything well, understands how to play and played for an excellent high school program,” said Brennan. “Vic understands what winning is about, and I look forward to him bringing that commitment to our program.