A Second Baptist star is the second domino to fall the Houston Cougars’ way.
Second Baptist forward Mikhail McLean signed a national letter of intent with UH on Friday, becoming the second member of new basketball coach James Dickey’s 2010 recruiting class.
The 6-7 McLean, a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools All-State Second Team selection, chose UH over Alabama, Auburn, Boston College, Detroit and Cleveland State. McLean cited his relationship with the new UH coaching staff as the difference-maker, saying this about Dickey: “He built a relationship with me in less than a week. Just hanging out with him and talking with him, I felt like I really could trust him and that he’ll help me hone my skills and get to my ultimate potential.”
A native of the Bahamas, McLean vows to bring “a lot of energy, emotion, great defense and great potential” to UH. The other UH signee in this spring period, Midland College’s Jonathon Simmons, is a Smiley High graduate.
“I just feel like in the past years they really haven’t been recruiting out of Houston, but there is so much great talent,” McLean said. “I just think that me being one of the first Houstonians recruited (in this class), that once I make a good impression in my first year, other people will be willing to come over.
“We can start building a program with a core of Houston players. Nobody wants to go far away from home.” McLean is a product of the Frank Rutherford Elite Athletic Development Foundation, which develops and assists student-athletes from the Bahamas in receiving an education in the United States. Rutherford, a Bahamas native and former UH star who won bronze medal in the triple-jump at the 1992 Olympics, has used Houston as the home base for his youth development program.
Students come to Houston to live with host families, with Rutherford’s network of coaches and retired athletes providing guidance. Among those who have come through Rutherford’s program are football players Devard and Devaughn Darling (Florida State) and Ian Symonette (Miami) and basketball players Dwight Miller (Pittsburgh), Probese Leo (Bucknell) and Waltia Rolle (North Carolina).
“It’s a great opportunity,” McLean said. “I know in the last few years the program hasn’t really been at its max, but I’m glad to be a part of a new era so we can bring a lot to the table and a new name for Houston.”