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Men's basketball announces six newcomers for 2009-10

(Posted July 23, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Juniata College head men's basketball coach Greg Curley has announced that six high school student-athletes have committed to attend Juniata College and compete for the Eagle men's basketball program beginning with the 2009-10 season.

The following is a list (in alphabetical order) of men's basketball newcomers for 2008-09:

Tim Berguson
F, 6-4, 200, Mansfield, Pa./Mansfield HS


Berguson was a Third team All-State selection last season at Mansfield HS for head coach Kipper Burleigh. He was the Northern Tier League Offensive Player of the Year last season, and a two-time First team All-League honoree by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. He averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds last season for Mansfield, and finished his career with 1,219 points and 797 boards. Berguson helped lead Mansfield to a District IV title as a sophomore, and the second round of the 2009 PIAA Class A state tournament.

The son of Bruce and Margaret Berguson, Tim was a National Honor Society student at Mansfield, served as class vice president, was a member of the wellness committee and Key Club, and was Class Salutatorian. He will be pursuing a degree in physics at Juniata.

"Tim's track record of success both in the classroom and on the court speaks for itself - he is the kind of tough, talented, physical presence, we need to be successful in our league," said Curley. "He is the perfect fit for Juniata and our program. He is the type of person, student, and athlete, that players want to play with, teachers want to teach, and coaches want to coach. Tim's my kind of player - the type of guy that's not afraid to do the dirty work, and exactly the kind of guy we need."

Nathan Higgins
F, 6-5, 190, St. Marys, Pa./Elk County Catholic


Nathan earned Second team All-State honors as a senior at Elk County Catholic, where he led the Crusaders to a 23-8 record, a District IX championship, and the PIAA Western semifinals under Head Coach Aaron Straub. An All-League and All-District selection, Higgins finished his career with 1,050 points and 618 rebounds, averaging 15.6 points and 9.1 boards during his senior campaign. He was twice named MVP of the Elk County Holiday Tournament, and led the Crusaders to the tourney title this past season.

A National Honor Society student, Higgins was selected for Who's Who Among American High School Students, was active in Student Council, Students Against Drunk Driving, Outdoor Club, Wetlands Club, and was a member of campus ministry.

"Nate has all the tools to be a very special player," said Juniata head coach Greg Curley. "His size, versatility, and understanding of the game make him a perfect fit for our program. We expect him to make an immediate impact and to play a significant role from day one. We are extremely excited to welcome a player and student of his caliber."

"He comes to us from one of the top programs in the state and has learned the game from one of the best high school coaches you will ever find. He's the kind of player that can help us win championships," said Curley.

Alex Raymond
G, 5-9, 155, Hollidaysburg, Pa./Altoona Area HS


A four-year letterwinner for Head Coach Larry Betar at Altoona Area HS, Raymond earned Altoona Mirror All-Star honors in both his junior and senior seasons. He averaged 15 points and six assists during his final high school campaign, and finished his prep career with 933 points and 475 assists. Raymond was Most Valuable Player at the New Castle Tournament in each of the last two seasons, and was MVP of the Red Lion Tournament as a senior.

Raymond was a National Honor Society student at Altoona Area HS, and was named to the Honor Roll. He is the son of Gary and Donna Raymond.

"We expect Alex to be a difference maker in our program. He fills our biggest need at the point guard position, and brings with him an outstanding work ethic, a ton of talent, and a will to be the best. His skill, quickness, and understanding of the game are as good as any we have recruited," said Curley.

"He's going to bring a great deal of excitement to our gym, and I can't wait to see how good he becomes. He's the type of player we think can get us back into the championship hunt."

Vinny Smith
C/F, 6-4, 210, Butler, Pa./Mars Area HS


Smith was named Butler County's Male Basketball Player of the Year last season, after finishing his career with 1,102 career points รข?" third highest in Mars Area High School history. A four-year letterwinner for Head Coach Rob Carmody, he served as team captain during his senior season and was named the team's Most Valuable Player. Smith was an All-Tournament selection at the Mars Holiday Tournament, and scored a career-high 31 points against Hampton High School.

Smith averaged 17 points and 10.4 rebounds during this senior campaign, and finished with 789 career rebounds.

He also competed in track and field for Mars Area, where he qualified for the PIAA state championship meet in the 110m hurdles.

The son of Walter and Gloria Smith, Smith was president of both the Interact Club and the Spanish Club.

"Vinny is a great addition to our program," said Curley. "We expect him to add immediate depth to our front line, and provide us with more athleticism and rebounding inside. Over time, Vinny has a chance to make a big impact on our program and we can't wait to get him in uniform."

Michael Walker
G/F, 6-2, 185, Homer City, Pa./Homer-Center HS


Walker was a four-time All-Gazette team selection and three-time All-Conference honoree at Homer-Center, playing for Head Coach Bob Rado. He averaged 18.3 points and 6.4 rebounds over his high school career, and finished with 1,351 career points.

The son of Michelle Sisak, Walker was class president his final three years at Homer-Center, and was a member of student government all four years of high school. He was a National Honor Society student, and a member of the Honor Roll throughout high school. He was also involved in the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Special Olympics.

"Mike is a terrific athlete, an outstanding student, and the type of competitor that makes everyone around him better. He is the perfect fit for our program, and his toughness, shooting ability, and strength as a leader will make a big impact on our program," said Curley. "He is an incredibly focused and driven individual who understands what it takes to be successful. He is a winner."

Darnell Wiley
G, 6-1, 180, Damascus, Md./St. John Catholic Prep


Wiley was a two-year starter for coach Silas Cheung at St. John Catholic Prep, which plays in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) "A" Conference along with all the schools from the highly-regarded Baltimore Catholic League. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds last season, and finished his career averaging 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds. Wiley was selected to play in the Frederick County All-Star Game, and received the 2008 St. Maria Goretti Mait Tournament "Hustle Award" while leading the Vikings to the tournament title.

The son of Darryl and Anita Wiley, Darnell will be pursuing a degree in business at Juniata.

"We think Darnell is the perfect fit for our program. He has been a two-year starter in one of the toughest high school leagues in the country, and his experience competing with and against some of the nation's most talented athletes has prepared him well for the challenges of our level," said Curley. "We think he has a chance to be a difference maker for us on the defensive end, and his ability to play both guard positions equally well is a big plus in our system."

"What we love most about Darnell is his enthusiasm for the game, and his 'team first' attitude. He's the kind of guy every successful team seems to have and we think he has a great future at Juniata," said Curley.

All six players will be joining a Juniata men's basketball program that has appeared in conference championship games in two of the last three seasons, and advanced to the ECAC Division III South Region Tournament in 2006 and 2007. The Eagles are led by Head Coach Greg Curley, who will be heading into his ninth season at the helm of Juniata men's basketball.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.