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July 4, 2017 > Mens basketball adds four players

Mens basketball adds four players

Submitted By Steve Connolly

Cal State East Bay (CSEB) head men's basketball coach Gus Argenal recently announced the signing of four standout student-athletes to round out his recruiting class for the upcoming season.

Joining the Pioneers will be Marko Cuze from Zagreb, Croatia; John Duff, from Long Beach, California; Brycen Wight, from Oxnard, California, and Vito Coppola, from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"This talented group of young men possesses many of the important attributes on which we pride ourselves as Pioneers," Argenal said. "They are tough, smart, passionate competitors who will bring another dimension to our program on and off the court. Each year we have improved our roster's depth, and I am confident that this class will be a special one here in Hayward."

A 6-feet-10-inch tall post player, Cuze utilized a redshirt in his first season at Division I Seattle University and will enter CSUEB with freshman eligibility. He competed for three years for the club Cibona Zagreb in his native Croatia, capturing a national championship in 2012-13. After coming to the United States, Cuze attended the Spire Institute Basketball Academy in Geneva, Ohio to play prep hoops before committing to Seattle.

"Marko has a quality back-to-the-basket game, combined with an uncommon ability to step out and handle the ball on the perimeter," Argenal noted. "He can stretch the floor from three-point range and joins us having already experienced a year as a redshirt at the Division I level."

Duff comes to the East Bay as a true freshman from Long Beach Poly High School, one of the top programs in California. A 6-feet-9-inch tall forward, he competed on the varsity team for four years, helping lead the squad to a 22-9 season as senior with an undefeated record in the Moore League. As a freshman, Duff was voted the team's Most Improved Player, and in his final season he earned Second Team All-League honors.

"John Duff can run the floor, block shots, and guard 4-5 positions on the floor," praised Argenal. He is able to handle the ball in our style of play and will be a great mismatch for teams we face. His last four years at Long Beach Poly have given him experience competing in one of the best programs in the state and the nation.

Standing 6-feet-2-inches tall, Wight joins the Pioneers after a decorated career at Oxnard High School. In 2016-17, he led Oxnard to a 29-5 record, capturing First Team All-County and First Team All-CIF honors. He was also voted Co-MVP of the Pacific View League and named Player of the Year by the Ventura County Star. A four-year varsity player, Wight finished his prep career with over 1,000 points scored.

"Brycen is a heady scorer who possesses craftiness and finishing ability well beyond his years," said Argenal. "He can score the basketball from all three levels and has the highest of work ethics. He is also a tremendous student who has played under Jeff Staniland in one of the most successful programs in Southern California."

Finally, Coppola comes to Hayward following two outstanding seasons at Foothill Junior College. The 6-feet-6-inch tall New Mexico native began as a First Team All-District player at Santa Fe High School. After making just two starts as a freshman at Foothill, he played in every game this past season. In 2016-17, Coppola shot 47.7 percent from the floor and finished as the team's leading rebounder (5.7 rpg) and third-leading scorer (8.4 ppg). He was awarded with First Team All-North Coast Conference recognition.

"Vito played under one of the most respected coaches in the business in Matt Stanley at Foothill College, and I am excited for the electric energy he will bring every day," Argenal commented. "His ability to rebound and finish at the rim will bring tremendous value, and he is an exceptional person who will add maturity and balance to this very youthful recruiting class."

The CSUEB men's basketball program finished with a 13-15 record this past year, the program's highest win total since re-joining NCAA Division II. The team opens the 2017-18 season at home with the annual Pioneer Challenge on Nov. 10-11.

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