NATCHITOCHES – After averaging 20 points, eight rebounds and making 51 percent of his 3-pointers at Eastern Arizona College last season, first-team all-region wing player DeAndre Love has signed to play his final two seasons of college basketball for Northwestern State.
Veteran Demons’ coach Mike McConathy announced Love’s addition on Wednesday. The 6-4, 190-pounder also drained 80 percent of his free throws for the EAC Gila Monsters while earning first-team All-Region 1 and first-team all-conference accolades.
“DeAndre will add value in so many ways to our program: on campus, in our community, and on the basketball court,” said McConathy, preparing for his 19th season at NSU as the winningest coach in Louisiana college basketball history. “DeAndre has spent the last couple of seasons in a great junior college program playing for Coach Maurice Leitzke. Our styles of play match which will make for an easy transition between programs.”
Love, a product of West Seattle (Wash.) High School where he played for coach Keffrey Fazio, made immediate impact in junior college. The son of Shemetta Younger helped the 2015-16 Gila Monsters to a 23-9 record and the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 1 championship game.
“The addition of DeAndre to our team increases our athleticism,” said McConathy. “He is great in the open court, a lefty with the ability to score at all three levels – driving to the rim, from mid-range, and from behind the arc. He is a playmaker that plays at a fast pace. Defensively, he can guard multiple positions in our defensive schemes.”
Love joins a big recruiting class that began forming last fall during the early signing period, when NSU added three players to its 2017-18 roster: 6-8, 265-pound post player Larry Owens of Monroe-Carroll, guard C.J. Jones of Monroe-Wossman, and swingman Caleb Starks from Lafayette Christian.
This spring, the Demons have brought two more prep standouts on board, California swingman Vontay Ott and Maryland’s Darian Dixon.
McConathy likes the blend of talent between the newcomers and his returning letterwinners from a squad that won its last three games, including a victory over NCAA Tournament entry New Orleans and ending Stephen F. Austin’s five-year, 45-game homecourt Southland Conference win streak.
“We look forward to DeAndre having an impact from day one in our program. He has been well prepared in high school and junior college to compete and succeed at a high level,” said McConathy. “He meets a specific need in our program that complements our returners as well as the rest of our 2017 recruiting class.”
The Demon basketball program has graduated nearly 90 percent of its seniors in McConathy’s tenure while ranking among the best performing men’s teams in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate reports in five years, including 2015-16.
NSU has made seven Southland Conference Tournament championship game appearances, winning in 2001, 2006 and 2013 to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Demons have won a pair of NCAA Tournament contests, including a 2006 victory over 15th-ranked Iowa. NSU has ranked among the top scoring teams in NCAA Division I three times in the last four years, leading the country at 84 points per game in 2014-15.