Courtesy of Tarleton Sports Information

The final piece of the 2007-08 Tarleton men’s basketball recruiting puzzle has been set in place with the signing of Avery Patterson, another NCAA Division I transfer.

Patterson, a 6-4, 185-pound guard from Kannapolis, N.C., will transfer to Tarleton from St. John’s University, where he started 27 of 31 games for the Red Storm in 2006-07.

“Avery comes from St. John’s as a transfer where he was a starter in the Big East Conference,” said Tarleton head coach Lonn Reisman. “Avery brings us a player who will be an immediate impact at the No. 2 guard position. He brings the complete guard package to our squad because he is an outstanding scorer and was one of the best 3-point shooters in the Big East this year.

“Avery is an outstanding ball-handler who has the ability to go to the basket and create shots by himself,” Reisman said. “He also has the ability to draw the double team and find the open shooter on the floor. Avery brings a basketball intellect with him that goes back to his basketball background growing up in North Carolina.”

Patterson averaged 10.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this year while knocking down 35.7 percent of his shots from the floor, including a 32.7 percentage from beyond the arc. He shot 71.4 from the charity stripe his junior season.

This season, he scored in double figures against three NCAA Division I tournament teams, including a 22-point effort against then-No. 15 Texas Nov. 17, 2006, when he hit six of 11 3-pointers. He had 26 points at Niagara Dec. 9, 2005, and pulled down seven rebounds. Patterson also had eight boards and 16 points against Georgetown.

Patterson hit at least one 3-pointer in 26 of the Red Storm’s 31 games and was seventh in the Big East in 3-point field goals made per game (2.3). He established a new school record at SJU after connecting on eight 3-point baskets, scoring 24 points against North Florida Nov. 10, 2006.

Prior to his season at St. John’s, Patterson spent two years at Iowa Western Community College where he shattered school records while leading the Reivers to a 30-8 record and a trip to the 2006 National Junior College Athletics Association national semifinals as a sophomore. He was named a second team NJCAA All-American and a first team NJCAA All-Tournament Team member and was picked to play in the 2006 NJCAA All-Star game.

Patterson averaged 20.3 points per game in 2005-06, setting the school’s single-season record with 771 points. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds and drilled 37.4 percent of his 3-point shots.

As a freshman, the newest Texan helped Iowa Western to a 33-7 record, scoring 10 points per game with four assists and three rebounds. He was coached by Jim Morris and was recruited by St. John’s, Wyoming, Cincinnati, Kansas, Miami, Michigan State and Mississippi State after his sophomore season.

A graduate of A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, N.C., Patterson was named the 3A Conference Player of the Year twice as booth a junior and senior. He averaged 28 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game in leading the Wonders to a 20-4 record in 2003-04 as a senior. As a junior, Patterson averaged 30 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds to help his team to a 19-5 record. He is a two-time all-conference selection.

“As we’ve talked to his coaches, all have had rave reviews of Avery’s work ethic,” Reisman said. “He is not only a great basketball player, but he is dedicated to his studies and graduated with an associate’s degree from junior college. Avery comes from good basketball programs, including his high school program under the direction of coach Shelwin Klutz. We feel like he has the ability to be the best two-guard in NCAA basketball at any level. Now he just has to go out and prove it.”

Patterson completes a recruiting class that boasts three NCAA Division I transfers and three junior college transfers to a program that has made five of the last six NCAA Division II South Central Regional tournaments and went to back-to-back Elite Eights in 2005 and 2006.

The Texans signed Minnesota’s Limar Wilson and New Mexico’s Jeffrey Henfield to scholarships for their senior seasons. Wilson is a 5-11 point guard from Orlando, Fla., while Henfield is a 6-4 forward from Nassau, Bahamas. Marlin Cloudy, a 6-3 guard from Center, then signed with the Texans out of Trinity Valley Community College before Eric Williams, a 6-6 forward from Long Beach, Calif., added his name to the roster. Williams will transfer to Tarleton from Long Beach City College. The fifth player to sign with the Texans was Matt Akis, a 6-9 center from St. Louis, who will come to Stephenville from Western Nebraska Community College.

“Avery completes a recruiting season that we feel has been very successful,” Reisman said. “If all plays out as expected and everyone comes in and we have the type of chemistry we foresee, then we will be in reach of a national championship, which is our goal every season.”