The picture of who will be a part of the next wave of Hilltoppers will begin to take shape starting Wednesday, the beginning of the NCAA Division I basketball November signing period.
Rick Stansbury has gotten commitments from four prospects who want to play basketball for Western Kentucky next season.
Jeremiah Gambrell of Houston, Texas, told WBKO he plans to sign with WKU on Wednesday. The 6-foot, 150-pound point guard is starting his senior year at Madison High School and opens the season Friday against Lee High School.
Gambrell, who had previously committed to Baylor in June of 2016, was the District 24-4A most valuable player and a Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-state selection. He’s considered a three-star prospect who averaged 20 points per game as a junior and sophomore and 15 points per game as a freshman.
Matthew Horton is a 6-foot-11, 230-pound forward playing his sophomore season at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He averaged a modest 5.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in 27 games last year at SSCC, but will be more of a go-to player this season.
Horton had 10 rebounds, six points and two blocks in Shelton’s opener against Talladega Prep on Thursday.
Originally from Tuscaloosa, Horton scored 22 points per game at Paul Bryant High School as a senior to go along with 11 rebounds and three blocks per contest. He told WBKO in August he planned to sign with WKU in November and Shelton State coach Joseph Eatmon confirmed with WBKO on Tuesday that Horton plans to sign next week.
Galen Smith, who recently moved to Hawaii to play his senior season at Kahuku High and Intermediate School, averaged 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season at Bay High School in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward told WBKO last month he wasn’t sure if would sign in November or wait until the spring signing period.
A three-star prospect, Smith’s older brother is a freshman at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.
Trevelin Queen was the most recent player to commit to Western, announcing his pledge two weeks ago. The 6-foot-6, 185-pound forward scored 27 points against Jacksonville College, 25 against Trinidad State Junior College and 41 against New Mexico Junior College this season.
Last year Queen played at the College of Marin in California where he averaged 21.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists per game and shot 54.8 percent from the field. The Maryland native graduated high school in 2015 and told WBKO last month he plans to sign a letter of intent in November.
Western Kentucky has three scholarship seniors on the current roster in forwards Justin Johnson and Dwight Coleby and guard Darius Thompson. Mitchell Robinson left a scholarship vacant when he left the program in August and guard Jordan Brangers left a scholarship vacant in August when it was determined he did not meet NCAA transfer requirements.
The NCAA’s Division I basketball signing period runs from Wednesday to Nov. 15 and the spring signing period runs from April 11-May 16.
— Follow WBKO sportswriter Chad Bishop on Twitter @MrChadBishop