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Longwood adds Houston, LaCount to 2021 hoops recruiting class

longwood athleticsBolstering a 2020-21 signing class that already includes a former Virginia 6A Player of the Year, a three-year veteran of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and a three-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, Longwood men’s basketball head coach Griff Aldrich announced the addition of guards D’Avian “DA” Houston and Ga’Khari LaCount Wednesday morning.

Houston is a 6-1, 212-pound guard from Houston, Texas, who is coming off a freshman season at Colonial Athletic Association power College of Charleston in 2020-21. Meanwhile, LaCount is a 6-1, 175-pound guard from Miami, Fla., where he starred at Miami Coral Park High School and played a postgraduate year at Link Year Prep in Branson, Mo.

“We are thrilled to welcome DA Houston and Ga’Khari LaCount into the Longwood Basketball program,” said Aldrich, whose third year leading the program in 2020-21 yielded a record 10 Big South wins and another Division I postseason invitation to the College Basketball Invitational.

“Both are exceptional players who have proven themselves on the court, but what stood out to us about these young men were their passion to grow and get better as players and as individuals. We are excited to have them join our University and basketball family and know they will thrive here at Longwood.”

Houston becomes the fourth Houston, Texas, native to commit to Longwood under Aldrich, who lived and coached in the area before taking over the Lancer program in March of 2018. He joins a growing list of Houston-based standouts, including All-Big South selection and 2020 graduate Shabooty Phillips, and reigning Big South All-Freshman selection Justin Hill. Houston will also be the third Texan overall on the 2021-22 Lancer squad alongside Hill and rising senior Zac Watson, a native of Plano.

Meanwhile, LaCount is Longwood’s first incoming freshman signee from the Sunshine State since 1,000-point scorer and All-Big South selection Darrion Allen in 2013.

Houston and LaCount expand Longwood’s 2020-21 signing class to six players, joining incoming transfers Michael Christmas (Virginia Beach, Va./James Madison), Jordan Perkins (Greensboro, N.C./N.C. Central) and Isaiah Wilkins (Winston-Salem, N.C./WakeForest/Virginia Tech), and freshman Jaylani Darden (Norfolk, Va./Norview High School). That six-player class will bolster a Lancer program that returns three starters and eight letterwinners from a 2020-21 squad that finished the season winners of nine of their final 13 games – including a Big South Championship quarterfinal win over UNC Asheville – and advanced to the College Basketball Invitational for the second time in the past three years.

Ga’Khari LaCount comes to Longwood from Miami Coral Park High School in Miami, Fla., where he was named the Florida 7A Player of the Year and Mr. Florida 7A. A 6-1, 175-pound point guard, he amassed 1,370 points in just two seasons of varsity basketball, averaging 24.0 points as a junior and 31.0 as a senior. That production came alongside 7.5 assists and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior, and 6.0 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game as a senior.

As part of his high-scoring high school career, LaCount also set a Miami Coral Park record with 45 points in a single game and was named to the Florida All-State first team and the All-Dade first team.

“Ga’Khari is a talented player coming out of a highly-regarded prep program, Link Year Prep,” Aldrich said. “He is an outstanding playmaker with exceptional speed that puts defenses in challenging situations. He has great versatility with his passing and scoring abilities and will have an opportunity to excel in our style of play.”

D’Avian “DA” Houston hails from the burgeoning Longwood basketball recruiting pipeline of Houston, Texas, where his standout prep career at Episcopal High School in Bellaire originally led him to Colonial Athletic Association power College of Charleston in 2020-21. At Episcopal, Houston led the Knights to back-to-back Texas state runner-up finishes, reaching the state title game both as a junior and senior. He averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists as a senior, following a 13.0-point, 6.0-assist, 5.0-rebound campaign as a junior. Houston also played for CoozElite, one of the leading AAU programs in Texas.

An All-SPC, All-South and TABC Private School All-State selection, Houston played his freshman year of college basketball at College of Charleston this past season. While battling COVID and health-related issues throughout the year, Houston helped the Cougars to a 6-3 record in the games in which he was able to participate, logging double-digit minutes in six of those nine outings.

“DA is a special young man whom I have known for many years as we recruited him out of high school,” Aldrich said. “His character, skill and toughness are exactly the qualities that we look for in players we look to bring into our program, and I am confident his best years of basketball and growth are ahead of him.”

Both Houston and LaCount, along with the rest of Longwood’s now 14-man roster, will descend campus for the first time together this summer in preparation for the 2021-22 season, which will be the team’s fourth under Aldrich and his staff.

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