By BRIAN LESTER
Adam Twining has always wanted to play for the University of Findlay men’s basketball team.
Twining, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound forward out of Findlay High School, will get his chance to wear orange and black next season after signing with the Oilers on Thursday.
“He’s always wanted to play for us since he was a young kid,” UF head coach Charlie Ernst said. “He would go to our games when he was younger and would sit behind the basket and cheer for us. He has grown up around our program.”
Twining was a first-team all-Three Rivers Athletic Conference selection and a special mention all-Ohio pick this past season. He was a four-year letterwinner for the Trojans, averaging 15 points, six rebounds and three assists per outing as a senior.
“He is a very good post player and was always a focus of scouting reports in high school,” Ernst said. “He plays with a lot of heart and with a lot of passion.”
Tyler Arens of Muncie Central in Indiana also signed on Thursday during the late signing period. They join Elijah Kahlig (Fort Recovery), Nick Ruthsatz (Covington Catholic, Ky.) and Tarren Sullivan (Lima Bath), who all signed with the Oilers in November.
Arens is a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward/center. He was selected to play in the Hoosier All-Star Classic this past season after finishing his senior year averaging 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Arens shot 54 percent from the floor and was a 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
Ernst said Arens battled injuries as a senior, or likely would have averaged a double-double for one of the better teams in Indiana.
“He can play with his back to the basket and is just as good facing the basket,” Ernst said. “He’s a left-handed player and has a scoring mindset. He is one of those players who is a great kid and very good fit for our program.”
Kahlig, Ruthsatz and Sullivan all signed early with the Oilers. Kahlig, a 6-3, 180-pound wing, is the younger brother of Greg Kahlig, who wrapped up his career this season as the fourth-leading scorer in program history and was named an All-American.
The younger Kahlig was the player of the year in the Midwest Athletic Conference and a second-team all-Ohio pick. He averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game as a senior. Kahlig also drilled 51 treys.
Ruthsatz led his team to its first state championship in school history and was named the MVP of the Kentucky state tournament. The 5-10, 165-pound guard scored more than 1,800 points in his career, averaging 22 points per outing as a senior. Ruthsatz, named all-state and all-region three times in his prep career, also averaged six assists, four rebounds and three steals per game.
Sullivan averaged 21 points and seven rebounds per game as a senior as he led Bath to a 20-5 season and an appearance in a regional final. The 6-6, 200-pound forward was a first-team all-Western Buckeye League and third-team all-Ohio selection.
The Oilers finished their 2013-14 campaign with a 24-6 record and became the first team in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history to win three consecutive conference tournament championships. The Oilers also made their 12th NCAA tournament appearance in program history.
Adding the five recruits will help put the Oilers in a position to contend for a GLIAC championship again next season and be a contender at the national level.
Ernst said he has never been a coach that believes there can be too much firepower on a team. He expects the freshmen to come in and compete for playing time right away.
“We never recruit a player with the mindset that they are going to redshirt,” Ernst said. “Every player we bring in knows they will have a chance to compete for playing time because we are a fair program. If you earn the time, we are going to play you.”
The competition for playing time will benefit the Oilers in the long run.
“Competition makes your team better,” Ernst said. “We have brought in guys who have a winning mindset, and when you have that you rise to the occasion in practice and in games. We are excited about all of the players we have signed, and they will be great additions to the team.”
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