Ben Eke is coming to Logan High School with Allan Hatcher.
Eke, a 6-foot-8 rising senior center and native of Nigeria, has trasferred to Logan, Hatcher said on Wednesday morning.
Eke played for Hatcher last season at Chapmanville Regional High School, averaging 10.6 points a game in 12 games last year for the Tigers. Eke was declared eligible to play last January during the Second Semester and helped lead Chapmanville to a winning season.
Eke came to southern West Virginia from Charlotte, N.C., and was named as a Second-Team All-Cardinal Conference selection at season’s end.
Hatcher resigned recently as Chapmanville’s coach after three seasons and replaced his son Mark Hatcher as the Wildcats’ coach. The younger Hatcher had stepped down after 15 seasons and two state championships. He received a promotion in the medical field and stated that he was unable to do both jobs.
Allan Hatcher said he hopes Eke will be able to help Logan this season.
“We hope so, that’s the plan,” Hatcher said. “He’s at Logan High School now. We surely hope that he’s going to be able to play. He’s a great young man and his grades are good.”
Eke battled shoulder problems last season in his brief stint with the Tigers but Hatcher said he hopes he is able to go at 100 percent this season with the Wildcats.
Eke gave the Tigers an inside presence last year and helped greatly with his defense and shot blocking ability.
“He hasn’t played all summer because he’s been rehabbing his shoulder. He had surgery on his labrum,” Hatcher said.
Eke will form Logan’s “Nigerian Connection” along with 6-4 rising senior forward Augustine Chukwu-Noe, who played for the Wildcats last season in the Second Semester as well after being declared eligible to play.
Chukwu-Noe steadily improved last season for Logan and finished the season by averaging 6.0 points a game and 7.0 rebounds per contest — the best on the team.
Eke and Chukwu-Noe would give Logan a very tough one-two punch inside the paint.
The Wildcats, however, will have some rebuilding to do during the 2015-16 season.
Top scorers Zac Acord (16.9 ppg.) and Australian import Austin Treweek-Noe (14.6 ppg.) have both graduated.
Logan does return some players, however, including 6-1 rising junior guard Kyle Porter (8.0 ppg.). 6-4 junior guard/forward Braxton Goff (5.6 ppg.), 6-4 senior forward Khalil Murphy (5.6 ppg.) and 5-11 senior guard Kareem Clansy (5.4 ppg.), who injured his wrist late in the season last year.
Jamal Minter, Alex Toler, Will Akers, 6-4 Samual Justice and a host of others are also back for the Wildcats this season, so the cupboard is far from being bare.
Logan started out last season 11-1 but stumbled down the stretch last year, finishing 13-6 after a 53-50 loss to Spring Valley in the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 semifinals.
“We have young kids and have a young team. We only have three seniors on the whole team,” Hatcher said. “This is a young basketball team but we will be having most of them coming back the following year. We’ve got good size and have kids who understand how to play the game. We have some depth and we should have 18 guys who can play this year. I’m excited about that.”
Logan is scheduled to open the 2015-16 season on Dec. 11 against Perry Central (Ky.) in the Clay County (Ky.) tournament.
Hatcher coached at Perry Central, located in Hazard, Ky., prior to coming to Chapmanville three years ago. He led Perry Central to Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen state tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
New to Logan’s schedule is a home-and-home series with Princeton and a home game on Jan. 30 against prep school Mountain Mission (Va.).
Logan has one more new opponent on Jan. 21 as Johnson Central (Ky.) comes to Willie Akers Arena. The Wildcats played the Golden Eagles more than 10 years ago in their home tournament.
Johnson Central, located in Paintsville, Ky., is a 15th Regional powerhouse.
Last year, the Golden Eagles beat Lawrence County (Ky.), 67-60 in the 15th Region Championship Game, but lost 82-69 to Louisville Ballard in the state tournament at the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.