May 18, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
University of Wyoming head basketball coach Steve McClain announced on Thursday the signing of two junior-college teammates to national letters of intent. James Spencer and Joseph Taylor from Los Angeles City College, both signed to play for the Cowboys beginning in the fall of 2006.
The two helped lead L.A. City College to a 32-4 (.889) record this past season, earning one of only eight spots in the California Community College State Championship Tournament. The Cubs captured their 13th consecutive South Coast Conference North Division title in 2005-06. They then won the Regional Tournament with a dominating 101-78 victory over Moorpark in the Regional Final. L.A. City entered the State Tournament as the No. 2 seed from Southern California prior to losing its first round game to the No. 3 seed from Northern California, City College of San Francisco, 61-84. L.A.City College led the South Coast Conference North Division in both scoring offense, averaging 82.3 points per game, and scoring defense, allowing opponents only 65.2 points per game during the 2005-06 season. Spencer and Taylor played for head coach Mike Miller at L.A. City College.
"I'm excited about both of these young men," said McClain. "First, I think they are both good people. They also fill two key positions on our roster where we needed to add depth. In James (Spencer) we get a wing player who is a good shooter and a very strong perimeter defender. Joseph (Taylor) gives us a big man who can really get up and down the court, brings outstanding athleticism to our team and gives us a shot-blocking and rebounding presence. The added positive in signing both of them is they are used to playing with one another. I am very pleased with the addition of James and Joseph to our team. They strengthen our team in several areas."
James Spencer is a 6'4", 195-pound shooting guard/small forward. He played his high school basketball at Stoneridge Prep in Tarzana, Calif., prior to playing two seasons at L.A. City College. He averaged 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game last year as a sophomore at L.A. City. Spencer earned Second Team All-Conference honors at the conclusion of his sophomore season, and was an Honorable Mention All-State selection by JCHoops.com. In 2005-06, he ranked fifth among all California junior college players in field-goal percentage, shooting 60.6 percent (214 of 353 field goals) from the field. He also ranked 12th in steals in the state, averaging 2.1 per game. He led L.A. City in both field-goal percentage and steals. While he didn't attempt a large number of three-point field goals, he did shoot a team high 45.9 percent (28 of 61) from the arc. Spencer was the iron man for L.A. City, as he also led the team in minutes played, averaging 30.8 minutes per game. His 13.9 scoring average was third best on the L.A. City team. He scored 23 points in the first round of the 2006 California Community College State Tournament to lead his team in scoring on the night. His season scoring high was 26 points.
Joseph Taylor is a 6'8", 210-pound forward, who played his high school basketball at Washington High School in Los Angeles prior to attending L.A. City College the past two seasons. Taylor achieved First Team All-Conference recognition as a sophomore, and earned Honorable Mention All-State honors from JCHoops.com. He was also named "Defender of the Year" among all California junior college players by JCHoops.com. He averaged 9.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 blocked shots and 1.5 steals per game in 2005-06. He led L.A. City in rebounding and blocked shots, and ranked second in minutes played, averaging 28.8 minutes per game. Taylor posted one very unique and impressive statistic for a big man -- he ranked second on his team in assists, handing out 2.9 assists per game. He shot 59.1 percent from the field (136 of 230 field goals), and hit 70.9 percent of his free throws (78 of 110). He blocked 102 shots on the season to rank 14th in the state.
Other former L.A. City College players who have recently gone on to success in the Mountain West Conference included former UNLV Runnin' Rebels Romel Beck and Jerel Blassingame, and Randy Holcomb of San Diego State, who earned First Team All-MWC honors at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season.