POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The reigning two-time Region XXIII Champion Pearl River Wildcats have continued to recruit at an elite level with the latest signing of Robert Carpenter. The 6-foot-8 forward joins the Wildcats after playing as a freshman at St. Bonaventure.
Carpenter is the second D1 transfer coach Chris Oney has signed, joining former Georgia Southern Eagle Jalen Cincore.
The duo joins an incoming class that already includes Tupelo forward Josh Mitchell, North Panola guard Ankerion Gross, Natchez guard KeDarius "Squirt" Stampley, Hattiesburg guard Cameron Brown, Brandon wing Jaquevias Tarvin, Olive Branch point guard Joe Cooper and Daytona State transfer Damerius Wash. Wash prepped at Canton.
ABOUT ROBERT CARPENTER
Oney is excited about Carpenter's skillset.
"Not to sound redundant but Robert perfectly fits the mold of this year's recruiting theme," he said. "He's a 6-8 kid who can play multiple positions. He's a do-everything forward, who can make shots and plays from the outside but can also make things happen around the basket."
During the Wildcats' unprecedented 28-0 run and No. 1 seed in the NJCAA Tournament, Oney liked to push the tempo and ramp up the pressure on opponents on both ends of the court. Oney said Carpenter will fit perfectly into his preferred high-octane gameplan.
"Robert will allow us to get out, press, run and do things we've done in the past," Oney said. "He'll allow us to continue to play aggressively on defense because he can defend multiple players, too."
During their conversations while Oney was recruiting Carpenter, he said it was clear the new Wildcat lit up when he told him about their team success under his tenure.
"What I love about him the most is when I told him we got rings for winning championships, that was the most excited he ever got on the phone," Oney said. "He said he's ready to come down here and help us continue to win."
Carpenter appeared in 15 games for the Bonnies in 2019-20. He had a career game at No. 7 Dayton, scoring seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes off the bench.
He finished the season with 15 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. He also shot at a 36.8 percent clip from the floor.
Carpenter originally signed with St. Bonaventure out of Mt. Zion Prep, in Lanham, Maryland, where he was coached by Rodrick Harrison.
Carpenter averaged 20.3 points and 10.2 rebounds for Mt. Zion, which posted a 28-4 recorded and reached the Elite 8 of the National Prep School Championship. Showing his versatility, Carpenter made 38 percent of his 3-point attempts. Carpenter was named to the Mid-Atlantic First Team All-Conference by the Great Atlantic Conference.
Prior to playing at Mt. Zion, Carpenter graduated from Cornerstone High in Detroit. He also played AAU basketball for the Michigan Mustangs.
Carpenter's father was a standout offensive guard at Howard from 1989-92. The elder Carpenter ultimately earned a spot on the '92 All-MEAC team and was named to the Black Colleges All-American Team.
"Robert comes from a really good family," Oney said. "His dad was a college athlete and that definitely shows with him.
"He's a really good kid who was shown the right way to be a college athlete."
RECORD SETTING SEASON
The Wildcats' historic run was cut short by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, but Pearl River still had a season to remember. Among the season's highlights, Pearl River's 28-0 record set a program-high, the Wildcats were the lone undefeated team in the NJCAA, PRCC was the first Mississippi school to earn the No. 1 seed in the NJCAA Tournament, the Wildcats claimed the MACJC championship and a second consecutive Region XXIII title; and the Wildcats were the first Mississippi school to qualify for the NJCAA Tournament with an unblemished record. In addition to the student athletes' awards, Oney was named the MACJC, Region XXIII and NJCAA Coach of the Year.
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