WKU Hilltopper Basketball head coach Ray Harper announced Monday the signings of Willie Carmichael (F, 6-8, University of Tennessee), Aaron Cosby (G, 6-3, University of Illinois), Kristaps Gluditis (G, 6-4, Riga, Latvia), Nathan Smith (C, 7-1, London, England) and Anton Waters (F, 6-6, Baltimore, Md.) to the program for 2015-16.
The group joins Fredrick Edmond (G, 6-3, Lansing, Mich.), Phabian Glasco (F, 6-7, Tulsa, Okla.), Marlon Hunter (G, 6-2, Memphis, Tenn.) and Chris McNeal (G, 5-11, Jackson, Tenn.) as newcomers for the Hilltoppers next season.
Cosby is eligible for one season at WKU as a graduate transfer, Gluditis and Smith will have four years of eligibility remaining and Waters will have two. Carmichael will sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer requirements and will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2016-17.
Carmichael appeared in all 32 games for Tennessee in 2014-15 and made 19 starts, the most on the team among freshmen, and averaged 14.8 minutes per outing. He was the first Volunteer off the bench in seven games, and he averaged 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting a team-best .519 from the field (40-for-77). He had nine points, six rebounds and two blocked shots against Kansas State on Dec. 6, and he led the squad in blocked shots in a game four times.
Carmichael played high school basketball at Wekiva High School in Apopka, Fla., where he was named the 7A State Player of the Year by the Orlando Sentinel as a senior in 2013-14. That year, he helped the team to a 25-5 record, a second-place finish in District 4 and a trip to the regional semifinals in the class.
Harper on Carmichael
“Willie is an unbelievable athlete with a lot of potential. He is a quick leaper, and he has good instincts on the court. The year he has to sit out will be very beneficial for him, and he will get bigger and stronger and improve even more on his fundamentals.”
Cosby transferred to WKU from the University of Illinois, where he played 19 games and made 13 starts before an injury ended his season. He played 25.3 minutes per game for the Fighting Illini in 2014-15, averaging 7.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while hitting 32 three-pointers.
Cosby sat out the 2013-14 season after transferring from Seton Hall University, where he played in 65 career games and made 58 starts over two seasons. He averaged 10.1 points per game for his career at Seton Hall and shot 38.8 percent from three-point range.
Prior to prep school, the Louisville, Ky., native played two years at Jeffersontown High School after beginning his high school career at DuPont Manual. In high school, Cosby won the three-point shooting contest as part of the Derby Festival Basketball Classic. He averaged 21.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists in his final prep season at Northfield Mount Hermon Prep in Massachusetts, where he was named the team Most Valuable Player and helped the squad to a 21-9 record.
Harper on Cosby
“Aaron is a guy who can step right in and make a huge impact. He’s a shot maker, but he also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and is good in ball-screen action. He’s a great defender, and he loves being in the gym. His experience will help our younger guys tremendously.”
Gluditis, who hails from the same hometown as Hilltopper senior Aleksej Rostov, spent the last two seasons at GBA Academy in the Czech Republic and has played on the Latvian National Team for the last four years in the U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 FIBA World Championships. Latvia finished fourth in the U-18 championships.
He averaged 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game during his junior season at GBA Academy, and he helped the team to the league final four and was named to the all-league team.
As a senior at GBA Academy, Gluditis averaged 20.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Harper on Gluditis
“Kristaps is a tremendous shooter, and he will give us a punch from the perimeter that we need. He has international experience, which always helps with development by simply allowing more time on the court. He will fit in well with what we are trying to do.”
Smith played last season at Barking Abbey Basketball Academy in London, part of the Elite Academy Basketball League, where he averaged nine points, nine rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. Smith had 14 points in a win that sent Barking Abbey to the Elite Eight of the EABL Tournament.
Harper on Smith
“Nathan has a ton of upside, much like Ben Lawson, but Nathan is even a little bigger. He has the height and solid frame, and he is not afraid to be physical in the paint. He’s a true center, and he will provide a presence that other teams will have to account for.”
Waters is originally from Baltimore and played the last two seasons at Gulf Coast State (Fla.) College. Last season as a sophomore, Waters averaged 11.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, including nearly four per contest on the offensive glass, to help Gulf Coast State to a 19-10 record.
Waters shot 50.6 percent from the floor and 70.2 percent from the charity stripe.
As a freshman in 2013-14, he averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Harper on Waters
“Anton is a tremendous athlete. He can chase down balls and rebound on both ends, and he brings a toughness that I love from kids. He’s going to quickly gain a lot of fans at E.A. Diddle Arena with his intensity on the court.”
Hilltopper Basketball on the Map: With a third-straight 20-win season in 2014-15, WKU and head coach Ray Harper entered into exclusive company.
- WKU and LA Tech are the only schools in Conference USA to win 20 or more games in each of the last three seasons
- The Hilltoppers are one of just 46 schools in the nation to currently have a streak of three-straight 20-win seasons
- Ray Harper joins 21 other head coaches since 2000-01 to record three 20-win campaigns in his first three full seasons as a Division I head coach