Monday, September 7, 2009

GU recruits: Freshmen Furno and Simmons

Freshmen aren't supposed to be the big men on campus, but Gannon's two frosh recruits are exactly that. Tanner Furno is 6-foot-9 with Anthony Simmons just an inch behind. I'm looking forward to watching them develop over the next four years (or five if they redshirt). It was a thrill to watch the development of past Knight bigs Josh Morgan and Geoff Husted during Jerry Slocum's time at GU. Here's what I know about the newest and tallest Knights:

Tanner Furno F 6-9 fr.

  • Prepped at Whetstone H.S. in Columbus where he was named all-state third team, all-district Division I first team, all-City League North first team, and Columbus Dispatch All-Metro team as a senior
  • Averaged 23.4 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior, leading Whetstone to a 15-8 overall record
  • Recognized as one of the top nine senior college prospects in Central Ohio according to Prep Spotlight and All-Ohio Basketball
  • Named ESPN RISE Midwest Region Boys’ Basketball Player of the Week after recording 50 points, 24 rebounds, and 10 blocks in one game -- a 104-89 triple-overtime victory against Columbus Centennial (hit the game-tying shots at the end of the first and second overtimes, as well as scoring 11 points in the third overtime)
  • Recorded 23 points and 18 rebounds in a 60-58 victory over Independence during an Ohio Division I Tournament game
  • Played for an All-Ohio AAU team that reached the final eight of a national tournament
  • Was a three-sport athlete as a freshman and sophomore, participating in football and soccer. (Note: How do you play both soccer and football -- unless you're just the kicker on the football team. But would a 6-foot-9 kid be a kicker? That'd be a sight to see ...)
  • Good feature story here, including that he beefed up to 190 pounds for his senior year. The article also mentions that he gave up soccer and football due to back problems.
  • Furno appears to be a late bloomer. Here's an excerpt from his junior year detailing that: "(Furno's) improvement has been a big reason for the team's recent run. Furno averaged more than 10 rebounds in Whetstone's first three wins. 'One constant focus has been our rebounding and making sure we control the boards,' head coach Kevin Arway said. '(Furno has) been coming along. He's gotten a lot more aggressive and a lot more physical in going after the basketball.' Furno's height -- he grew two inches since last season and is 6-foot-8 -- often means Whetstone will have the tallest player on the court. He is hoping to add defensive and rebounding consistency to an already strong offensive game. Furno averaged 8.8 points a year ago but has become the team's second-leading scorer at 15.5 per game."
  • Several photos of Furno are online:,,, and (he's 3rd from the left).
Anthony Simmons F 6-8 fr.
  • Comes to Gannon after an impressive high school career and one season at Suffield (Conn.) Academy prep school
  • Averaged 14.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, and 1.7 blocks while shooting 89% from the free throw line at Suffield. Reached double digits in scoring during 17 of 20 games, including three games of 20 points or more. Recorded 14 double-doubles.
  • If you want even more detail on his season at Suffield, MaxPreps features this web page chock full of his stats:
  • The New England Recruiting Report links to some more info on Simmons, including a photo and details on his signing with Gannon:
  • Here's a photo of Simmons with his head coach and two teammates who also earned McDonald's All-American nominee status:
  • This will link you to an edition of the Suffield Bell student newspaper, which I'm sure you already subscribe to. Page 8 has a feature story on Simmons, detailing that he prepares a pre-game speech for his teammates before each contest. Though I'm not sure how accurate the story is; it lists Simmons as a PG. I think they meant PF.
  • Suffield was 13-7 last year, earning them as spot as a Western New England Class "B" Quarterfinalist ... whatever that means.
  • Never heard of Suffield Academy? Vinny Del Negro (Chicago Bulls) is a distinguished alum!
  • (Note: When you have a chance, check out Suffield's website at Their winter sports include alpine skiing, riflery, snowboarding, and squash. Tuition is $30,375 for commuters and a robust $42,720 for boarding students.)
  • Played scholastically at Allendale Columbia High School in Rochester, N.Y. where he averaged 24.2 points and 13 rebounds as a senior, earning all-state second team status
  • Named New York State Class C Player of the Year after leading Allendale Columbia to a 23-3 record as a senior
  • Was named MVP of the Ronald McDonald House charity all-star game in update N.Y. After the game, his coach was quoted to say, "I knew most of the kids in Livingston, Allegany and Steuben. But Anthony Simmons stood out. I believe we will be watching him on television in two years. He was one of the best players and has a ton of upside.”
  • Starred for the East Coast Fusion AAU club


  1. Good stuff! I'm excited to see who redshirts and who doesn't. Having two agile big men for four years could be an extremely excellent sight for Gannon fans.

    Have you heard anything about the Gary Miller Classic that I don't see posted online? It appears (perhaps I'm just too skilled at inferring) that it is not as much a 4-team tourney with a "crowned" team, but a set rotation. Looking at Gannon's schedule, it says Gannon will play LEC on Friday and NKU on Saturday (both at 8 pm), and NKU's schedule says that they play EUP Friday (6 pm) and GU on Saturday. Edinboro's schedule merely says that they are at the Gary Miller Classic both nights with 6 pm games.

    Any info? Or is this a scheduled post far later down the road.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. ha, its not a complaint in the slightest. i'm just curious, since the press release doesn't detail this noticeable shift from the tournaments typical organization.

  4. I know it wasn't a complaint, didn't mean to seem like I was attacking you. I was just stating my thoughts on it.

    Not sure what happened to my post?! It says I deleted it.. but... I didn't?!

    Regardless... what do you people think about the returning players? George Johnson, Preston Harris, Mark Demski, Alfonso Scandrett, Malcolm Woodbury. Besides George, you think the others will be big contributors? Or do you think it will be all the transfers and new signees? I'm really anxious to see this season in action!

  5. The GM Classic will feature predetermined opponents, basically to avoid a GU-Boro game.


    Lake Erie College is joining the GLIAC, along with Ohio Dominican. So enought with the whining about having LEC on the schedule. Hopefully we can keep them on our schedule.

  6. Sorry for the double-post, but if you were wondering "Whatever happened to Griz Zimmerman" (and who isn't), he's the athletic director of LEC! It looks like the GLIAC wants to expand to 16 teams.

  7. i said nothing about LEC being on the schedule and being bitter on the post, and have known about their move to the GLIAC. I was simply asking if there was any public information about the status of the predetermined opponents.

  8. Yeah, the paper had an article Gannon's last year in the GLIAC talking about how Tiffin was joining the GLIAC to play teams like Mercyhurst and Gannon and then I guess Tiffin wasn't happy that they switched to the PSAC haha too bad for them.. but I remember them talking about Lake Erie practically "auditioning" for GLIAC and that the GLIAC was looking to expand to get more "southern" teams in it.

    I'm still going to complain about having Lake Erie on the schedule... just because they are in the GLIAC doesn't mean they are all of a sudden a good team. Any good recruits are going to snub them and go straight to Findlay!