UNCW hoops adds local player during early signing period ahead of season opener

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Second-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts continued to excel on the recruiting trail on Wednesday, signing combo guard Jaylen Fornes and versatile forward Matthew Elmore on the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period for the 2016-17 season.

“We’re very pleased these young men have decided to join our program,” said Keatts, the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year. “Jaylen and Matt are outstanding students as well as tremendous basketball players, and are great fits for our program. I’m especially pleased with the hard work my staff turned in to make this another outstanding class that will help our program in the future.”

Jaylen Fornes, left and Matthew Elmore. Photo courtesy- UNCW sports
Jaylen Fornes, left and Matthew Elmore. Photo courtesy- UNCW sports

Elmore, a 6-8, 230-pounder out of Dixon High School in nearby Holly Ridge, will join a Seahawk roster that features talent and versatility. Fornes is a 6-3, 170-pound standout at Word of God in Raleigh.

Elmore averaged 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds and two blocks in his junior season, shooting 55 percent from the field and 77 percent at the free throw line for David Henry’s club. A skilled forward, he earned All-Conference, All-Area and All-District honors last season and was invited to participate in the North Carolina Top 80 and Super 60 camps.

Elmore received more than 15 scholarship offers, including North Florida, UNC Asheville, Stetson, College of Charleston and Campbell.

“Matt is a highly skilled player who fits our style of play extremely well,” said Keatts. “One of my goals was to continue to improve our ability to stretch the floor and rebound. He certainly brings those attributes to the table. On top of his abilities on the basketball court, he is a local product who is a very good student. Matt is a great young man who fits the culture of our school and basketball program.”

The Seahawks open the 2015-16 regular season Friday when NAIA member Milligan, already 3-0 on the young season, visits Trask Coliseum for a 7 p.m. tip-off.