SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth men's basketball coach Damion Jablonski has announced his initial incoming class. Four talented players have been accepted to the school and indicated their intention to play for the Pirates in 2019-20.
All four will come in with freshman eligibility, though one is a transfer. The quartet includes Jerry Twenge (Spokane, Wash. / Mt. Spokane), Hunter Thorne (Thousand Oaks, Calif. / Thousand Oaks HS), Jacob Hjort (Vancouver, Wash. / Columbia River HS) and Cristian Colwell (Lynden, Wash. / Lynden Christian HS).
"I am extremely excited to be able to add another talented class of high character student-athletes to our men's basketball program," Jablonski said. "I have no doubt that each one of them will not only make their mark on our basketball program, but will also have a positive impact on the Whitworth community."
Click here for a YouTube highlight reel of the incoming class.
Jablonski took on the role of head coach in April, moving up from his previous position of Associate Head Coach after Matt Logie left to become head coach at Point Loma Nazarene.
Twenge, a 6-4 guard, led Mt. Spokane High School to a runner-up finish at the 2019 WIAA 3A tournament last March where the Wildcats knocked off Rainier Beach but fell to O'Dea in the title game. A two-time team captain, Twenge earned first team All-Greater Spokane League recognition after averaging 17 points, five rebounds and three assists per game.
"Jerry is a versatile guard who finds a variety of ways to impact the game," Jablonski said. "Jerry was extremely well-coached in high school and has a great feel for the game. I am ecstatic that we were able to keep this hometown talent in his back yard for our community to continue to enjoy."
Thorne, a 6-3 guard, was a big reason Thousand Oaks High School bounced back from a winless record in the Marmonte lead in 2017-18 to an 18-10 record and second place league finish in 2018-19. He averaged 14.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, earning second team All-League. The team's MVP as a senior, he made 77 three-pointers and converted 39% of his three-point attempts. The L.A. Times selected Thorne as an honorable mention All-Area honoree.
"Hunter is a tough-nosed competitor with a great shooting stroke," Jablonski said. "As nice as Hunter is off the court, he plays gritty when he steps between the lines. I'm excited to go to battle with him these next four years."
Hjort, a 6-2 guard, transfers to Whitworth after spending a red-shirt season at Western Oregon University. Hjort was a four-year letterwinner and three-time first team All-Greater St. Helens League honoree at Columbia River High School. As a senior in 2018, he was the GSHL Co-Player of the Year, an All-Region selection and a second team All-State (2A) honoree. The Chieftains finished sixth at the 2018 WIAA 2A Tournament and Hjort became only the fourth player in school history to surpass 1,000 points in his career.
"Jacob is a deadly shooter with great footwork and range," Jablonski said. "He has really increased his strength and defensive ability after spending the last year as a red-shirt at a high-level Division II program. He is certainly poised to make his mark in a Whitworth jersey."
Colwell is a 6-8 post who averaged 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and 1.5 blocks per game as a senior at Lynden Christian in 2018-19. He earned first team All-Northwest Conference recognition and was invited to play in the Whatcom County all-star game and the Skagit County all-star game. He helped lead the Lyncs to a 26-1 record and fourth place finish at the WIAA 1A tournament last March. Colwell graduated as the LCHS Valedictorian.
"Cristian is a high-IQ individual both on and off the court," Jablonski said. "He has great hands and feet to go along with his size, and I expect him to develop in the same mold as some of our most recent impactful post players. He's a great get that is just scratching the surface of his potential."
The four incoming players join a Whitworth roster that returns 13 letterwinners and two starters from 2018-19 when the Pirates went 21-6 overall and 12-4 in the Northwest Conference.