Lakehead University Athletics is pleased to announce the commitment of 6’4” shooting guard Joe Hart to join the men’s basketball program for the start of the 2012-‘13 basketball season. Hart, a product of Southend, England, will graduate this week from Blair Academy in New Jersey where he has played for Coach Joe Mantegna for the past three seasons.
“We are very excited to welcome Joe to our basketball program and the Thunderwolves family.” Said Lakehead Head Coach Scott Morrison. “It did not take long for us to see that he has an excellent skill-set on the court as well as the type of work ethic, character and leadership qualities we are looking to add to our line-up. We expect Joe to play a major role this coming season and make a smooth transition to being a ‘core’ player for us to build around in the future.”
Known at Blair Academy for his quick release and shooting accuracy from long range, Hart captained the Bucs to an 18-7 record and their 8th MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) Championship in 2011-‘12. Blair made it to the prestigious NJ State final where they fell short to powerhouse St. Benedicts who were the #5 high school team in the United States last season. Hart was also a key member of the 2010-‘11 team that won the N.J. State Prep ‘A’ Championship; one of two such titles during Coach Mantegna’s 13 year tenure.
Coach Mantegna, who has produced three NBA stars and more than 30 NCAA D1 players, believes Morrison and the ‘Wolves have themselves a blue-chip recruit: “Joe has been everything I would want in a Blair student-athlete. He is diligent and driven both on the court and in the classroom. Moreover he is a winner, a leader, and a role model to our younger players. Joe will be missed but I am thankful he is in such great hands with Coach Morrison and his fine program.”
Hart, an honor roll student at Blair Academy, joins Lakehead as one of the more experienced and well-travelled freshmen in the Coach Morrison era. He has played competitive basketball in fourteen countries throughout the world, adding Canada to the list this coming September. Prior to enrolling at Blair Academy, Joe was a member of several age-group national teams from England including 2009 when he was the captain of he English U16 squad that won a bronze medal at the European championships. In June Hart will try-out for the Great Britain Under-20 team that will compete during the summer culminating in the European U-20 Championships in July. He will get some bonus exposure to the CIS as the head coach of the GB U-20 team is Dave Smart of the Carleton Ravens. The teams’ assistant coach is John Campbell of Dalhousie.