Lions add three to 2019-2020 men’s basketball recruiting class

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HAMMOND, La. – The reigning Southland Conference Champion Southeastern Louisiana men’s basketball team announced the additions of three to the early signing period Tuesday.

The Lions inked guards Nic Caldwell, Isiah Kirby and Byron Smith to help replace five seniors that will be departing at season’s end.

Caldwell (6-7, 185), a wing/forward, is an excellent shooter that can play above the rim and score from anywhere on the floor. The Geismar, Louisiana native was named First Team All-District 5-5A for Dutchtown High School near Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a junior and guided the Griffins to the second round of the LHSAA playoffs last year.

“I think Nic is a sleeper recruit,” said fifth-year SLU men’s head basketball coach Jay Ladner. “He is an athletic kid that has had a lot of success at the high school level. He can play inside and out. We’ve really liked him since the first time we saw him and have been recruiting him hard over the last couple of years. He’s another local kid that fits into our scheme of recruiting locally. Nic is a high-flying kid who we think has an incredible ceiling so we’re excited to have him on board.”

Kirby (6-3, 180) was highly recruited by several schools including North Carolina State, SMU, Florida International, Florida Gulf Coast, Campbell and Murray State. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native helped lead Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Florida to an 18-9 record and a berth in the 9A playoffs last year. He will play his senior year at Sagemont High School.

“Isiah is one of the highest profiled recruits we’ve signed since I’ve been here,” said Ladner. “Being able to get into Florida was big thanks to (SLU assistant coach) David Kiefer who has a strong contact base down there and was responsible for us landing him. Getting a player the caliber of Isiah helps continue the success of our program. We’ve been able to get in higher level living rooms and been able to sell our program. But Isiah is the type of player that could come and really be a star in our league.”

Smith (6-2, 165), is a lightning quick point guard that has the ability to shoot the three-pointer and create off the dribble. Gainesville, Florida native averaged 11.2 points per game as a freshman and 14.5 as a sophomore for P.K. Yonge High School.

Smith was offered by Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville University and Hampton State while drawing interest from Houston, UMass, Arkansas-Little Rock and Georgia Southern.

“Byron is an incredibly talented player that is quick, athletic and can shoot it,” said Ladner. “Again I couldn’t be more excited about our entire recruiting class. And the fact that up until this year we haven’t really had a lot of success in the early signing period because our philosophy in the early period is to go after needs and really high-level players. And to have those guys committed early is really big. But we have to continue to beat the bushes and find us some post players. We recruited some very hard and some locally but Byron along with Isiah and Nic are a really great start for this recruiting class.”


Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the basketball program are encouraged to join the Hardwood Club. Lion alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners.

All membership fees and donations to Hardwood Club are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern basketball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at or (985) 549-5091 or visiting

For more information on Southeastern Basketball, follow @SLU_Hoops and @CoachLadner on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

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