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South Plains College center Yanick Moreira verbally commits to SMU

Nov 1, 2012, 10:12 AM EDT

Larry Brown

The 2012-13 season is expected to be a tough one for SMU, as they’re lacking for experience in both Larry Brown’s first season as head coach and the school’s final run through Conference USA.

With the upcoming move to the Big East in mind, Brown and his staff needed to hit the recruiting trail hard in order to improve their prospects.

And SMU picked up a third commitment in the 2013 class on Wednesday night, as 6-10 center Yanick Moreira verbally committed to attend the school. Moreira, a native of Angola, was one of the key contributors to a South Plains College team that went 36-0 and won the NJCAA national title last season.

As a freshman Moreira, who joins forwards Ben Moore and Sterling Brown in SMU’s 2013 recruiting haul, averaged 12.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

“I think ultimately, (Moreira’s reason) was Larry Brown,” South Plains head coach Steve Green said, referring to the Mustangs’ new head coach. “Yanick, I think, was sold on the fact that Larry Brown, in basketball circles, is regarded as a very good teacher.

“I think he realizes if he’s ever going to play at the highest level, there’s a lot of things about his game he needs to learn.”

SMU has just one senior (leading returning scorer London Giles) on this year’s squad, and with three Division I transfers (Crandall Head, Markus Kennedy and Nic Moore) sitting out this season the Mustangs will take their lumps as they learn from one of the game’s best coaches.

The good news for SMU fans is that the nucleus of the program is young (centers Jordan Dickerson and Blaise Mbargorba are both freshmen), and those transfers are talented enough to have an impact as soon as they hit the floor in 2013.

SMU begins its season with a tough matchup on November 11 as Loyola Marymount, led by point guard Anthony Ireland, visits Moody Coliseum.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.