Montgomery rounds out his basketball staff


John T. Greilick | The Detroit News Saginaw High School athletic director and boys varsity basketball coach Lou Dawkins points out players on his 2008 state championship team, including Draymond Green, who now stars for the Final Four-bound MSU Spartans.

By Andrew Singer

Recently resigned Saginaw boy’s basketball coach Lou Dawkins contacted the Northern Star on Wednesday evening to inform the public that he had accepted an offer to become an assistant on the NIU men’s basketball team.

Dawkins also revealed that Saginaw guard Marquavis Ford has signed a national letter of intent to play for the Huskies. The 6’2″ combo guard averaged 22 points per game for the Trojans in his senior season and was second-team All-State in Michigan.

First-year NIU head coach Mark Montgomery built a relationship with Ford through constant contact with Dawkins. Knowing what kind of coach Dawkins is, Montgomery began recruiting the Saginaw coach for his staff shortly after being hired by NIU on March 23. Dawkins went 140-28 in seven seasons as Saginaw’s varsity boy’s head coach and won two state titles with the Michigan high school.

“I’ve known coach Montgomery forever,” Dawkins said. “We’ve been in the coaching world forever. When he offered me the coaching opportunity I was honored. You are talking about three final fours with Montgomery. A guy coming from one of the best coaches in the world in Tom Izzo.”

With the addition of Dawkins, Montgomery has now added three assistants for the 2011-12 season. Dayton assistant Jon Borovich was introduced by NIU as Montgomery’s lead assistant on April 5. NIU then revealed on April 6 that Todd Townsend, assistant to former NIU head coach Ricardo Patton, would be retained.

Townsend had the opportunity to watch Dawkins’ star prospect while on a recruiting trip to Michigan. After watching the senior drop 22 points in a game, the assistant coach knew Ford could help NIU.

“You may not be able to pronounce his first name right now, but you will soon,” Townsend said of Marquavis Ford. “People around here are going to love this kid. Right now we plan on playing him at the 1 (point guard), 2 (shooting guard) and 3 (small forward). He’s a phenomenal passer, and he’s really going to compliment our guys.”

Ford played a pickup game with current Huskies while visiting NIU, and while coaches can’t watch their players during the offseason, Townsend didn’t have to see Ford to understand the impact he could have.

“Guys like Nate Rucker and Cameron Madlock could not stop raving about this guy,” Townsend said.

Townsend said he believes Ford will gel well with Glenbard East point guard Zach Miller. Both are part of the Huskies’ 2011 recruiting class. Shooting guard DeAndre Barnette of Liberty Tech (Tenn.) also signed last fall. Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy twins Keith and Kevin Gray announced their commitment on Monday and signed letters of intent on Wednesday.

Montgomery said last week that he was only looking to bring in “two or three more guys,” meaning the signing of Ford and the Gray twins may put the finishing touches on the 2011 class.