CHARLESTON, S.C. – Head Coach Pat Kelsey and his staff have signed six newcomers, who will join the College of Charleston men’s basketball program for the 2021-22 season.
“I am thrilled to welcome our staff’s first six signees to Our City!” Kelsey said. “Cougar Nation can expect an instant impact with these young men. They all bring a unique skill set to the table, but they are all united in their traits of toughness and competitiveness – two of our program’s pillars. They are winners and exemplify our culture.”
Fah’mir Ali (pronounced Fuh-MEER), a 5-foot-10 guard from Wilmington, Del., is a transfer from Radford, where he played in 26 games with 23 starts for the Highlanders. He was the team’s leading scorer averaging 10.6 points per game including a career-high 23 points against Winthrop on Feb. 11. The 2021 Big South Conference All-Freshman Team selection also led Radford in assists per game (3.6), which ranked fifth-most in the league, and guided the Highlanders to the Big South Semifinals.
“Fah’mir Ali is a playmaking point guard who can score,” Kelsey said. “He plays with a toughness, and a chip on his shoulder, like few players I’ve ever recruited.”
Dalton Bolon (pronounced BOWL-unn), a 6-foot-4 guard from Gnadenhutten, Ohio, is a graduate transfer from West Liberty University, where he was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American. This past season, he was honored on the prestigious NABC Coaches’ All-America Team. Bolon led all NCAA Division II players in career points (2,232) and career 3-pointers made (349). He also ranked in the Top 25 nationally in scoring (21.6 ppg), 3-pointers per game (3.00 avg.), 3-point field-goal percentage (.446), free throw percentage (.908) and double-doubles (7). Bolon was an Honors graduate in biology working towards his master’s degree at WLU.
“Dalton Bolon is an amazing rags to riches basketball story,” Kelsey said. “He went from unknown to a two-time All-America. He can really score and is as tough as they come.”
Ben Burnham, a 6-foot-7 forward from Fort Mill, S.C., starred at Carmel Christian School in Charlotte, N.C. This past season, he recorded two monster triple-double performances with 22 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks versus Victory Christian on Jan. 26 and 23 points, 23 rebounds and 10 blocks against Charlotte Christian in the state 4A playoffs. A two-time NCISAA all-state selection, Burnham helped lead his team to a 24-2 overall record and a state 4A championship runner-up finish averaging 23.6 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game as a senior. During his junior year, he averaged 15.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.2 blocks per game, while shooting 62 percent from the floor. He was the recipient of the Carmel Christian Basketball Coaches Award and scored 1,000 career points for the Cougars.
“Ben Burnham is a versatile, skilled forward, who can block shots and rebound at a high level,” Kelsey said. “He can play effectively – both above the rim – and in the open floor.”
Nick Farrar (pronounced FUH-rar (like car)), a 6-foot-5 forward from Apex, N.C., is a transfer from NC State, where he played in seven games as a freshman and scored a season-high five points off the bench at Campbell on Dec. 19, 2020. During his high school career at Apex Friendship High School, he was ranked as the No. 8 overall player in the Class of 2020 in the state of North Carolina by 247Sports. Farrar was honored as District 5 Player of the Year by the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association as a senior. He also earned a spot on the 2020 NCBCA Boys Basketball All-State Team and HSOT All-East Boys Basketball First Team.
“In basketball terms, Nick Farrar is a ‘bucket,’” Kelsey said. “He has an uncanny knack for scoring the ball. He can score in the post, facing the basket, from three and when attacking. He was a decorated recruit out of high school, who will be a force for us.”
John Meeks, a 6-foot-6 forward from Burlington, N.C., is a graduate transfer from Bucknell, where he was a 2021 NABC First Team All-Region and two-time All-Patriot League Third Team selection. During his senior campaign, he played in six games averaging 25.3 points per game and registered a career-high 32 points against Lehigh on Jan. 31. Meeks became the first Bucknell player to score 30+ points three times in a span of four games. He was voted to the Patriot League All-Tournament Team. In his four-year career for the Bison, the psychology major and Patriot League Academic Honor Roll student played in 91 career games with 27 starts, averaging 7.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.5 steals per game.
“John Meeks is an ultra-versatile player with size, skill and basketball IQ,” Kelsey said. “He has tremendous toughness and has produced at a very high level in his college career.”
Reyne Smith (pronounced RAIN), a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Ulverstone, Australia, comes from Australia’s Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport – a famous Aussie basketball academy that has produced alums in Xavier Cooks and Kyle Zunic. Smith has played at the highest level of international competition. He represented Australia in the 2019 FIBA Oceania Championships, where he averaged 11.6 points per game, while shooting 52 percent from the field. In the 2020 Under 20 Australian National Championships – while representing his home territory of Tazmania – he averaged 20.7 points per game, while shooting 49.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc and 88 percent from the free throw line.
“Reyne Smith is a sharp-shooting combo guard that developed in one of the world’s best amateur training systems,” Kelsey said. “He has competed on the biggest stages of international basketball.”
2021-22 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON BASKETBALL SIGNEES
Fah’mir Ali, 5-10, 180, Guard, Mount Pleasant High School/Radford, Wilmington, Del.
Dalton Bolon, 6-4, 205, Guard, Indian Valley High School/West Liberty, Gnadenhutten, Ohio
Ben Burnham, 6-7, 200, Forward, Carmel Christian School, Fort Mill, S.C.
Nick Farrar, 6-6, 250, Forward, Apex Friendship High School/NC State, Apex, N.C.
John Meeks, 6-6, 224, Forward, The Burlington School/Bucknell, Burlington, N.C.