Whitman Men's Basketball Recruiting Class: State Champion, Three-Sport Captain, Scholar-Athlete Standouts

News Release Date:
Friday, June 8, 2012

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman: The very best of academics, athletics and relationships in the West. It's the truth. To be considered for admission to our wonderful institution, one has to have on average SAT score of 2060, ACT score of 31 and be in the top 10 percent of their graduating senior class.

Coach Eric Bridgeland
previews his latest
recruiting class

Ya. When you throw in the lofty goals of a leadership-based program with the slogan, Chasing Perfection – Achieving Excellence, one has to be literally the "offspring of Superman" to make the grade. Having said that, the gentlemen below aren't too far off the mark. Whitman welcomes its fourth full recruiting class.

Among many accolades and accomplishments, this crop of new Whitman-bound student athletes includes:

  • Three-sport captain & Athlete of the Year
  • Four-time North Coast Section Scholar-Athlete & Honor Roll member
  • State high school basketball champion
  • Volunteer for Orphans n Widows in Need Foundation
  • Two Honor Society members
  • Participant in USC Summer Leadership Program

In a combo guard, fast passed, pressure oriented system, this recruiting class gives our program three elite perimeter players with complementing skill sets cemented with a 6-foot-6 forward with an uncanny 'D. Michaels' similarity. What also sticks out, is the competitive nature of all four of these young men – EVERY single one of them are PROVEN WINNERS at virtually everything and anything they put their minds to, on AND off the floor.

Let's meet Whitman's Class of 2016:


Tochi Oti: 6-0, 170; Loyola High School - Los Angeles, Calif.

Led Loyola High to Season-Ending Ranking of No. 38 in USA (26-6) – USC Leadership Program participant – Volunteer for OWIN (Orphans n Widows in Need) Foundation – Member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Tochi splits triple-team trap

If you could describe Tochi Oti in one word, that word would be 'winner' (never gets old). His resume is sprinkled with academic accolades, community service awards and faith-based associations. Tochi may be one of the most decorated incoming freshmen, due to his character driven involvement within his community, of any that have joined our program in recent memory. 

On the basketball side of things, Tochi is without question, one of the most underrated playmakers on the west coast (yes, the west coast – AZ, NV, CA, OR, WA) in the Class of 2012. Taking charge in a leadership/support role, Tochi helped power Loyola HS to a No. 38 final ranking in the USA.

An exhilarating athlete, Tochi was a sure fire D1 football and track scholarship athlete. Instead, his passion for basketball kept him on the hardwood. Blessed with a 6-foot-6 wingspan and exceptional quickness, Tochi is virtually un-guardable in an open court game. Whether it is breaking his man down one-on-one, or utilizing an on-ball screen, Tochi can slice n dice with the best of them. In addition, Tochi is an elite defender. His impact will be immediate in Whitman's dribble drive offense and pressure defensive schemes.

Loyola coach Jamal Adams on Tochi: 'Tochi is a relentless competitor with great athletic ability and instincts. He has worked very hard to become a great shooter and has always been great at attacking the rim. He is intelligent, mature and humble, always willing to help someone in need."

Youtube of Tochi


Jackson Clough: 6-1, 195; Seattle Prepartory School

Led Seattle Prep (24-6) to Second Place at 3A State Tourney – Starting QB for 9-2 Seattle Prep football team that went to State (first time in memory) – Starting outfielder/relief pitcher for 19-2, No. 1-ranked Seattle Prep baseball team – Team Captain, all three sports – Seattle Prep Athlete of Year (no kidding) – McDonald’s All-American Game Nominee

With a combined senior record (all three sports) of 52-10 (.840 winning percentage), while 'captaining' each of those teams, it's easy to say Jackson Clough knows a thing or two about leadership.

Clough heads for hoop

Following in the footsteps of other Seattle Prep/Whitman greats Jordan Wheeler (3A State Champ ’06) and Greg Ricker (three-time All-NWC), one might say that Whitman and Seattle Prep are a match made in heaven. 

With a competitive hunger like no other (obvious), Jackson will give Whitman Basketball his undivided, athletic attention. Armed with a rare combination of brute strength, an evil first step and a jumper to boot, Jackson was born to compete in Whitman's up-tempo style of play. Jackson is without question, a lock-down defender. His talents will push for immediate playing time.

Seattle Prep coach Michael Kelly on Jackson: "Jackson is as fierce a competitor and winner as I have ever coached. He is multi-tooled at the guard spot, with a picture perfect jump shot."

YouTube of Jackson


Evan Martin: 6-6, 190; Centennial High School - Las Vegas, Nev.

Led Centennial to 24-4 record and Sunset-NW League Title – African-American Academic Scholarship Award – Honor Society member – Graduated with High Honors – Named VP of Theatre, Senior Year

Evan Martin

Hmmm . . . 6-foot-6 athletic and versatile forward with a big upside, out of Las Vegas . . . Sound familiar?  (David Michaels, 2012 NWC MVP, future PRO?) . . . Yep – Version 2.0 is his own man, though. 

Evan Martin brings much needed length to the Whitman roster. Quick off his feet with an exceptional feel and touch around the basket (both offensively AND defensively), Evan can impact a fast paced game at either end of the floor.

With hand/eye coordination and uncanny timing, Evan has the potential to be an elite shot blocker, while also being able to guard on the perimeter = rare combo. 

Off the floor, the talented Mr. Martin is an elite student, having graduated with honors, as well as being a member of the National Honor Society.

As good a student-athlete as Evan is, his calling may very well be in theatre, as he has already directed a play and had roles in several others. Can you say 'gifted'? 

Las Vegas Prospects Coach Anthony Brown had this to say about Evan: "Couldn’t have coached a better kid. He's the type of person you wished you had a team full of. His best basketball is ahead of him."

YouTube of Evan


Dominic Lippi: 6-0,176; St. Joseph Notre Dame HS - Alameda, Calif.

Honor Roll (four years) – Member of Spanish Honor Society – CIF Div. 5 State Basketball Champion '11 – CIF Div. 5 State Basketball Runner Up '09 – Selected for Spirit of the Pilot Award (leadership n success in HS) – President's Award Winner – Accomplished volleyball player – Recruited walk-on at NCAA Div. 1 UC-Davis

His advice for youngsters is ... "Your attitude is the one thing you have constant control over." Yep. Could you guess that Dominic Lippi is the son of one of California's most successful HS coaches?

Dominic Lippi on defense

Aside from questioning every coaching move of his new head coach (haha), Dominic will fit PERFECTLY in Whitman's servant/leadership culture.

Before winning a state championship as a senior in high school, Dom nearly pulled off a second championship in '09 by scoring 15 of his team's 23 points in the last three minutes to win the Norcal Championship (St. Joe's fell in State final). Can you say, "Will to Win?"

Dom's competitive desire and passion for the game will be welcomed from the get-go in Walla Walla. Having mastered the basic fundamentals under his father, Dom has added an aggressive offensive mindset over the past 12 months that will serve Whitman well. Dom is able to not only stick the jumper, but also bounce it one or two times to create for teammates. He can REALLY pass it. The only greater skill Dom has than that mentioned, is his passion to WORK on his game – Dom's work ethic, in the library and on the hardwood, will fit in perfectly within our culture.

Coach Don Lippi on Dom: "He is the type of person that can MAKE any type of team because of his heart, desire and intensity. He is a competitor that will do whatever it takes to win."

YouTube of Dom (#12)

Interview after NorCal Championship '11