Seattle U men’s basketball coach Jim Hayford finding his footing with Redhawks

After three weeks on the job, Seattle U coach Jim Hayford has filled his staff and added two transfers.

Three weeks after taking over, Jim Hayford is starting to put his stamp on the Seattle University men’s basketball team.

The new Redhawks coach added two transfers, gave a scholarship to a former walk-on and filled out his coaching staff.

“We haven’t been busy at all,” Hayford deadpanned.

Seattle U signed Richaud Gittens, a graduate transfer from Weber State, and Dashawn McDowell, who spent his freshman season at SMU.

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Gittens, a 6-foot4 guard, is eligible to play in 2017-18. He averaged 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds through six games in 2016-17 before suffering a season-ending foot injury.

McDowell averaged 1.4 points and 1.0 rebounds while appearing in 29 games last season.

“One recipe for not succeeding is not having experience and we inherited a roster without any seniors returning next season,” Hayford said. “So we needed to go find some experience and I want to find guys who come out of winning programs.”

Gittens and McDowell join Seattle Prep guard Aaron Nettles in the 2017 incoming class. The Redhawks lost West Seattle guard Nate Pryor who received his release and signed with Washington.

The Redhawks also rewarded sophomore Zack Moore with a scholarship. The 6-5 guard was fourth on the team in scoring while averaging 10.4 points last season.

“On the first day I gave Zach Moore a scholarship because he earned it,” Hayford said. “I just felt like in building credibility to the values of what I want our program to stand for, I couldn’t say I really need this for someone else. I needed to say if you play well, here you go.”

The Redhawks lost two of their top three scorers from a team that was 13-17 last season and was 5-9 in the WAC.

Hayford plans to build around a nucleus that includes 7-3 center Aaron Menzies, who played just 14 games due to a foot injury, 6-10 forward Scott Ulaneo and guards Matej Kavas, the WAC Freshman of the Year, Morgan Means, Jake Spurgeon and Moore.

“I’m going to play the same way I’ve been successful my whole life,” said Hayford, who compiled a 66-37 record during his final three seasons at Eastern Washington. “We’re going to open it up. We’re going to play fast. We’re going to shoot the 3. We’re going to attack the basket after the drive.”

Eastern Washington averaged 79.3 points per game last season, which was about 10 more than Seattle U.

Hayford brought Chris Victor, a former Redhawks assistant who spent two years in Cheney, with him to Seattle.

SU’s three-man assistant staff also includes former Southern Utah coach Nick Robinson, who compiled a 28-90 record the past four seasons, and Ryan Madry, who completed six seasons as an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara.

In addition, Jay Shiogi will continue in his role as the Redhawks’…

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