ORONO, Maine — Richard Barron built a highly successful University of Maine women’s basketball program with numerous contributions from overseas players.
He appears to be taking a similar approach as the head coach of the Black Bears men’s team.
Veljko Radakovi of Novi Sad, Serbia, and Peter “Peppe” Stumer of Sodertalje, Sweden, are among three players who have signed National Letters of Intent to join the UMaine program beginning next year.
Canadian Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish also committed to the Black Bears.
“We’re very excited about these three young men joining our program,” Barron said in a news release. “All three bring size and versatility to their respective positions, and will fit in well with our program’s values and culture. We are very pleased to welcome all three student-athletes and their families to Black Bear Nation.”
UMaine women’s coach Amy Vachon also picked up a player for 2019 with the NLI signing of Anne Simon of Sandweiler, Luxembourg.
Radakovi is a 6-foot-9 forward who is attending Lee Academy. He averaged 5.7 points and shot 44.9 percent from the field in 18 games last season for KK Crvena Zvezda MTS U19, helping it post a 20-2 record.
“Veljko is a long skilled big man who fits well with our style of play,” Barron said. “He can stretch the floor with his shooting and passing, has excellent footwork and passing skills in the post, and has played at a very high level in Serbia, one of Europe’s top basketball nations.
Stumer, a 6-6 guard, is averaging 12 points, four assists, three steals and two rebounds for Alvik Bk in Sweden. He has represented Sweden several times at FIBA European Championships and last summer played with UMaine’s Vilgot Larsson on Team Sweden in the U20 European Championships in Chemnitz, Germany.
“Peter is a big combo guard who has a multiple tools,” Barron said. “He can shoot with range, finishes well at the rim and is very unselfish in creating shots for his teammates. Peter brings outstanding leadership qualities to the program along with a great basketball IQ.”
Wright-McLeish is a 6-4 guard from Montreal who plays for College Jean-de-Brebeuf, where he was the Quebec Student Sports Network Defensive Player of the Year.
This season, Wright-McLeish is averaging 13.6 points while shooting 42 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. He also has posted 6.22 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.0 steals per contest for 6-0 College Jean-de-Brebeuf.
“Ja’Shonte is an outstanding perimeter defender and a versatile offensive threat”, said Barron of Wright-McLeish. “Ja’Shonte provides a calming presence in the floor at both the point and off-guard positions, can shoot well from beyond the three point line, and has an explosive first step when attacking the basket.”
On the women’s side, Simon will come to UMaine after serving as a three-time captain of the Luxembourg national team. The 5-8 guard averaged 16.4 points per game, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists at the 2018 European Championships.
“Anne is a strong, versatile guard who will add depth to our backcourt,” Vachon said in a news release. “She can play multiple positions and brings a wealth of international experience while representing Luxembourg in the European Championships where she was her team’s leading scorer.”
Simon helped lead Luxembourg to a second-place finish at the European Championship for Small Countries.