GREENVILLE, N.C. – Ezra Ausar, Benjamin Bayela, Quentin Diboundje, Elijah Jones, Kalib LaCount, Saxby Sunderland and Jaden Walker will attend East Carolina University and compete for the men’s basketball program beginning with the 2022-23 season, according to an announcement Thursday by head coach Michael Schwartz.

The well-balanced group is comprised of a pair of Power Five transfers, one junior college player and four high school signees.

Ezra Ausar | Power Forward | 6-9 | 240 | Atlanta, Ga. | Liberty Heights Athletic Institute
Ranked as the No. 2 prospect in North Carolina by HoopSeen and the 54th-best power forward nationally by 247 Sports.
Transferred to Liberty Heights Athletic Institute in Charlotte, NC for his senior year where he averaged a near double-double and helped lead the squad to a 30-3 record.
2021-2022 McDonald’s All-American Nominee.
Named to the All-Tournament First Team at the Phenom Hoop State Championship.
Also received offers from Texas A&M, Wichita State and UMass.

Schwartz on Ausar: “When we arrived here a little over a month ago, we knew we wanted to make North Carolina high school prospects a real priority. Ezra Ausar was the student-athlete that was at the top of that list from day one, as a graduate from Liberty Heights in Charlotte, playing for Coach Michael Wright. Ezra has an incredible family and basketball support system that have helped him develop into one of the top players in the 2022 class here in North Carolina. Ezra is an explosive, athletic forward that possesses legitimate ball skills that are rare for a forward with his size. Ezra has the ability to play in the paint and on the perimeter and will bring strong defensive versatility to our program.”

Benjamin Bayela | Guard | 6-6 | 195 | Le Chesnay Rocquencourt, France | South Plains College
Two-year starter for national junior college powerhouse South Plains College.
Averaged 10.5 points and 6.1 rebounds during the 2020-21 campaign.
Played a key part in the Texans 18-3 record, a share of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference title, a No. 1 national ranking and an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the NJCAA Men’s Basketball National Tournament.
Shot 42.9 percent from the field with 15 steals and nine blocks over 19 games.
Averaged 12.2 points per game, shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range and 72 percent from the line in his freshman campaign.
Also received offers from Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, South Florida and St. John’s.

Schwartz on Bayela: “We are thrilled to have Benjamin Bayela as a player, student and most importantly as a person here with us at ECU. Ben has a mature and professional approach to everything he does both on and off the court. He is a big, physical wing that can score a lot of different ways. Ben has also had elite experience playing Internationally at the highest levels, as well as most recently learning from and being coached by one of the very best junior college coaches in the country in Steve Green. Ben will impact our program immediately with his winning mindset and intensity. We could not be more excited to have Benjamin and his family as a part of our program.”

Quentin Diboundje | Guard | 6-5 | 217 | Montpellier, France | University of Tennessee
Spent his collegiate freshman season at the University of Tennessee, helping the Vols to the 2022 SEC Tournament title and a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Made his NCAA Tournament debut during Tennessee’s first round win over Longwood.
Signed with Tennessee after spending the 2020-21 season on the “prep national” roster at Monteverde Academy Center for Basketball Development.
Helped the Eagles to a 23-7 record in his first season of U.S. basketball in 2020-21 and authored a 25-point performance in a win over Link Year Prep on Feb. 19, 2021.
One of 16 players selected to participate in the French Basketball Federation’s U18 team camp in 2020.
Played French club basketball with the Elan Chalon U21 team and increased his production from 4.8 points and 0.7 rebounds per game in 2018-19 to 12.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in 2019-20.
Also received offers from Georgia, TCU, and George Washington.

Schwartz on Diboundje: “The addition of Quentin Diboundje to our Pirate family is something our entire coaching staff is very excited about. Quentin is an elite athlete that plays the game with a unique combination of physicality, skill and speed on both sides of the ball. He has an aggressive mentality and understands the work ethic it will take to put himself in a position to be successful both on and off the court. He has great experience playing at some of the highest levels of international basketball, prep school basketball and of course for a Hall of Fame Coach in Rick Barnes at the University of Tennessee. We are really looking forward to coaching Quentin and having his family in France watch his success as an ECU Pirate.”

Elijah Jones | Forward | 6-8 | 210 | Pleasantville, N.J. | Mount Zion Prep
Helped lead Mount Zion Prep to a No. 4 National Prep Coaches ranking.
Averaged 14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game over the 2021-2022 season.
Scored 24 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in Mount Zion’s 101-96 victory over Phelps in the quarterfinals of the GAC Tournament.
Also received offers from St. Bonaventure, UMass, Old Dominion, and Hofstra.

Schwartz on Jones: “Elijah Jones was one of the very first student-athletes we had the opportunity to visit with when we arrived at ECU. His on-court presence, skill level and feel for the game at his size is very impressive. Elijah is a great communicator and plays the game with a high level of energy. We anticipate Elijah having a great summer by getting stronger and continuing to develop his skill set both in the paint and on the perimeter. He has a wonderful family and has competed at a very high level in the DMV area for his prep coach Rod Harrison at Mt. Zion Prep Academy.”

Kalib LaCount | Guard | 5-8 | 150 | Los Angeles, Calif. | King/Drew High School
Tabbed LA city Player of the Year in his senior campaign.
Played for AAU Powerhouse Compton Magic on the 3SSB Adidas Circuit.
Earned selection to the 2021-22 California All-State Second Team.
Named the 2021-22 Coliseum League Player of the Year after averaging 33.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.2 steals per game.
Led the Golden Eagles to their first ever Open Division championship appearance.
Scored a school-record 59 points in an 84-43 victory over Dorsey High School Feb. 11.

Schwartz on LaCount: “Kalib LaCount brings a mentality, skill set and toughness to our program that is truly unique to who he is as a player and as a person. He is a winner with leadership qualities that has played for some of the best programs and coaches in California. His family foundation and time at King/Drew Magnet High School with Coach Lloyd Webster in conjunction with his experience with Etop Udo-Ema and the Compton Magic have provided Kalib with the highest level of prep competition and success. Kalib is a dynamic guard that has had tremendous success as a scorer and playmaker. He understands what it means to play with a “chip on his shoulder” and his ability to defend 94 feet will make an impact from day one.”

Saxby Sunderland | Guard | 6-3 | 170 | Arlington, Va. | Flint Hill High School
Ranked the No. 8 guard in the state of Virginia.
Averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game through the 2021-2022 season while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 78.3 percent from the line during his senior campaign.
Named to the Virginia Independent Schools All-State Second Team and MAC All-League Team.
Also received offers from VCU, George Mason, Saint Peter’s and UMBC.

Schwartz on Sunderland: “Saxby Sunderland brings so much to our program both on and off the court. He has been part of a great program in the DMV area at the prestigious Flint Hill School, playing for Coach Ricardo Reed. From that experience, as well as his incredible family, Saxby has an advanced understanding of what it takes to be successful as a player and student. He has a tenacious work ethic in the gym and his skill level with the ball as a playmaker and shooter are aspects of his game we are very excited about. We can’t wait for Saxby to arrive on campus this summer.”

Jaden Walker | Guard | 6-5 | 200 | Lawrenceville, Ga. | Iowa State University
Spent his first two collegiate seasons at Iowa State where he played in 37 games.
Shot 50 percent from the field during the 2021-22 season and scored a career-high eight points against nationally-ranked Texas Tech.
Started nine games as a freshman, averaging 18 minutes per game, including a 14-rebound performance against Kansas on February 13, 2021 – the most by a Cyclone true freshman since the 2010-11 season.
Rated a four-star recruit and the No. 9 player in Georgia coming out of high school by ESPN.
Selected Iowa State over offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech and New Mexico.

Schwartz on Walker: “We’re very excited about the addition of Jaden Walker to our program. He has made an impact at the highest level of college basketball and we are looking forward to his experience playing a key role from the moment he steps on campus. Jaden is a versatile guard with great size that can impact the game on both ends of the floor. He has a strong foundation from his family and former prep coach Tobias Howard. We feel very fortunate to have all of them as a part of our ECU family.”