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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio men's basketball program has added Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.) to its 2018-19 recruiting class, fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips announced on Thursday (April 26).
Cowart, Jr. joins prep forwards Mason McMurray (Stow, Ohio) and Nate Springs (Charlotte, N.C.), who signed with the Bobcats as part of the early signing period of the 2018-19 recruiting class on Nov. 9, 2017, and redshirt sophomore wing Connor Murrell (Sioux City, Iowa), who signed with Ohio as a transfer from Indian Hills Community College on April 17. The 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pound guard will come to Ohio as a junior with two years of eligibility remaining.
Cowart, Jr. spent the last two years competing at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, Miss., under head coach Thomas Gray. As a sophomore in 2017-18, he started 25 of the 26 games he played in, averaging 14.4 points, a team-high 6.2 assists and a team-high 2.2 steals over 30.3 minutes per game. He recorded seven double-doubles and piled up a season-high 23 points in an 88-61 victory over Meridian Community College on Feb. 8. Cowart, Jr. helped guide the Bears to a 17-9 overall record and appearances in the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges state tournament and the semi-finals of the Region 23 tournament. Cowart, Jr. earned National Junior College Athletic Association All-Region 23 Team selection as well as MACJC All-State honors.
"Antonio is a terrific guard," said Phillips of Cowart, Jr., who chose Ohio over 17 other NCAA Division I offers. "He passes it well, shoots it well and is explosive to the rim. He has athleticism and should fill a position of need for us."
Prior to his stint at Southwest Mississippi Community College, Cowart, Jr. led McComb High School to Mississippi High School Activities Association state titles as both a sophomore and a junior under head coach Pastor Hilton Harrell. He averaged 19 points and five assists per game as a senior and earned all-district honors following both his junior and senior prep seasons.
Born Feb. 25, 1997, Cowart, Jr. is the son of Antonio Cowart, Sr., Daffney Martin, Pastor Hilton Harrell and Twilla Harrell.
Ohio has won 67 games over the past four seasons under Phillips and made back-to-back Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinal appearances in 2016 and '17. The Bobcats advanced to the College Basketball Invitational Semifinals in 2016. Ohio has tallied 10 All-MAC selections over the last four years under Phillips. Returning for the Bobcats in 2018-19 will be senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) – an All-MAC Honorable Mention selection each of the past two seasons – as well as guard Teyvion Kirk (Joilet, Ill.), who garnered MAC All-Freshman Team honors in 2017-18. Also returning for Ohio next season is forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio), who missed all but three games last year due to injury after earning a spot on the MAC All-Freshman Team in 2016-17.