SEATTLE – (Apr. 20) Jim Hayford made his first moves as Seattle University men’s basketball head coach on Thursday, announcing the signing of transfers Richaud Gittens and Dashawn McDowell.

Gittens, a graduate transfer from Weber State, will be immediately eligible in 2017-18 as a redshirt senior. Due to NCAA transfer rules, McDowell, who spent his freshman season at SMU, will sit out the 2017-18 season and become eligible in 2018-19 as a redshirt sophomore.

“We are excited to welcome Richaud and Dashawn to the Seattle University basketball family,” said Hayford. “Both of these young men are very accomplished basketball players with a history of success, and both have participated in the NCAA Tournament.”

Gittens, a 6-4, 200-pound guard, played in 102 career games and started 33 in his four seasons with the Wildcats. Averaging 6.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, he was part of two Big Sky Championship teams and twice played in the NCAA Tournament.

“We inherited a roster without any seniors returning next season, which showed an immediate need to add game-experienced, mature leadership,” Hayford said. “Richaud fills that need for us as an immediately-eligible, graduate-school transfer who is very excited to earn a master’s degree from Seattle University.”

Gittens was averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game through the first six games of 2016-17 before suffering a foot injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. As a junior in 2015-16, he played in all 35 games and was part of the Wildcat team that won the Big Sky regular-season title, the Big Sky Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

During his sophomore season in 2014-15, Gittens started all 30 games, averaging 9.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. As a freshman in 2013-14, he saw action in all 31 games, averaged 6.9 ppg and helped lead Weber State to the Big Sky title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

A graduate of Marcos De Niza High School in Tempe, Ariz., Gittens earned First Team All-City honors as a senior and led team to 5A Metro Region title.

McDowell, a 6-5, 185-pound guard from Oklahoma City, Okla., played in 29 games during his true freshman season at SMU as the Mustangs won program record 30 games en route to winning the American Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles and making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

On a team loaded with senior leadership, highlights of McDowell’s rookie season included four points, three assists and a rebound in the AAC-clinching win against Memphis (Mar. 4); five points, a rebound and an assist in a win versus East Carolina (Feb. 1); and seven points, two rebounds and two assists in a win versus McNeese (Dec. 14).

“Dashawn was a very highly-recruited player out of Oklahoma City,” said Hayford. “He had an amazing prep career and was one of the top players in the Midwest coming out of high school. He was part of a 30-win team that won the American Athletic Conference championship this past year, and he is now very excited to come to Seattle and be an impact player for the Redhawks.”

McDowell prepped at Southeast High School in Oklahoma City. As a senior, he was named First Team All-State by the Oklahoma Coaches Association and a junior, he averaged 29 ppg and was named the 2015 All-City Conference Player of the Year. McDowell also played for USA East Coast on a basketball tour in Italy in the summer of 2016.

More in M. Basketball