November 13, 2013 Updated: November 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm
One thing jumped out when hearing the current crop of freshmen basketball players at Air Force talk about their options while being recruited.
Without exception, there were no options, at least not of the Division I variety.
While that group - all but one of whom attended the prep school - was recruited during the tail end of the Jeff Reynolds era, the crop that signed on Wednesday comprised players targeted through Dave Pilipovich's first year as the team's coach.
And these guys had options.
The nine players who signed unofficially with Air Force on Wednesday weren't exactly blue chippers, but they picked the school over schools that included Southern Methodist, Rice, Army, Penn and Yale.
That's not to say the Falcons landed everyone they sought. In recent weeks one player opted out because of the military aspect of the academy and, according to a source, another opted for a Christian school after he felt that's what he was told while praying on the decision.
Pilipovich could not comment on any specific players or the class - pieced together by The Gazette from an assortment of sources and sites - as the appointment process for the Falcons differs from other programs that inked prospects to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
The future Falcons gave their signatures, but they were on institutional agreements that hold no legal binding - though it does put the mutual commitments on paper.
"Signing today after school," tweeted Joe Schneider of Lansing, Kan., a guard. "The day I've dreamed of for so long."
The class includes two players, Mason Schroeder and Frank Toohey, listed at 6-foot-8, two others at 6-5 (Jace Chacon and Ryan Pauley) and another local product in Sand Creek point guard Dylan Clark.
Jacob Van, a 6-2 guard, along with Toohey, will enter the academy directly from high school. The rest of the class includes Schneider, Joseph Aikens and Drew Washington.
Air Force will not officially learn the intent of the players currently at the prep school until April. Other schools are eligible to recruit any athlete during his or her time at the prep school.
Air Force basketball recruiting class:
Direct entries (will attend Air Force next year)
Jacob Van, G, 6-2, Wt. N/A, Mansfield, Texas (Lake Ridge)
Strong lead guard in the mold of a Todd Fletcher. Texas State and Rice among his suitors.
Frank Toohey F 6-8, 215, Elmurst, Ill.
Known for his strength and toughness, coupled with academics that had him recruited by Army and several in the Ivy League.
Prep school (will be eligible recruits next year at the AFA prep school)
Joseph Aikens, G, 6-3, 170, Jacksonville, Ark. (North Pulaski HS)
Averaged 17 points and nine rebounds as a junior.
Jace Chacon, G/F, 6-5, 210, Everett, Wash.
Athletic with slashing ability. Drew a comparison with Dezmond James, a former Lewis-Palmer player at the prep school.
Dylan Clark, PG, 6-1, 175, Colorado Springs (Sand Creek)
Quick point guard who has shot 39 percent from 3-point range and helped program progress from 13 to 16 to 23 victories over his three seasons thus far.
Ryan Pauley, G/F, 6-5, 190, Salt Lake City (Judge Memorial Catholic H.S.)
Versatile enough to have played every position in his prep career. As a junior he averaged 10 points and was leading rebounder for team that won region championship.
Joe Schneider, G, 6-1, 175, Lansing, Kan.
Has twice led team deep in Kansas' 5A tournament as starting PG, also plays QB in football. Effortless 3-point stroke.
Mason Schroeder, PF, 6-8, 215, Heber Springs, Ark.
Big body with versatility and shooting range. Drew interest from SMU, Texas Pan-American and Central Arkansas
Drew Washington, SG, 6-3, 175, Oak Harbor, Wash.
Deep range with ability to get to the rim.