Thursday, July 9, 2015

New recruits, opening night exhibition with Illini add intrigue to UIS men's hoops season

It has been a big week for the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program since it signed 6-foot-7 guard/forward Richard Freeman and announced it will play the University of Illinois for the first time.

 Freeman is transferring from NCAA Division I Grambling State. UIS coach Bill Walker announced the signing Wednesday. Walker describes him as “versatile." “He’s not a traditional back-to-the-basket player,” he said. “He’s more of a slasher. On the defensive end, he can block shots and play way above the rim for us.”

Freeman, an Indianapolis native, played for Lawrence Central High School and is the Prairie Stars’ fifth recruit. Adding him to the roster gives UIS additional height in the post. Six-foot-9 freshman center Zach Steinberg signed with the Prairie Stars in April.

The recruiting class also includes 5-10 freshman point guard Logan Gonce, 6-5 freshman forward Bahari Amaya and 6-5 junior guard Paxton Harmon.

The newcomers and eight returning players will kick off the season with a bang. The Stars’ 14th season as a program will start with an exhibition game against the Illini Nov. 8 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. It is the first meeting between the schools. “It’s a huge step up in competition for us,” Walker said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be a game that doesn’t count on either team’s record, but is going to be a really good experience, especially for our in-state guys.”

This article appeared in The State Journal Register on July 8, 2015.

Read the entire article here.