Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Local recruits bring new energy to UIS men’s basketball

2016-17 RECORDS: 9-18 overall; 4-14 in Great Lakes Valley Conference

A LOOK BACK AT LAST SEASON: Injuries plagued UIS throughout the season. The biggest injury was to redshirt sophomore forward Bahari Amaya. He tore an anterior cruciate ligament in a knee two games in, but is cleared to play this season after rehabbing from surgery. The Prairie Stars’ playing rotation last year included one senior (Paxton Harmon) and one junior (Eddie Longmeyer). The other players were freshmen and sophomores. Longmeyer scored a team-high 14.3 points per game and 4 assists per game. The Stars’ other returning double-digit scorers are junior guard Vince Walker (11.6 ppg) and junior center Zach Steinberg (11.1 ppg). Steinberg averaged a team-leading 8 rebounds per game and collected eight double-doubles. Walker hit a team-high 66 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Lijah Donnelly averaged 8.9 ppg and 2.8 apg and started 15 games last season. Sophomore forward Kaj Days made 13 starts.

STANDING OUT: Look at a UIS roster and the names of two local players jump out. Freshman guard Andrae Williams and freshman forward Collin Stallworth are the first UIS players from the area since the 2010-11 season. Williams scored 12.4 ppg for Lanphier High School, which placed fourth at the Class 3A state tournament. Stallworth was a star two-sport athlete at Rochester High. He ranked second in the Central State Eight Conference with 8.4 rpg and averaged 12 points. They could join the list of current players who saw considerable playing time as freshmen. Junior guard Logan Gonce, sophomore forward Brandon Van Sant, Amaya, Walker, Steinberg, Days and Donnelly played regularly in as freshmen.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2017.

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