Is SIUE Ready to Step Up?
PART ONE – PREVIEWING SIUE
(St. Louis, MO) – College basketball coaches often say the third year of a coach’s tenure is the season when you get a realistic view of where the program is headed. Southern Illinois Edwardsville head coach Jon Harris begins his third season at the helm of Cougar basketball this year.
Harris’ recruiting class is his largest. It contains EIGHT players AND the Cougars have added SIZE and STRENGTH. The Cougars won just six games last season, but were more competitive than in Harris’ first six-win season.
The Edwardsville native says his incoming group includes three players that learned the SIUE system while sitting out last season, four incoming transfers and one true freshman. Harris believes his team will have depth and sorely needed scoring ability, and while he won’t change his coaching style, he thinks his team will be able to play more quickly and will add some pressure defense to their arsenal.
Harris’ team will have the depth to do the kinds of things they need to do to be competitive in the Ohio Valley Conference. While Harris is in his third season at SIUE he says it is hard to get a read on the OVC because of the members’ liberal use of transfers.
With an improved roster, Harris has upgraded the schedule too. Games against Purdue, Creighton, Valparaiso and Central Michigan high light the challenge before the former Marquette star and his team. Harris believes an imposing non-conference schedule will help prepare his team for the rigors of OVC play. Last year’s squad earned its only conference victory on the final day of the regular season.
In Part Two, we’ll learn more about the newest Cougars and how coach Harris hopes to use his new weapons.