SIUE – Increased Firepower
SIUE PREVIEW – PART TWO
(St. Louis, MO) – Increased firepower is the order of the day at SIUE. Head coach Jon Harris’ teams at Southern Illinois Edwardsville never lack effort, but during his first two seasons they’re struggle to score has hindered their ability to win tight games. The third-year coach believes this season’s squad will score with more regularity.
There are eight new players on the Cougar roster. Three players that sat out last season, four transfers and one true freshman will wear the red and black and Harris believes each of them can play a significant role in the Cougar renaissance.
The three players that sat out, Julian Torres, Kevion Stewart and Bill Awet have the luxury of knowing more about the program and how coach Harris expects players to perform and practice. Torres played his freshman season at UIC and is from Bolingbrook, Illinois. Awet who is from Sydney, Australia (but is Sudanese) and Stewart (Memphis) are red-shirt freshmen.
Harris says there experience gives them an advantage in contributing early in the season.
The transfers are particularly strong on the wings, and Harris’ newcomers are expected to contribute on the offensive end. Three of the players, Daniel Kinchen, David McFarland and Jaylen McCoy led their junior college teams in scoring. True freshman D.J. Jackson averaged 23 points-per game during his high school senior season.
Harris, says these newcomers will bring valuable offensive experience to a team that averaged just 68 points per game.
With more offensive ability on the roster, Harris plans on allowing his players have more flexibility offensively and the Cougars plan on playing a more uptempo game. The former Edwardsville Tiger played prep playoff games at Vadalabene Center and believes it can be a great environment for basketball and that the SIUE program can climb into a special place both in campus life and as a competitive OVC team.
In Part One of this three-part interview, coach Harris discussed changes in the SIUE program. In Part Three, we touch on some wide ranging subjects, like Cuonzo Martin’s return to the midwest and how Harris helps his players navigate the changes in society.