In the midst of assembling another strong recruiting class, Southwestern Illinois College men's basketball coach Jay Harrington has signed yet another big time prospect -- very big.
Harrington announced Monday that Mat Piotrowski, a 7 foot 1 1/2 inch sophomore from Port Republic, N.J., has signed and will be a member of the Blue Storm in the 2012-13 season.
The son of former LaSalle University All-American and NBA player Tom Piotrowski, the younger Piotrowski attended Boston University last season, where he saw limited playing time for the Terriers.
At SWIC, Piotrowski will team with 6-11 sophomore Keanu Post to give the Blue Storm the tallest front court in the nation.
"He's 7-1 1/2 with flip-flops on, with shoes, he's more like 7-3,'' Harrington said. "Every kid who comes to school here needs to work things. Part of my job is to help develop those areas that need work and then help these young men move on to the next level.
"I've been told that Mat, in individual workouts, has great skills, but he didn't get a lot of game time or even practice time at Boston U. He needs to play in a five-on-five format. He just needs someone to believe in him. I believe in him.''
Harrington also announced that Steve McNeece, a 6-7 forward from Rockford East and former Edwardsville standout Brendan Wheeler have said they will play for the Blue Storm in the upcoming season.
Harrington said Piotrowski is a mobile 270-pound athlete who can run the floor well and has the ability to step out and shoot the 3-point jumper.
"He can really shoot the basketball and I've been told that he's also a great passer,'' Harrington said. "He's a big kid who can get up and down the floor well, but who needs work on his lateral movement.
"The fact that we have Keanu and Mat will change the way we play this year. I think you'll see us run a lot more of a halfcourt offense."
McNeece is a 6-7 athlete who averaged 15 points for Rockford East this past season, while Wheeler, a 2010 graduate of Edwardsville, was one of the area's top players. The 6-4 Wheeler is a tremendous shooter who goes to the basket well.
"We're very excited to have both Steve and Brendan join our program. They give us two more very athletic players who can get up and down the court and shoot the basketball,'' Harrington said.
"We're excited about our team. If you look at what we've got coming back and the kids we have coming in this season, we're very strong. But it's going to depend on how the kids get along, how they gel as a unit and team chemistry. On paper, we're very good.''
Contract reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.