Blue Storm adds to its backcourt depth

News-DemocratApril 26, 2013 

— Earlier this week Southwestern Illinois College men's basketball coach Jay Harrington said he had four potential freshman recruits he was looking at to play guard for the Blue Storm next season.

That list is down to three.

Harrington announced Thursday that Class 4A Missouri player of the year Vashawn Ruffin from Sikeston, Mo., has signed to attend SWIC, beginning in the 2013-14 season.

The 5-foot, 10-inch Ruffin was a four-year starter at Sikeston, where he led his team to the state quarterfinals each season. Sikeston won the Class 4A state title in 2011, when it finished 30-0 and placed third this past season, when it finished 27-3.

Ruffin made the transition from shooting guard to point guard this season, but still averaged 16.5 points and 6.6 assists per game.

"He (Ruffin) was the MVP in the second highest class in the state of Missouri. What does that tell you?'' Harrington said. "The kid can really play. He's quick, plays good defense, he can shoot the basketball and he can shoot it from beyond the 3-point line. He shot 40 percent from out there.

"But what really impresses me more than anything else is that he comes from a great family and his high school team finished 101-12 in his four years. That tells me that on and off the basketball court, Vashawn Ruffin is a winner.''

Ruffin is the newest member of what could be one of Harrington's best recruiting classes at SWIC.

The Blue Storm also have signed Cahokia all-stater Keenan Minor, Falando Wilkinson of Collinsville, Hunter Reine from Roxana, Kyle Lemons from Francis Howell North and Corvon Butler from Champaign Centennial earlier this spring.

A first team all-state selection the last two years, Ruffin joins a loaded Blue Storm backcourt, which is full of superb perimeter shooters.

However, with the possibility that Alton graduate Jaquail Townser and former Central all-state selection Brandon Book may look to move on to NCAA Division I programs and Luke Norman is returning from back surgery, Harrington continues to look to add top offensive players.

"We're going to be putting up some 3s. We've got some kids who can really shoot the basketball,'' Harrington said. "We're going to go back to relying more on quickness.''

Harrington added that SWIC is still interested in of first team all-state selection DeShawn Munson of East St. Louis.

"We've got four scholarships left and if Deshawn Munson wants to attend SWIC, we would love to have him,'' Harrington said. "We've got some (Division I) four-year programs helping us and we're still looking for kids we feel would be great additions as student-athletes at Southwestern Illinois College.''

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