East St. Louis High School's Deshawn Munson has the potential to be a Division I basketball player.
Iowa Western Community College coach Jim Morris hopes he and the Reivers' coaching staff can get Munson playing at that level.
Morris on Friday confirmed Iowa Western's signing of Munson, who averaged 17.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game last season for the Flyers. Iowa Western is located in Council Bluffs.
Morris said he plans to play the 6-foot, 4-inch Munson at point guard. Iowa Western has a history of developing Division I points guards, including Derwin Kitchen (Florida State), Lloyd Phillips (Illinois State) and Devin Brooks (Creighton).
"He's got some work to do to become a point guard, but he has good skills, he's strong and he's physical. He does some good things," said Morris, who guided Iowa Western to a 32-3 record last season and a berth in the NJCAA Tournament's Elite Eight.
"He sees the floor and passes the ball well," Morris said. "He's got a chance to be a (good) point guard. That's what we recruited him as. I saw him play a couple of times and he played very, very well."
Iowa Western graduated its starting point guard, Brooks, who averaged 15.9 points and is the Reivers' career assists leader.
Morris acknowledged Munson, a News-Democrat first-team all-area pick in Class 3A-4A as a senior, will be a bit of a project. Munson is gifted athletically, but fundamentally, he isn't yet sound.
"He doesn't shoot the ball very well," Morris said. "He doesn't have a good-looking shot. We'll have to change his shot. But his athleticism and his ability to get into the lane will be really good (assets) for him.
"He's got a lot of upside to him just on physical ability, and he has a good understanding of how to play. But he's got to get to where he jumps up and knocks down the 17-footer. He's not capable of doing that yet."
Watching Munson shoot, Morris said he wasn't certain whether he was left-handed or right-handed.
"He pops his elbow straight out and the hand comes on the other side of his face," Morris said, adding that "time and repetition" is what Munson needs the most to refine the shot.
"There's not a lot wrong with it other than that he pops the elbow out," Morris said. "That leaves the ball at the other side of his head. (But) it rotates off his finger well. That's good. It comes out of his hands well.
"I think if he improves his shot and gets to where he's a capable shooter, he can play some high-major basketball. (Munson's shot) is going to have to change to get him to that level."
Morris likes Munson's demeanor on the floor. He recalled watching Munson being harassed at all points of the floor during one game.
"They were all over him and he didn't change his expression," Morris said. "I really liked his temperament on the floor."
Morris said expectations and demands are high for Iowa Western players. Given the success of the program, if a player is unable to measure up, another is ready to take his spot.
"We are very strict," Morris said. "I've been doing this a long time and we don't put up with a lot of stuff. (Players) have to do it our way or it's the highway."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.