The major overhauling of the Southwestern Illinois College men’s basketball program continued this weekend with the announcement that Jaalan Hill from Louisville, Ky., has signed for the 2016-17 season.
Hill, a 6-foot-6 small forward who was an all-district and all-region player while starring at Wagner High School, is the seventh player Blue Storm coach Jay Harrington has signed for the upcoming season as he looks to restock the Blue Storm talent from a team that won 27 games a year ago.
Hill scored nearly 900 points, pulled down more than 450 rebounds and had nearly 100 blocked shots during his career at Wagner, a perennial power in the basketball-crazed Louisville area.
“He’s 6-6, but he’s got the wingspan of a player 7-foot-2 and he can jump out of the gym,’’ Harrington said. “He’s a player who can take if to the basket, step out and hit the 3-point jumper, and he’s not afraid to get in and rebound with bigger players. Jaalan has a chance to be a big time player.
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“I saw him play at a showcase and we’ve been on him for a long time. It came down to us and Vincennes (University) and so we feel very fortunate that he has decided to play here. On top of being a good basketball player, he’s a great kid. THE kind of kid we love having in our basketball program.’’
The signing of Hill gives the Blue Storm seven players in its 2016-17 recruiting class. Harrington still has six players to sign.
“We’ve got two weeks left in school and I would really like to have three or four kids signed by that time. We’re looking and we’ve got some players we’re interested in and kids who are interested in attending SWIC. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the next couple of weeks. But as of right now, we like everyone of our recruits. We feel each of them will be vaulable additions to our program and our school as student-athletes.’’
Galbreath, three others sign
Explosive sophomore forward Chris Galbreath, a first team all-Great Rivers Athletic Conference and All-Region 24 selection this past season at SWIC, has signed to attend Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, beginning in the 2016-17 season.
Galbreath, who averaged 13 points and nine rebounds for a Blue Storm team that won 27 games and advanced to the NJCAA Region 24 title game, is the second player from this team to sign an NCAA Division I scholarship offer.
Former Alton star De’Antae McMurray signed with Drake University in March.
“It’s a great fit for Chris and we think he’ll do a great job there,’’ Harrington said. “I know they (Sam Houston) coaches are excited about his potential to come in and play right away. In our open gyms that we’re having right now, Chris may be the best player. He’s just playing very well.”
In addition to Galbreath, Harrington has also announced that LaRoyce Eason and Dez Marshall have signed with the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) and that Dorian Butler has given a verbal commitment to attend the University of California at San Bernadino.