East St. Louis High basketball star Terrence Hargrove Jr. can easily rattle off the names of the Division I programs that have offered him a scholarship.
That should become more of a challenge for the talented 6-foot-7 junior as the pace of recruiting gains steam in the next year to year and a half.
Hargrove, who averaged 13.4 points and 10.9 rebounds as a sophomore last season, is a combination guard/forward who’s lethal in the open court. Illinois State, Saint Louis University and Missouri have made offers.
“It’s going along good,” Hargrove said of the recruiting process. “I just recently heard from Michigan; they’re supposed to come down here and watch me play open gym. Hopefully, they’re going to recruit me. So I’ve been hearing a lot from them (I have) my same offers: Illinois State, SLU and Mizzou. I’m just waiting on more offers to come.”
Missouri, coached by East St. Louis native Cuonzo Martin, made its offer to Hargrove about three weeks ago. The Tigers photo-shopped a uniform on Hargrove and put it on Twitter.
“I was shocked,” said Hargrove, 16, a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com. “I was in class and was just doing my work. I checked my phone and they showed me that picture. I kind of liked it. The uniform kind of looked good.”
Althoff High graduate Jordan Goodwin, meanwhile, is a freshman at Saint Louis University.
Hargrove, like fellow 6-7 junior EJ Liddell, who plays at Belleville West and has dozens of offers to consider, isn’t in a hurry to make a commitment. He said he isn’t likely to make a decision until at least midway through his senior year. For the time being, he’s enjoying the relationships that are being established with the coaches.
“It’s been good,” said Hargrove, the son of Terrence and Tracy Hargrove. “The more offers I get makes me want to work harder in my craft. I just work hard in the gym. I come in for conditioning every day after school and try to lead my team, because this is a big year for me. I have to step up and be that leader, a big voice on the court.”
Hargrove knows he has room to improve.
“My handles and my jump shot are what I’m working on now,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure everything is down pat and I’m ready to go this season.”
Hargrove considers himself a guard.
“People see me as an undersize forward,” he said. “That’s going to change this year because I’m really a guard. I’m the height of a guard in college, so I’m going to play my position as a guard. That’s why I’m working on my jump shot, my handles and my combo moves.”
Hargrove’s parents emphasize academics and have always made it clear to him that if he doesn’t maintain good grades, he won’t play basketball.
“No grades, no basketball. I go by that rule every day,” Hargrove said. “I refuse for my mom and dad to take the basketball away from me. So I make sure I work as hard as I can in class to maintain my grades and my GPA. Then I don’t have to worry about them saying, ‘You can’t do this because of your grades.’ It’s student-athlete. Student comes first.”
Hargrove, an ‘A’ and ‘B’ student, is thankful his parents take such an interest in him.
“They play a big role in my life,” he said. “They’re always at my games; they support me. I look up to them. They take care of me and my little brother very well. I was raised right. They make me want to be a bigger person and be something in life.
“The No. 1 key is to stay humble. Stay humble and work hard: That’s what I go by every day.”
Hargrove jokes that his dad “can’t even get me to stay in the house and rest.”
“I just love being in the gym. I like working hard to keep getting better,” he said.
Hargrove also relies on his AAU coach, Britt Booker, who leads the Hoopville Warriors.
“I go to him to talk about a lot of things,” Hargrove said. “He’s like my second father. He’s a second voice I can go to. We have a very close relationship.”
New East St. Louis coach Stetson Hairston, a 2000 graduate of Belleville East who played at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is eager to work with Hargrove and watch the escalation of the recruiting. Hairston replaced Phillip Gilbert, who coached two seasons at East Side.
“He passes the eye test,” Hairston said of Hargrove. “He’s 6-7, long arms, broad shoulders. Then when you watch him play, he runs like a deer and he’s a great athlete. If you leave him open, he can knock down shots. He can also knock down shots with people in his face. This year, he’s going to be able to show what he can really do.”
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm