The transfer of junior guard Tarkus Ferguson from Cahokia High to Althoff High this summer added another potential Division I player to a team that now has three and a fourth whose best sport in football.
The 6-foot-3 Ferguson was tied for third-leading scorer at Cahokia last season as a sophomore, averaging 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. His 32 3-pointers were tied for second on the team.
"I hope he does to others what he did to me -- hitting shots, making big steals, those types of things," said Althoff coach Greg Leib, whose 20-10 squad lost to Ferguson's Cahokia squad in the Class 3A regional final. "Tarkus is a very athletic kid and anticipates well in the passing lanes. He shoots the ball well, rebounds it and handles it.
"He also has an understanding of passing the basketball and knows where people are, getting them the ball so they can score."
Althoff lost only one starter from last season in senior guard Kevin Renner. Returning are junior Division I prospect Brendon Gooch, sophomore Division I prospect Jordan Goodwin and senior Ricky Edwards.
Leib got a taste for coaching all that talent during the summer after Ferguson's transfer was approved by the Illinois High School Association. This will be the third high school in three school years for Ferguson, who transferred from Belleville West to Cahokia after his freshman season.
"(Tarkus) grew up with Keenen Young in grade school and of course he knows Gooch and Goodwin and Rick," Leib said. "We anticipate and hope that it's a harmonious transition for him and don't expect anything else."
Goodwin and Ferguson both play for the St. Louis Eagles AAU teams, but are on different squads because of the age difference.
Ferguson's overall ability may be his strong suit, according to Leib.
"He's been maybe labeled as strictly a jump-hooter but he's extremely athletic," Leib said. "He's very athletic and he can get to the hole. Defensively he does an excellent job of putting himself in good help position and can get in the passing lanes if an errant pass is made."
Leib said Gooch already has scholarship offers from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, San Jose State and Western Illinois with a lot of other interest.
Leib said Goodwin is attracting some mid-level and high Division I interest and Ferguson is headed in the same direction.
"I told them all the time having a team like this can be tough," said Leib, whose team has remained in the Class 3A playoffs this season. "But I think there can be a different guy every night that leads the way -- and that's got be the approach. The guys did a very good job this summer and I anticipate it much the same during the season.
"The daily competitiveness will make them better players and should make us a stronger team."
Leib also confirmed that both Goodwin and Ferguson have joined the Althoff football team and will be playing for the first time in high school.
Both are lining up at receiver and could see time on defense as well.
"Jordan may not be the best because he's never played football, but he'll compete in every drill he does and will raise their expectation level in practice," Leib said.
Young is a potential Division I prospect as a receiver or defensive back who helped Althoff to a second-place finish in 2A as a freshman.