College Sports

Local basketball players ready to begin their college seasons

Former East St. Louis big man Jeremiah Tilmon is part of a much-heralded freshman class at Missouri.
Former East St. Louis big man Jeremiah Tilmon is part of a much-heralded freshman class at Missouri. BND Photo

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons are rapidly approaching.

Following is a list of metro-east players on rosters of local colleges and Illinois Division I universities.

Illinois men

Mark Smith, an Edwardsville High graduate who was Mr. Basketball in Illinois as a senior, was the Illini’s No. 1 recruit and is expected to make an impact as a freshman.

Smith, a 6-foot-4 guard, scored 15 points in Illinois’ 80-67 loss at Eastern Illinois in an exhibition game Friday.

The Illini open the regular season with a game against Southern at 7 p.m. Friday at State Farm Center in Champaign. The game is part of the Global Sports Invitational. Illinois will play Tennessee-Martin at 5 p.m. Sunday in the second game of the tournament.

Smith, the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year last season, was also the News-Democrat’s Large-School Player of the Year. He averaged 21.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists, also making 44 3-pointers, as Edwardsville finished 30-2.

Brad Underwood is in his first season as the Illini coach.

Illinois women

Addaya Moore, a 5-11 guard who graduated from Granite City, is one of four freshmen on the team, which is being led by first-year coach Nancy Fahey.

Fahey joined the Illini after a stellar career at Division III Washington University, where she won 737 games and five national championships.

She will try to work similar magic at Illinois, which opens its season Friday with a 1 p.m. home game against Fort Wayne.

Moore averaged 21.5 points and 8.4 rebounds as a senior at Granite City. Her dad, Gerard, is the new boys basketball coach at Granite City. Her brother, Zeke, transferred from Saint Louis University to Tennessee Tech and will sit out this season.

Former Althoff start Jordan Goodwin tips off his college career at Saint Louis University Saturday. BND Photo

Saint Louis University men

Freshman Jordan Goodwin, an Althoff High School graduate, scored 15 points in the Billikens’ 68-51 exhibition victory over Harris-Stowe on Saturday.

Goodwin, a two-time News-Democrat Large-School Player of the Year, signed with the Billikens over Northwestern, Illinois, Alabama, Missouri, Butler and Creighton.

The 6-3, 215-pound Goodwin, who has recovered from shoulder surgery, set a career scoring record at Althoff with 2,324 points.

SLU, coached by Travis Ford, opens its season at 7 p.m. Friday against visiting Seattle at Chaifetz Arena. The Billikens figure to greatly improve on last season, when they were just 12-21 overall and 6-12 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Central Cougars all-time leading scorer Kendra Wilken will begin her second season at Saint Louis U. BND Photo

Saint Louis University women

The Billikens have three local players on their roster: senior Aaliyah Covington (Edwardsville), redshirt senior Paige Rakers (Carlyle) and sophomore Kendra Wilken (Central).

The 5-11 Covington averaged 7.6 points last season, while the 5-11 Rakers averaged 5.1 points and 6-2 Wilken averaged 6.3 points. All played in 19 games off the bench.

SLU, which was 25-9 overall and 12-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference last year, tips off its season at 6 p.m. Friday at Indiana State.

Missouri men

Jeremiah Tilmon, a 6-10, 252-pound freshman, averaged 15.3 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks last season for the East St. Louis Flyers.

Tilmon originally committed to Illinois, but decommitted and signed with the Tigers, who are coached by East St. Louis native Cuonzo Martin.

Missouri is expected to be one of the most improved teams in the Southeastern Conference after finishing 8-24 and 2-16 last year. Missouri’s hopes were elevated by the signings of brothers Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay Porter.

SIU Edwardsville men

Brandon Jackson is a 6-7 sophomore from East St. Louis who played at Cardinal Ritter High in Missouri.

Jackson played in all 30 of the Cougars’ games last season and averaged three points and 2.5 rebounds. SIUE, coached by Edwardsville High graduate Jon Harris, was 6-24 overall and 1-15 in the Ohio Valley Conference last season.

The Cougars defeated Brescia, an NAIA opponent, 95-75 in an exhibition game Sunday at the Vadalabene Center. They will open the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Purdue.

Jackson had 12 points and six rebounds in the exhibition game.

Civic Memorial product and BND Player of the Year currently is a freshman at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. BND Photo

SIU Edwardsville women

Redshirt senior Lauren White (Edwardsville), sophomore Jordi Harre (Nashville) and freshman Allie Troeckler (Civic Memorial) are with the Cougars.

The 5-10 Troeckler was the News-Democrat’s Class 3A-4A Player of the Year last season after becoming the career scoring leader at Civic Memorial with 2,677 points.

SIUE was 14-17 overall and 9-7 in the OVC last year. The Cougars, who lost to visiting Missouri-St. Louis 58-55 in an exhibition game Friday, will play at Nebraska at 3 p.m. Saturday in their season opener.

The Cougars are led by sixth-year coach Paula Buscher.

Former Althoff star Brendan Gooch is a redshirt freshman at Southern Illinois Carbondale. BND Photo

SIU Carbondale men

Edwardsville graduate Armon Fletcher is a 6-5 junior with the Salukis, while Althoff graduate Brendon Gooch is a 6-5 redshirt freshman.

Fletcher averaged 11.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 2016-17 as the Salukis finished 17-16 overall and 9-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Gooch averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds as a senior at Althoff in 2016, helping the Crusaders win the Class 3A state championship. He made 40 3-pointers.

SIUC, coached by Barry Hinson, will open its season at 6 p.m. Friday at Winthrop.

SIU Carbondale women

Freshman guard Makenzie Silvey joins the Salukis after a stellar career career at Edwardsville High, where she averaged 15.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists, with 72 3-pointers.

The 5-11 Silvey was named a first-team all-stater last season. She finished with 1,563 points at Edwardsville.

SIUC has another Edwardsville graduate on its roster in 6-1 redshirt forward Criste’on Waters, who averaged 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds as a senior in 2015-16.

Cindy Stein is in her fifth season as the Salukis’ coach. SIUC opens the season at 6 p.m. Friday at Tennessee-Martin.

McKendree men

Mater Dei graduate Nolan Gerling is back for his sophomore season. The 6-10 Gerling averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds last year when the Bearcats finished 9-17 overall and 3-15 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Nashville High graduate Noah Pedtke and Mascoutah High graduate Noah Brandon also are on McKendree’s roster.

McKendree is coached by Harry Statham, in his 52nd season.

The Bearcats lost to Murray State 98-82 in an exhibition game last Thursday. They will play host to Principia in their season opener at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Illinois-Chicago men

Althoff graduate Tarkus Ferguson is back for his sophomore season with the Flames.

Ferguson started all 36 games for UIC last year and averaged 11.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists as the Flames were 17-19 overall and 7-11 in the Horizon League. Ferguson made 51 3-pointers.

UIC will open its season at 7 p.m. Friday against visiting North Carolina Central. The Flames are coached by Steve McClain.

Southwestern Illinois men

Longtime coach Jay Harrington has seven local players on his roster in his Tra’ron Allen (Granite City), Oliver Stephen (Edwardsville), Kenny Roberson (East St. Louis), Trevor Davis (Gibault), Jack Richards (Red Bud) and Will Berger (Freeburg).

Lindenwood-Belleville women

Senior Torre Kohrmann (Central) and Leeah Jason (Edwardsville) are on the Lynx roster.

David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm