College Sports

SWIC signs New York City basketball player

At last, the end of the longest and most challenging recruiting season in the coaching career of Jay Harrington may be coming to an end.

Continuing his search from coast-to-coast to land some of the top basketball players in the nation, Harrington announced on Tuesday that New York City product Sekou Sangare has signed a scholarship offer and will attend and play at Southwestern Illinois College during the 2016-17 season.

Sangare is a 6-foot-4 combination small forward/shooting guard who played at Monroe College in New York City and will have one year of eligibility at SWIC.

The signing of Sangare gives SWIC 12 players on its roster for next season. Harrington still has three scholarships to fill and on Tuesday was busy working the phones with coaches and contacts throughout the nation in hopes of landing talented players.

“I’ve got seven players I’m juggling (looking at) right now,’’ Harrington said. “We’re still looking for another shooter, a small forward and another big kid.

“Do I like what I see with these kids? Talent wise, we have a lot of ability. But when we’re done, we’ll have 14-15 new kids, with a lot of freshmen. That’s a lot of new players who have never played college basketball to start the season with.’’

A raw talent

Harrington heard of Sangore through former St. John’s University assistant coach and assistant athletic director Carmine Calzonetti. Calzonetti was an assistant when St. John’s was a power in the Big East Conference and had players such as Chris Mullin.

“We’ve been good friends for a long time and I trust Carmine’s judgment. He called me one day not to long ago and told me that Sekou was a kid we should take a long look at,’’ Harrington said. “He’s an athlete and he’s left-handed with the sweetest shooting stroke you would ever want to see.

“Sekou didn’t play a lot of high school basketball but he has played AAU. We’re taking a chance with him. He hasn’t had a lot of coaching and the big question with him is how will he adapt and respond to how we want and need him to play.’’

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean