At a small press conference on Tuesday to announce that he would be attending and playing basketball at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Metro East Lutheran senior Teddy Fifer had no response when asked if he considered attending another other schools.
But SWIC coach Jay Harrington did.
“We got on him (Fifer) early as a player we wanted to be in our basketball program,’’ Harrington said. “He can really shoot the basketball, but even more important is that he’s a scorer. He’s also a very good defender and Teddy is just a tremendous kid who comes from a great family.
“We feel Teddy can come in and be a big part of this basketball program during the next two years.”
Fifer, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 20 points for a Knights squad which won 26 games and was ranked among the top 10 Class 1A teams in the state for much of the ‘15-16 season. Fifer said he was impressed by the SWIC program.
“I think its a good fit for me. I’ve seen them (SWIC) play on You Tube and I like the way they play in an up-tempo with a lot of screens and pick-and-rolls,” Fifer said. “I really didn’t look at any other schools. Coach (Harrington) has been there (SWIC) for 35 years and I know if I come in and do what I can and am supposed to do, I’ll have the opportunity to move on to a four-year school.
“SWIC’s got a great program and tradition. Plus its close to home so my family can come and watch me play. I’m really happy about that.”
Fifer is the second top local guard to sign with SWIC in the last week. East St. Louis senior Kenny Roberson signed with SWIC last Friday. The Blue Storm, which won 27 games this past season, is in the midst of a major reloading job. Harrington plans on bringing in 14 new players to the SWIC program for next year.
Because of the major overhaul, Harrington isn’t sure if Fifer will see more playing time at the shooting guard or point guard spot.
“It depends on who else we bring into the program,” Harrington said. “I’m confident that Teddy can play both the off and shooting guard positions. I’m not a coach who has a system in place and recruits players to fit that style of play. I adjust my system to the types of players and athletes that we bring in each year.”
And in Fifer, Harrington has a lightning quick guard who is a very good perimeter shooter and can penetrate and take the ball to the basket as well. But Fifer knows he must continue to improve.
“I think I can handle and shoot the basketball well,” Fifer said. “I know I’ve got to become stronger and more physical and I need to improve on my decision making.
“I really don’t have a preference where I play. Whether it be the point guard or off guard, it doesn’t matter. Wherever they need me to play.”