McKendree University men’s basketball coach Chris Foster announced the addition of two local high school standouts who will join the Bearcats next season.
Edwardsville’s Oliver Stephen of Edwardsville and Luke Hensler from Okawville, each made their way to McKendree via Southwestern Illinois College.
Bryson Bultman, a Nashville senior and BND small-school player of the year, was among the program’s early signees. Wendell DeMyers from Avon High School in Indianapolis is the fourth member of the recruiting class.
As a sophomore at SWIC, Stephen averaged 13 points per game. He shot 57.4 percent from the field for the Blue Storm. Stephen was a threat from behind the arc, connecting on 52.4 percent of his tries and leading the team with 87 three-point baskets. Stephen also shot nearly 88 percent from the free throw line and chipped in 3.1 rebounds per game.
A member of the 1,000-point club at Edwardsville High School, the 6-foot-4 Stephen averaged 13.5 points per game as a senior for the Tigers. He set a school record with 114 three-pointers during his senior year, hitting just under 60 percent of his attempts. Stephen earned All-Conference honors twice at Edwardsville, including first-team accolades as a senior.
“Oliver is an elite shooter and proven winner,” said Foster. “He is a natural leader and someone who will impact our program immediately. Oliver was a top 10 three-pointer shooter in the entire NJCAA last season, and he brings great shooting range and accuracy to our program.”
Hensler appeared in 29 games last season at SWIC, shooting 50 percent from the field and made 70 percent of his attempts from the foul line.
Playing for former McKendree standout Jon Kraus at Okawville High School, the 6-foot-8 Hensler registered 14.7 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots per game as a senior for the Rockets. He netted a career-high 31 points during his final season at Okawville, which concluded with an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 1A state championship.
In his final season at Okawville, Hensler was named Area Small School Player of the Year by the Belleville News-Democrat, and was an All-State honoree. Hensler also received All-South accolades and was selected to participate in the Southern Illinois All-Star Game.
“Luke is a versatile big man with the ability to make perimeter shots,” said Foster. “His size will provide us rim protection on the defensive end and his ability to knock down shots will make him a tough matchup in our motion.”