CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University men's basketball coach Chris Lowery unveiled the program's 2006 recruiting class on Wednesday, signing a trio of high school seniors.
Lowery received official letters of intent from 6-foot-8 forward Carlton Fay (Putnam County H.S./Granville, Ill.), 6-foot-11 center Nick Evans (Red Hill H.S./Bridgeport, Ill.) and 6-foot-3 guard Brandon Wood (Kokomo H.S./Kokomo, Ill.).
Fay (6-8, 230) was the most sought-after recruiting prize. The Salukis won his services over programs such as Wisconsin, Xavier, Vanderbilt and Nebraska, plus a host of Missouri Valley Conference schools.
"He's that blue-chip recruit that you need in each class to continue your success," Lowery said.
Last year, Fay averaged 20.2 ppg and 9.7 rpg and was named first-team all-state by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. The Peoria Journal-Star's player-of-the-year is already Putnam County's career scoring leader with 1,378 points. He helped lead his team to a 27-5 record in 2006 and the Class A sectionals.
"He comes in ready to play, physically, mentally and skill-wise," Lowery said. "He's ready to play as an incoming freshman."
Lowery hopes that Evans (6-11, 245), who is the tallest high school recruit to sign with Southern since 7-footer Shane Wells did so in 1993, turns out to be a late bloomer.
A product of home schooling, Evans played his first year of organized basketball last season and averaged 11.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, and 3.0 bpg. He helped lead Red Hill to a 19-9 record.
"Nick hasn't scratched the surface of how good he's going to be," Lowery said. "He has huge potential with his size and ability to run. He has a good skill package to work with."
Evans recently moved to the Carbondale area with his mom and will play for Carbondale High School this year.
Wood (6-3, 180), who received interest from Wisconsin, Ohio, Evansville and others, can score in a variety of ways, according to Lowery.
"He can score off the bounce, plus he can really shoot the ball from the perimeter," Lowery said. "Taking Joshua Bone last year, and taking Wood helps us stretch and extend the defense."
Wood averaged 19.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 3.0 spg last year for a Kokomo team that finished 10-11. He is also an outstanding student, who posted a 1400 on the SAT.