Salukis add forward Amadou Fall of Senegal to Class of 2018


CARBONDALE, IL. — Southern Illinois has signed 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward Amadou Fall to a National Letter of Intent, head coach Barry Hinson announced on Wednesday.

A native of Senegal, Fall will play a post-graduate year in 2017-18 at St. Louis Christian Academy and will be a freshman at Southern next fall. He has spent the last two years at SEED Academy in Africa. Launched in 2002, the SEED Academy is the first basketball student-athlete academy in Africa. Up to 40 high potential student-athletes, boys and girls, live, train and work towards achieving their goal of attending university.

“Every once in a while as a college basketball coach, you’re able to find someone that no one else knows about,” said SIU head coach Barry Hinson. “We discovered Amadou, literally, a week or two after he arrived in the States.”

Fall is the seventh foreign-born player Hinson has signed during his six seasons at SIU and the fifth from Africa — the most recent being Bola Olaniyan (Nigeria), Ibby Djimde (Mali), Deng Leek (Sudan) and Thik Bol (Sudan).

“We’ve developed an African tradition of recruiting since I’ve been here,” Hinson said. “We’ve always had somebody from Africa on our squads as long as I’ve been here as a coach and we’ve had great success with these young men.”

Fall joins a 2018 recruiting class that also includes Carbondale High School point guard Darius Beane and Lincoln Way-East forward Sam Shafer, who both signed last week.

Pippen named MVC Newcomer of Week

By Tom Weber,


Southern Illinois junior center Kavion Pippen was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week, the league announced on Monday.

In his first career game at SIU, Pippen recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the team’s 81-66 win at Winthrop last Friday. He was 5-of-12 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, and added three blocked shots and two steals.

A nephew of NBA legend Scottie Pippen, Kavion is a 6-foot-10, 240-pound center who came to Southern after spending two seasons at Three Rivers Community College.

Allie Herron signs a letter of intent to play for St. Louis University

By Steve Dunford 

Offensively and defensively,  the few times I had the opportunity to play last spring, the question was not if Allie Herron was going to play at the next level, it was where she was.  The range as a middle infielder is what impressed me.

The FCHS senior signed a letter of intent to play softball for the St. Louis University Billikens.

She batted .471 with three home runs, seven doubles, six triples and a team-high 30 RBIs as a junior last season. She was named West Frankfort’s Most Valuable Player and Best Offensive Player. A starter since her freshman year, Herron has earned All-Conference accolades and was a participant in the Southern Illinois Select All-Star Game.

With the Southern Force travel team, Herron posted a .395 batting average, a .435 on-base percentage and 26 doubles in 36 league games. She led the team in RBIs and OBP. Academically, Herron has been in the FCHS Top 10 all four years, serves as a senior mentor and is a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club.

“Allie is a gamer who loves battling in competition and who plays the game aggressively,” Billikens coach Christy Connoyer said. “Her versatility at second base or at any outfield position plays to her competitiveness. Allie is a gap-to-gap hitter with run-producing ability.”  This was from a press release from SLU.

Herrin told me that schools that where looking at her as well that she considered were Eastern Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and Austin Peay.

Allie told me she is going to be a premed major.  Along with academics she said that Saint Louis, was away from home but close enough to come home.”

I also asked her about playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference and getting to travel to the east coast.  She said with a little excitement, “They fly to all of their conferences games, with the exception when they play Dayton.”

Good luck to you, and will look forward to watching you play this spring.

Link to article from West Frankfort Sports .com

Steve’s Cardinal Ramblings: Gincarlo Stanton…..don’t hold your breath

By Steve Dunford 

I have been asked this question several times over the last few days. Will the Cardinals acquire Gincarlo Stanton?  I will not believe it until the Cardinals call a press conference, and he has the a jersey with the birds on the bat slipped on over a suit and tie.

I have had a lot of conversations about this over the last week.  It seems like the Millennials or giddy about the possibility.  Most the old coots like me are pessimistic.

Here is what I see.  John Mozeliak (and he still calls the shots)  will go into the GM meetings and Winter Meetings, without his bow tie and be all relaxed acting.   Mo will then address the St. Louis media with a Christmas bow tie on after the winter meetings.  He will use a lot of words, asking questions, then answering his own questions.  He will explain supply and demand like an ECON 101 teacher.  All his words will be summed up into four words.  I didn’t do anything.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today says Stanton will end up in either San Francisco or St Louis.   Peter Gammons says the Cardinals and the Giants will be the most aggressive, but will he want to go there.  Buster Olney was pretty bearish

Last Friday night, there was a buzz on social media.  There was a website that proposed a trade.  It got to the points the Cardinals had a trade on the table.

What this guy proposed, I would take in the heart beat.  It had Stanton and Brad Zeigler coming to the Cardinals, in exchange for Alex Reyes, Randall Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz, and Sandy Alcantara.  If this had legs, I would no it in a minute.

In my view, there are very few untouchables on the Cardinal roster:  Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong, Tommy Pham, and Carlos Martinez.  If the deal is right to bring a bat to help, Stanton or not, I would trade anyone but these four.

If Stanton is not in a Cardinal uniform, a good consolation prize from the Marlins would be either Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna.

Prove me wrong Mo!!!!!!




Saluki Men’s Basketball turns up defensive pressure to pull away from Winthrop, 81-66

Saluki guard Sean Lloyd picking up a dunk in last night’s win against Winthorp. ( photo)


By Tom Weber –

ROCK HILL, S.C. — A bigger, stronger Southern Illinois team turned up the defensive pressure on Winthrop in the second half and pulled away for an impressive 81-66 win in the season opener for both schools on Friday night.

The Salukis (1-0) led 46-41 at halftime, but they ramped up the defensive intensity in the final 20 minutes, as the Eagles (0-1) ended up with more second-half turnovers (9) than baskets (7).

Southern had a size advantage at every position, which resulted in a 42-27 win on the boards. It was even more noticeable with the number of deflected passes and steals (11).

“We just got really stagnant and that’s a credit to their defense, their length,” said Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey. “They got out in passing lanes and tried to disrupt us a little bit. We played a little too much one-on-one. We didn’t have a lot of ball reversal and people movement. We got very, very stagnant.”

Two defenders in particular helped turn the tide for Southern — Sean Lloyd and Eric McGill. Between them they had seven steals.

Lloyd had a huge, momentum-changing theft late in the first half. The Salukis were leading, 40-39, and had almost relinquished an 11-point lead, when Lloyd swiped the ball from  Xavier Cooks in the back court and finished with a one-hand jam. The junior guard stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

McGill, a junior college transfer, came off the bench and recorded all three of his steals in the second half. Even better, he turned all three steals into buckets of his own. He had 12 points and was 5-of-7 from the field.

“He changed the game in the second half, but he changed the game on the defensive end,” said SIU head coach Barry Hinson. “They couldn’t get around him.”

The game looked like it would be a shoot-out in the first half, as baskets came easily for both clubs. The Salukis pounded the ball inside to 6-foot-10 center Kavion Pippen early, and he had his way against Winthrop’s smallish front line. Playing in his first Division I game, the juco transfer had 12 first-half points and 15 overall. He also had 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Pippen’s offensive put-back with 7:38 to go in the first half stretched SIU’s lead to 31-20.

“He’s an aircraft carrier,” said Kelsey. “He’s pretty agile for a kid his size. He’s a big, strong physical presence.”

The bulk of the minutes for SIU were distributed among seven players, and everyone had a hand in the victory. Junior guard Armon Fletcher showed no ill effects from an injury that kept him out of practice all week, as he scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds. Playing in his first game in more than a year, senior guard Tyler Smithpeters had nine points off the bench.

Jonathan Wiley only scored six points, but he did a solid job defending Cooks — Winthrop’s best player  — holding him to 14 points before fouling out. The Eagles ran much of their half-court offense through Cooks, and the wiry 6-foot-8 forward looked frustrated at times. He finished with seven turnovers.

“I felt like we frustrated him,” Hinson said. “He had to score most of his points off the free throw line. He was certainly a focal point for us.”

The Salukis scored 47 first-half points, the first time they’ve topped 40 in a first half since last year’s non-conference win at SIUE. They also shot 52 percent from the field on the night, including 7-of-17 from downtown, which helped them overcome 18 turnovers.

Winthrop lost three of its top four scorers from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, but Kelsey believed his team would shoot the ball better than it did tonight, especially from the perimeter where the Eagles were 4-of-16.

“They did a good job taking away our 3-point field goals,” Kelsey said. “The adjustments they made at halftime, they really put us in mud on offense. I think it came down to that physical challenge and we didn’t meet that.”

RLC Superfans get a shot at $1,500 Academic Award

By Reece Rutland 

INA, IL – Rend Lake College Athletics is excited to announce a new partnership effort between RLC Men’s and Women’s Basketball and the students of in-district high schools.

Warrior Superfan Days invites high school students to attend an RLC basketball games for free. Participating students are encouraged to wear apparel or jerseys representing their high school to represent their school while supporting the Warriors. Superfan Days are scheduled for the doubleheaders on Tuesday, November 21; Saturday, January 6; or Wednesday, January 17 in the James “Hummer” Waugh Gymnasium on the Ina campus.

In between the RLC Women’s and Men’s games, students can enter into a drawing to represent their school in the Warrior Challenge. Three students each night will attempt to make a lay-up, free throw, and 3-point shot in 30 seconds to win prizes. Those who are drawn will return on Saturday, February 17 for a winner-take-all half-court shot competition, and the winner will take home an Academic Award for 12 free credit hours at RLC – valued at $1,500.

Need more information? Contact the RLC Welcome Center at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1343 or

IHSA Class 3A Quarterfinals: #3 Anna Jonesboro (11-0) at #15 Vandalia (8-3)

By Steve Dunford

Along with the Herrin Tigers in 4A the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats are still standing in the playoffs as this is the Elite 8 Weekend.

A-J’ beat Hillsboro 22-8 in the first round of the plaoffs.  Last Saturday they defeated Pana 2-14.

The Vandals beat the Fairfield Mules at the Train Yard 41-14 in the first round.  Last Saturday they beat their conference rival the Greenville Comets 27-14.

Both Anna-Jonesboro’s opponents in the playoffs came out of the South Central Conference, which Vandalia is a member of.  In league play the Vandals beat Hillsboro 26-7 and lost to Pana 63-55 (that is not a misprint).

Here is what Vandalia Coach  Jason Clay told me about his team. “Offensively we try to spread the ball around. Sophomore Matthew Wells is our QB (1800 passing, 300 rushing, 26 TD’s).  Junior Running Back Trevor Smalls has over 2000 rushing and 29 TD’s.  Marcus Zimmerman is our leading receiver.”

“Defensively we are lead by three linebackers – Garett McNary, Chandler Boyd, and Zimmerman all of which are close to 100 tackles. I expect a very tough physical game. They run the ball very effectively and can throw when they need to. The option is tough to defend and our defense will really be tested. Defensively AJ really flies to the football so we will have to stay balanced on offense to try and move the football. We are excited to be hosting this quarterfinal game and look forward to a great football game.”

I talked to A-J Coach Brett Detering and here is what he had to say about the match-up with the Vandals.  “They are playing their best football right now.  They gave up a lot of points in the regular season, but they have held their opponents to to 14 in each playoff game.  They also had two TD’s called back against Greenville last week.”  

“They have hit their stride at the right time.  They have great size and one of the best running backs we have faced all year (Smalls), and that presents us some challenges.”  

“This is the best opponent we have played all year,  however, we have rose to the strength of our opponent.  I expect an excellent football game. “

I went back and rewatched some of the video of the Farifield game.  The Mules have a reputation of having a big line, and their line look small to the Vandals.

From watching the Fairfield game, and clips on Hudl and MaxPreps, I see two teams that are mirror images of each other.  Jase Turner might have an inch or two and ten or twenty pounds on Smalls but they run a lot.  Wells and Bryce Osman are similar, they can pick up a few yards on the ground and go to the air when they need to as well.   Arieh Hart might be a half step quicker than Zimmerman.

This has the shaping to be an outstanding football game.  Click on the link below to listen to Moury Bass and Mike Chamness on WIBH 1440 AM in Anna.




Thompsonville’s Harris -McClerren part of GEC Volleyball All Tournament Team

First Team

Halle Everett – Norris City-Omaha-Enfield   (MVP)

Kennedy Harris – Thompsonville  (Captian) 

Catherine Massey – Crab Orchard

Valerie Ahrens – Gallatin County

Ally Black – Norris City-Omaha-Enfield

Emily Bishop – Norris City-Omaha-Enfield

Second Team

Dani Renyolds – Galatia

Lindsay McClerren – Thompsonville 

Anna Stricklin – Galatia

Elizableth Martin – Gallatin County

Shaylie Black – Crab Orchard

Hailee Fromm – Gallatin County

Saluki Men’s Basketball opens regular season at Winthrop on Friday

Nov. 10, 2017 • 6 p.m. CT
Rock Hill, S.C. • Winthrop Coliseum (6,100)
First Meeting (H: 0-0, A: 0-0, N: 0-0)

Series vs. Winthrop/Big South
Friday marks the first meeting between the Salukis and Eagles. SIU is 2-0 all-time against current members of the Big South Conference with wins over Charleston Southern in 2010 and Radford in 1992.

Hinson vs. Winthrop
Salukis head coach Barry Hinson is 1-1 lifetime against Winthrop, having played the Eagles as part of the BracketBusters tournament while coaching at Missouri State.

Salukis in season openers
The Salukis won their season opener 11-straight years from 1999 to 2009. Since then, they are 2-5 in season openers, with victories coming at New Orleans on Nov. 12, 2012 and versus Air Force on Nov. 13, 2016.

Division I starting experience
The Salukis have seven players who have a combined 178 games of starting experience at the Division I level. Tyler Smithpeters (63), Thik Bol (33), Armon Fletcher (30), Sean Lloyd (20) and Jonathan Wiley (1) have all made starts at SIU. Transfer Marcus Bartley made 18 starts at Saint Louis and Eric McGill started 13 times at SEMO.

Veteran roster
• Ten of the 12 players are upperclassmen.
• Half of the roster (six players) are in either their fourth or fifth year of eligibility.
• Nine of the 12 players are at least 21-years-old. A 10th player turns 21 in December.
• The team enters the season with 498 games of Division I playing experience combined.

Thik Bol named Preseason 
Second-Team MVC Team

Thik Bol (6-8, 202, Sr.) was named preseason Second-Team MVC Team. In his first season at SIU last year, he blocked 76 shots, which ranked third-best in a single-season in school history. That mark also put him 11th all-time at SIU. Bol started every game last year, averaged 9.1 points and shot a team-best .533 from the field.

Fletcher on Most Improved Team
Armon Fletcher (6-5, 207, Jr.) was named to the MVC’s Most Improved Team last year. He was third on the team in scoring (11.1 points) and reached double figures 19 times. He was second on the team in 3-pointers made (47) and ranked seventh in the conference in steals (1.3). Fletcher missed three games in early January with a foot injury.

Tyler Smithpeters returns
Tyler Smithpeters (6-4, 203, Sr.) Injured his knee in the season opener against Wright State last year and was granted a medical redshirt. He led the team in 3-point shooting percentage (.405) as a junior in 2015-16 and ranks sixth all-time at SIU in career 3-point shooting percentage (.395).

Sean Lloyd settles in as starter
G Sean Lloyd (6-5, 210, Jr.) made 20 starts last season with his first start coming on Dec. 14 versus Saint Louis. He averaged 7.6 points and 2.8 rebounds off the bench, but improved those numbers to 8.7 points and 3.3 rebounds as a starter, while shooting 19-of-47 (.404) from 3-point.

Dawg Bites
•G Marcus Bartley (6-5, 193, Jr.) was diagnosed with a broken bone in his right wrist on Oct. 25 and is expected to miss six weeks.
•F Thik Bol (6-8, 202, Sr.) had knee surgery on Nov. 3 and is expected to miss approximately six weeks.
•F Austin Weiher (6-8, 206, Jr.) missed all of preseason with a foot injury.
•Of Thik Bol‘s 129 field goals last season, 57 (44 percent) were dunks.
•In SIU’s wins last year, it averaged 77.6 points and was +3.9 on the boards. In its losses, it averaged 58.8 points and was -7.3 on the boards.
Tyler Smithpeters has made two or more 3-pointers 29 times in his career.
•SIU has gone 82-consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal and 990-consecutive games with at least one free throw (dating back to 1986).
•Hinson is 14-16 overall in non-conference road games at SIU.

Coach Hinson Press Conference Transcript
What is it, in A Few Good Men, when Tom Cruise said ‘the hits keep coming’? Armon Fletcher dislocated a knee at Tuesday’s practice. The initial response was that he’ll be out for up to two weeks. Thinking back to that now, we hope to make a game time decision. We will travel with him this weekend, but we don’t know if he’ll be able to participate in our first two games. We’ll make that decision literally right before game time based on our medical staff.

There was no damage in the xrays?
This is a non-surgical injury but it’s a re-occurring injury that he has had in the past. He is not going to be practicing this week. I would like to have a presser next week that we won’t talk about injuries, so hopefully that’s the case. I’m sorry to start off with that again this week. But right now we know we have eight guys we can take to Winthrop, maybe nine.

How did the injury happen?
All these injuries have been freakish. It was during a block-out drill. If you were watching film and you had a six year-old daughter, you would’ve thought that she could’ve hit you harder than how he got hit. It was just a freak deal.

But you’re still traveling with him? 
I don’t play possum with you on injuries. I don’t do that. I’m not one of those coaches. If we can play him Friday then we’re going to play him Friday. My gut is right now that probably won’t take place, but we’re going to do everything we can. It will be a decision made by our training staff, but more importantly by Armon himself. It’s not like we have to have an NFL Injury Report on Monday. We don’t need to start that.

Does he have crutches? 
No, he doesn’t have crutches. He’s walking around, but he looks like Herman Munster. I’ve got two of those right now, Thik (Bol) and Armon.

How’s the endurance looking for the season opener? 
I think there’s a lot of different things in here that will give us a challenge as a coaching staff and as a team. We look at play, at rotation, changes that we can make offensively and defensively. You know, how the game’s being called early on. It’ll be tight and lots of fouls. We’ve got to be able to handle that. We’ve looked at a lot of different scenarios over the last couple of days. We don’t feel like we’ll go into this unprepared. But you can’t prepare for the unknown. I think that’s the scary thing right now. There’s 351 programs right now in college basketball. I don’t think any of them that would enter their first game of the year without three starters. I think we probably win that race. Hopefully we’ll get this down here pretty quick.

Will Tyler Smithpeters start if Fletcher can’t go?
I think Tyler would start because he deserves to start. I always look at what’s the next best addition for us. A lot of that has to do with that he has experience. He’s played in games like this, he is a senior. I tend to always lean towards guys that have experience. Tyler’s done that, he’s played in big games and season openers. I think that has a lot to do with it as well.

How’s Austin (Weiher) looked? 
I think he’s looked okay. I don’t think he’ll play. I think it’s not fair for us to have a kid who was cleared on the 6th to play on the 10th. I think that’s awful hard to ask that. When I say we’ll be down to eight guys, that’s because I don’t anticipate Austin playing.

How have the injured players helped support their teammates?
The one thing about leadership is when these guys are out, they’re not gone. It’s not like  they’re going somewhere. Marcus has been on the bench over there and every day and getting after our guys telling them this and that. You know Thik is not a vocal leader. He just leads by example. Those guys are still around. Sean Lloyd is going to lead this team. If you ask all the guys right now who they’re going to listen to and a majority of them are going to tell you Sean.

Talk about the new signees, Darius Beane and Sam Shafer.
When you look at the following year, we have seven seniors. When you have a seven-senior team, you want to make sure you get a mixture of high school (freshmen) coming in that these guys can mentor for an entire year. We really wanted to make that prevalent, so we have have four scholarships and we really wanted to see if there was a point when we could sign some high school kids if we could. We have two young men signed. In those two, we felt like we needed to sign specifically a guard to play the point. I have always told you the more we can play point guards on the floor, it does not matter with height. Marcus is 6’4 and Darius comes in at 6’2. Darius is a different player than Anthony. He is more of a point guard and comes out of a very tradition-rich program at Carbondale

High. He plays for a guy that I think is a phenomenal coach so we are getting a well-coached kid. I know I am getting a kid that has been raised right because I know the parents personally, so I am excited about that. So this is a basketball family. The father played at the highest level possible. Oldest boy is the third all-time leading scorer in our program’s history. Then we have the youngest one coming in as the fourth-best player in Illinois. I think you will see Darius make changes in strength and conditioning. I think he has the chance to be one hell of a player.

Over the years in this program, we have seen guys like Carlton Fay, Matt Shaw and Sean O’Brien have all had unbelievable success. We have wanted to find what fits that hybrid position that can pass, dribble, shoot and has a high basketball IQ. One of the things that we did was that we went out and got a guy like Sam. Sam fits that mold of those three guys and I think that is really important for our program. I know I have been giddy about this season, but I am giddy about the two guys that signed with us today.

Will you consider redshirting either player?
We do not ever talk about red-shirt publicly. We always talk about that with the family. Red-shirting has always been part of our DNA since I have been here. Times have changed. I do not red-shirt kids anymore. If the NCAA rules do not change regarding transfers, if they go where I think they are headed, I think it is going to be very difficult to red-shirt individuals. I think the NCAA rule is going to go to where guys can transfer and be automatically eligible and not have to sit out a year. If they come to this deal, you can shut mid-major basketball down.

Was it his shooting that most impressed you about Shafer?
I do not want to say shooting. I think his basketball IQ. The first time I saw Sam he reminded me of Sean O’Brien. It was a cross between Sean and Matt Shaw. He shot the ball a little bit like Matt. Matt was a better shooter than Sean. Sean had a little bit higher basketball IQ on the floor for us than probably what Matt had. I just saw those three guys in Sam and thought “that’s what we want”. That position as we all know has been very prevalent and very, very precocious in The Valley. We have signed a point guard and a hybrid and we hope to sign a couple of bigs if we can. If we do that, we are adding to a good class.

Share your story of The Rivalry

SPRINGFIELD, IL – For months, visitors to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum have been sharing their personal stories and favorite memories from the historic rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.

Now it’s your turn.
The presidential library, home to the special exhibit “Cubs vs. Cardinals: The Rivalry” is inviting everyone to share their rivalry stories on social media.
Maybe you met your future husband at a game or learned how to keep score from your grandfather. Maybe you attended a game with your best friends in high school or got to see your favorite player hit a home run.
Now’s your chance to share that moment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #TheRivalry. At the end of November, we’ll choose two submissions – one about the Cubs and one about the Cardinals – for special prizes.
A classic World Series is underway. It may not include the Cardinals or the Cubs, but it’s a reminder of the way baseball connects to fans on a personal level.
“Cubs vs. Cardinals: The Rivalry” features dozens of artifacts and hundreds of photos from one of the greatest rivalries in sports, a conflict that has divided Illinois for more than 125 years.
The exhibit also offers visitors the chance to write their favorite memories on sticky notes and post them for others to read. Among our favorites are:
  • “My boys turning the corner and seeing the iconic red sign at Wrigley for the first time.”
  • “My tooth fell out when Andy Van Slyke hit a home run.”
  • “Seeing Ozzie Smith do backflips across the outfield and seeing the AB Clydesdales pull the wagon around the outfield. Summer ’86.”
  • “After the Cubs won, I ran and gave my dad a hug. He was so happy.”
  • “Taking our son who is now 18 to his 1st Cardinals game & watching him take a few of his first steps at the stadium!”
You can follow the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and share your #TheRivalry stories on FacebookTwitter and Instagram​.