Salukis use last basketball scholarship to sign Nebraska transfer guard

CARBONDALE, Ill. — With its last available scholarship for the 2019-20 season, Southern Illinois signed Nebraska transfer guard Karrington Davis on Thursday, the final addition to an eight-man Spring recruiting haul under new head coach Bryan Mullins.

A 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing from St. Louis, Mo., Karrington will be a redshirt freshman at SIU this Fall. He missed the 2018-19 season after sustaining a torn Achilles tendon during October workouts seven months ago.

“Karrington is another proven winner that we were able to add to this spring class that is full of players who won state championships or went to NCAA Tournaments,” Mullins said. “He is coming here extremely motivated and eager to show how he is capable of playing. He has tremendous versatility and will impact the game in many ways.”

During his senior year of high school, Davis played for the nation’s No. 1-ranked team — Montverde Academy (Fla.) and contributed to a 35-0 season. He battled a hip injury for a portion of his senior year, but was one of nine Division I signees on the Montverde roster, a group that included Duke’s RJ Barrett, the No. 1 player in the class of 2018.

“I was injured during my senior year at Montverde, and then again last season, so I haven’t really had a chance to show my full potential,” Davis said. “God has a plan for me and I know that I’ll be back better than ever. I’m really motivated and excited to prove what I can do, and show people how good I am as a person and a player.”

A 3-star recruit with offers from Kansas State and Saint Louis, Karrington played two seasons at Chaminade Prep in St. Louis where the school went a combined 51-12 and won the Class 5 state title in 2016. As a junior Davis averaged 19 points and six rebounds per game and was a First-Team All-State selection by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. His teammates included 2017 NBA first-round draft pick Jason Tatum and Iowa forward Tyler Cook.

“I love going against top competition, testing myself and getting better every day,” Davis said. “Finding your role on a talented team is really important, whether it’s defense or rebounding or scoring. A lot of people think scoring is the biggest role, but there are a lot of different roles on the court you can play to help a team win.

Davis is the fifth Division I transfer to join the Salukis this spring, along with Northwestern center Barrett Benson, Eastern Illinois guard Ben Harvey, Clemson forward Malik William and Missouri guard Ronnie Suggs. The new-look Salukis will also feature junior college transfer guard Harwin Francois (Daytona State) and three true freshmen — guard Lance Jones (Evanston HS), guard Trent Brown (Pinnacle HS) and forward Marcus Domask (Waupun HS).

SIU returns four players from last year’s squad that finished 17-15 — senior guards Aaron Cookand Eric McGill, junior forward Brendon Gooch and redshirt freshman forward Sekou Dembele.

Lance Rhodes announced as Saluki baseball head coach

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Jerry Kill announced that Missouri assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Lance Rhodes has been named the eighth head coach in the history of the Saluki Baseball program.

“This is a big day for our baseball program,” SIU Director of Athletics Jerry Kill said. “We landed a proven guy and a great fit in Lance Rhodes. You talk to a lot of candidates who have specialized, but he has coached everything in baseball. He has done it all. In the hierarchy of young coaches, he was one of the most sought-after assistants in the country. He brings a lot of things to the table, but the No. 1 thing: He can flat-out recruit. That’s a big part of being successful, and he’s had great success at every place he’s been.”

“My family and I are beyond excited to join SIU and the Carbondale community, and I want to thank Coach Kill for entrusting me with this storied program,” Rhodes said. “Our staff will be dedicated to student-athlete success academically, socially and athletically. Our program will be committed to disciplined thoughts and actions in our pursuit of Missouri Valley Conference championships.”

Rhodes (age 34) has led turnarounds at Southeast Missouri and Missouri in the last seven years. After Rhodes arrived at SEMO in 2013 with head coach Steve Bieser, the Redhawks won three-straight Ohio Valley Conference championships from 2014-16, culminating in an OVC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016. In Rhodes’ final three years in Cape Girardeau, SEMO went 112-64 (.636) overall and 67-23 (.744) in the OVC. Three of SEMO’s five 35+ win seasons all-time came under Rhodes, including a school-record 39 wins in 2016.

In Rhodes first season at Mizzou in 2017, the Tigers won 36 games, the most for the program since 2008. In Rhodes’ three seasons at Mizzou, the Tigers won at least 34 games each year, the most for the program over a three-year span since 2006-08. Mizzou also won 39 total SEC games in that span, the most successful conference stretch since it joined the SEC prior to the 2013 season. Mizzou earned spots in the national top-25 polls every season, reaching as high as No. 18 nationally in 2018.

A proven recruiter, Rhodes has earned national recognition for his recruiting classes at Mizzou, pulling in top-35 ranked classes in each of his three seasons. His 2019 recruiting class was ranked No. 17 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.

Rhodes has also developed that talent into highly successful players, coaching three OVC Pitchers of the Year, two conference players of the year, 28 MLB draft picks, two Freshman All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans — all in the last 10 years.

He has worked with both pitchers and hitters and seen dramatic improvements in both. While Rhodes served as pitching coach at SEMO, the Redhawks the OVC in opponent batting average twice (2015, 16), strikeouts (2015), walks allowed (2016), wins (2016), and double plays three times (2013, 14, 15). When Rhodes flipped to working with hitters at Mizzou, the Tigers saw dramatic jumps in batting average (by 13 points), home runs (by 21), doubles (by 22), slugging percentage (by 53 points), walks (by 42), on-base percentage (by 15 points), stolen bases (by 12) and fielding percentage.

Rhodes played at Saint Louis (2005-06) and Southeast Missouri (2007-08) and earned his bachelor’s degree from SEMO in 2008. He earned a master’s degree from Emporia State in 2010.

Rhodes and his wife, Brittney, have three sons, Max, Cooper and Hank.

Rhodes agreed to a five-year contract worth $130,000 annually.

Column: You can always go back home again

CARBONDALE — The jury is still out for Patrick Ewing’s return to Georgetown, Penny Hardaway’s run at Memphis and the impending Juwan Howard era at Michigan, but for every Eddie Jordan, Chris Mullin and Marty Simmons, there is a Jim Boeheim, Roy Williams and Matt Painter.

Here’s a link to the column at the Southern Illinoisan.

Rebuild vs. Rebuild: Comparing the 2019 White Sox with the 2014 Cubs

Seventy games into Year 3 of their rebuild, the White Sox are feeling pretty good about themselves.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Mikolas, Carpenter lead Cardinals to win over Marlins

ST. LOUIS — Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter homered to back a strong outing by Miles Mikolas and lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Changes ahead for high school basketball tournaments

Changes are coming to the state’s high school basketball tournaments.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Yankees roll over White Sox 10-3

The Yankees placed runners on first and third with no outs in the first inning Sunday against the White Sox. Odrisamer Despaigne worked out of the jam without surrendering a run.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

As the Cubs’ grueling stretch rolls on, their road woes continue in a 3-2 loss to the Dodgers that ends a 2-5 trip

The rigors of a challenging segment at the end of the 2018 season might have served the Cubs well in their latest endurance test.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

Former Saluki Darius Beane transferring to Northern Illinois

CARBONDALE — Former SIU guard Darius Beane is transferring to Northern Illinois, he tweeted Sunday.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

DeJong tags Mets again, Cardinals win with only 3 hits

NEW YORK — Paul DeJong again picked on a favorite foe.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

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