CARBONDALE -- Austin Weiher, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward from Creating Young Minds Academy in Irving, Texas, signed a national letter of intent with the SIU men's basketball team on Wednesday.
He will have four years of eligibility beginning in 2014-15. Weiher averaged about 25 points and 12 rebounds per game for the Yellow Jackets. A Washington native, Weiher moved to the Texas prep school two years ago to work on his game. The 18-year-old right-hander gives the Salukis another option inside when they get to Missouri Valley Conference play, according to coach Barry Hinson.
"We knew it was imperative that we sign another big guy to go with Ibby (Djimde) and Bola (Olaniyan)," Hinson said. "It was just imperative. In all honesty, we wanted to sign two big guys. We wanted to have four total, but we weren't able to do it. Austin, he's very comfortable facing the basket, and as all freshmen, he has areas to improve, but his foundation is really good. He's got something we can't teach, and that's size, and he's got girth.
"He's 6-8 and 215 pounds. It's hard work, and he embraces it."
Weiher joins Djimde, a transfer from Illinois who will be eligible for the first time this winter, redshirt freshman point guard K.C. Goodwin and three high school seniors in the Class of 2014.
Shooting guard Charles "Chaz" Glotta, out of Fort Zumwalt North (Mo.) High School, Edwardsville's Armon Fletcher and Montverde (Fla.) Academy's Jordan Caroline all signed with the Salukis last November.
SIU returns four starters from last season's 14-19 squad, but Hinson expects Weiher to contribute right away.
"We need him to play. This is not a kid that we recruited, this was a kid that we felt all along 'We need you to play,'" Hinson said. "Every team in the league has a minimum of three big guys, and we needed that to compete."
Deion Lavender, a 6-4, 185-pound guard at Alton Marquette High School, verbally committed to the Salukis earlier this year but had not completed his national letter of intent paperwork as of late Wednesday night.