CARBONDALE — The SIU men's basketball team is expected to sign two guards for the 2018-19 season today, the first day of the NCAA's early signing period.
Carbondale High School senior guard Darius Beane, the younger brother of former Saluki Anthony Beane Jr., and the son of current SIU assistant coach Anthony Beane Sr., verbally committed to the program on Aug. 1. The next day, senior guard Sam Shafer of Lincoln Way-East High School verbally committed to the Salukis for the 2018-19 season.
Beane, a 6-foot-4, 165-pound combo guard averaged 16 points, five rebounds and just over three assists a game for the 20-9 Terriers last season. He was a first team all-conference selection, an All-South pick, and a fourth team all-state pick by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
Beane never visited any other school even though he was highly recruited.
"I had a bunch of schools contact me, and the first thing they asked was 'Are you going to go with your dad? And I could never tell them no," Beane said earlier this year. "I'm 15 minutes down the road. This is my home. My family can always come see me play. This is my choice, and it's a good choice."
Shafer, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound senior shooting guard from Lincoln Way-East High School in Frankfort, came on strong at the end of the summer in the recruiting cycles. SIU's staff attended a lot of his games, he said, called or texted almost every day, and the Salukis were the first school to offer Shafer. Montana State and Tennessee-Martin, which won the Ohio Valley Conference West Division last season, also offered.
Indiana State and Drake were two schools that showed interest at one point during the process, Shafer said.
"I was just evaluating my options and I thought this was going to be the best for me," Shafer said. "I talked to my parents, my friends, and determined what was going to be best. I always wanted to go to a place that always wanted me, not settled for me. That meant something for me."
Shafer averaged 16 points per game for the 20-11 Griffins and played big in some big games. He had 30 points in a win over top-ranked Bolingbrook in February and hopes to lead Lincoln Way-East to its first regional championship this winter. The Griffins return three starters.
SIU men's basketball coach Barry Hinson, or assistant coach Anthony Beane Sr., can't comment on the two recruits until they sign their official national letters of intent. Hinson has four scholarships available for 2018-19, which will go down to two after Beane and Shafer sign.
SIU has three seniors on this year's squad and only 12 players. NCAA Division I programs have 13 scholarships to award per school year, all of which are full rides.
The women's basketball team, which has 15 scholarships per year, is expected to sign two point guards today. Caitlin Link, a 5-foot-9 senior guard at Edgewood High School in Madison, Wisconsin, and Payton McCallister, a three-star senior guard at Columbia (Missouri) Rock Bridge High School, verbally committed to the Salukis earlier this season.
Link averaged 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game for the WIAA Division 3 state champions, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. She was a first team all-conference and first team all-area pick as a junior, and helped lead Edgewood to a share of the Badger South Conference regular-season title.
McCallister, ranked the 86th-best point guard in the country by ESPN.com, helped lead the Bruins to a district championship and a third-place finish at the state tournament in March.
SIU went 16-15 overall and 10-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference (fourth place) last season. The Salukis have 14 players this season and one senior, guard/forward Kylie Giebelhausen.