CARBONDALE — Darius Beane and Sam Shafer made it official with SIU's men's basketball team Thursday, the first day of the NCAA's early signing period.

Beane, the son of Saluki assistant coach Anthony Beane Sr. and younger brother of the program's third all-time leading scorer, Anthony Beane Jr., signed with SIU at Carbondale High School. The 6-foot-3, 165-pound senior guard averaged 16 points, five rebounds and three assists per game for the 20-9 Terriers last season. He never visited any other school.

"I think everyone is familiar with the Beane name and the Beane family — and now you have another young man who is rated as one of the top guards in the state of Illinois and is playing for a high school program that is very well respected under Jim Miller," Hinson said.

Beane is ranked the 11th-best prospect in Illinois by Scout.com and the 13th-best by 247sports.com. Hinson said he was a bit different player than his older brother, who scored 1,917 points between 2012-16.

"He's really more of a point guard than Anthony was. He's yet to develop his body," Hinson said. "What we've seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg. He has great potential and as the maturation process takes hold, he has the chance to be a special player."

Shafer, a 6-6, 190-pound guard/forward at Lincoln Way-East High School, averaged 15.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season. The honorable mention all-state pick by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association helped the Griffins to a 20-11 mark last season, their best mark in history, and could play multiple positions for the Salukis beginning next season.

"This is a young man who is highly skilled," Hinson said. "He doesn't get caught up in what position he has to play. He can play on the perimeter, he can play on the interior. He has a high basketball IQ and wants to be a special player. Much like Darius, his body and athleticism will change dramatically as he goes through our strength and conditioning program."

SIU has two scholarships remaining for 2018-19, but that number could be down to one by the end of next week. Amadou Fall, a 6-9, 215-pound forward from Senegal, verbally committed to the Salukis Thursday. Fall, who competes at St. Louis Christian Academy, came to America through the SEED Academy in Senegal, the first basketball academy in Africa that opened in 2002.

* Women's basketball team signs two state champion guards: The SIU women's basketball team signed Caitlin Link from Edgewood (Wisconsin) High School and Payton McCallister from Rock Bridge (Missouri) High School Thursday.

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, a three-star prospect 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. McCallister helped Rock Bridge win the state title her freshman year.

"These two young ladies will make us better," SIU coach Cindy Stein said. "They make us smarter, grittier, better defenders and offensively are threats from all spots on the floor. They have wonderful personalities that will make for an easy transition into our team chemistry."

* Softball inks two for 2019: Sidney Sikes, a catcher and third baseman from Kaufman, Texas, and Ashley Wood, a shortstop from Orland Park, inked national letters of intent with the defending Missouri Valley Conference tournament champions.

SIU coach Kerri Blaylock said the team will continue to recruit throughout the year and expects to add a few more players in the spring.

"We are so glad that Sid and Ashley chose to become Salukis," Blaylock said. "We addressed some needs that we felt like we would be losing. Both players come from winning summer programs and have played at the highest level. We knew it was a great fit when both of them stepped on campus. We are extremely pleased to have them wear the Saluki uniform."

Sikes earned team MVP honors at Crandall (Texas) High School while hitting .422 with 31 RBIs, 14 doubles and a home run in 2017. She earned all-newcomer honors as a freshman and is a two-time defensive player of the year.

Wood comes to the Salukis as a class 4A all-state pick and a three-time all-conference selection at Carl Sandburg High School. Wood hit.439 with 34 RBIs in 2017, and has racked up 90 RBIs and 41 doubles in her career.

todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087

On Twitter: @THefferman

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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