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Jordan Caroline, Southern Illinois University's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer this past season, verbally committed to Nevada's men's basketball team on Tuesday.

Caroline, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound freshman forward who averaged 9.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, tweeted the news on Tuesday after visiting the campus this past weekend. Caroline previously visited Xavier and Cincinnati, according to multiple reports, and had plans to visit Minnesota before deciding to sign with new Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman. Caroline tweeted "Excited to announce that I just committed to Coach Eric Musselman and @nevadahoops!" on Tuesday.

Caroline's commitment, and Deion Lavender's commitment to Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) on Tuesday ended the speculation where SIU's five departures would end up. Caroline, Lavender and guards Charles "Chaz" Glotta, K.C. Goodwin and Jalen Pendleton left the program after the Salukis finished 9-22 overall and 4-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Pendleton plans to transfer to Minnesota State, a Div. II school. Glotta signed with Northern Colorado, a Division I program in Greeley, Colorado. Goodwin has signed with Union University (Tennessee), a Div. II program in Henderson that reached the NCAA Tournament this past season, he said on Tuesday.

Lavender, a freshman guard from Alton, announced on his Instagram account that he will transfer to UAB for the 2015-16 season. The Blazers went 20-16 this past season, beating Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament. They were the youngest team in the field of 68.

Lavender started 13 of 32 games this past season and averaged 6.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He averaged 8.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in Valley play and scored 10 points or more in seven of his last 10 games.

Glotta, Lavender and Caroline will have three years of eligibility beginning in 2016-17. They will all have to sit out the upcoming season per NCAA rules. Pendleton and Goodwin will be immediately eligible.

Musselman, a former head coach in the NBA with Golden State and Sacramento, was an assistant at LSU before taking over the Nevada job earlier this year. His first signee also came from the Valley, former Missouri State guard Marcus Marshall.

Nevada finished 9-22 overall and 5-13 in the Mountain West Conference.

Caroline was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team. He led SIU in field goal percentage at 44.8 percent. His 303 points ranked fifth best in school history among freshmen, and his 206 rebounds were third all-time for rookies at SIU. Against Murray State and Evansville, he grabbed nine offensive rebounds — the fifth-best single-game mark in school history and the most by a Saluki player in the last 15 years.

Caroline started all but the first game of the season and reached double figures in scoring 16 times. He was one of five potential returning starters for the 2015-16 season and SIU's biggest offensive threat inside.

Goodwin started six of 22 games this past season and averaged 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. He didn't play in half the Salukis' Valley games, but believes he'll get a better opportunity with the Bulldogs this winter. Goodwin will be immediately eligible for the NCAA Tournament qualifiers, who could return 11 of 14 players.

"I was just what they were looking for," Goodwin said.

Goodwin said he plans to major in sports administration.

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618-351-5087 / On Twitter: @THefferman


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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