CARBONDALE — Former SIU men's basketball recruit Chris Payton has found a new home.
Payton, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward from Bloomington High School, signed with Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College, a rep from the Warriors confirmed Wednesday. Payton signed with the Salukis during former coach Barry Hinson's tenure but did not qualify for a scholarship. He will have two years of eligibility at Indian Hills, an elite Division I junior college program located in Ottumwa that has produced stars like Pete Mickeal, C.J. Bruton, Chris McNeal and Cory Hightower.
Indian Hills went 27-7 last season and qualified for the NJCAA tournament for the fourth straight year under coach Hank Plona. Sophomore guard Tomas Woldetensae, a first team All-American, committed to national champion Virginia. Torrey Patton, an honorable mention All-American, signed with Cleveland State.
Payton was a second team all-state and first team All-Pantagraph area pick last season after averaging 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds a game.
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Former Saluki assistant coach Anthony Beane Sr. helped recruit Payton to SIU.
"Chris will bring tremendous athleticism to our front line," Beane Sr. said at the time in a press release from SIU. "He has the ability to step out and shoot the ball like Armon Fletcher, and he has that athletic explosion like Thik Bol. He's a great kid and will be a great teammate."
Payton chose SIU over Illinois, Middle Tennessee and Valparaiso.
Payton is the fourth former Saluki to go the juco route this offseason. Redshirt freshman forward Amadou Fall went to Three Rivers (Missouri) Community College. Former recruit Jimmy Beane, a cousin of former Saluki guard Darius Beane and Anthony Beane Sr., signed with Daytona State (Florida). Walk-on guard David Swedura went to Triton College. Sam Shafer, a redshirt freshman forward, transferred to Albany, and Darius Beane went to Northern Illinois.