CARBONDALE — SIU's men's basketball team officially added 6-foot-5, 215-pound guard Jimmy Beane for the upcoming season on Wednesday.
Beane signed a national letter of intent with the Salukis on last day of the spring signing period. He joins his cousin, Southern Illinoisan boys basketball player of the year Darius Beane out of Carbondale High School, 6-9 forward Amadou Fall of St. Louis Christian Academy and guard/forward Sam Shafer of Lincoln Way-East High School in the class of 2018. Darius' older brother, Anthony, helped SIU to its first 20-win season in nine years in 2016 and finished as the school's third all-time leading scorer.
SIU didn't have any scholarships available for the 2018-19 season, but coach Barry Hinson said Wednesday forward Austin Weiher has asked for, and received, his release and intends to transfer. Weiher, a 6-8, 206-pound junior, played in 13 games off the bench last season and scored six points. He earned his bachelor's degree last week and could be eligible to play this winter as a graduate transfer somewhere else.
Jimmy Beane averaged 19.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game at Potter's House Prep School in Florida last season. He shot 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from the 3-point line. The high-scoring guard could be a big addition to a Salukis squad that returns five starters, plus junior guard Eric McGill and preseason all-conference forward Thik Bol.
"We are fortunate to add another Beane to our program and Jimmy has an opportunity to be a special player in the Missouri Valley Conference," Hinson said in a statement. "The interesting part of this is he's not comparable to Anthony (Beane Jr.) or Darius. Anthony was a two-guard who could score. Darius is a true point guard. Jimmy is a small forward."
McGill played in 10 games last season before breaking his hand against Lamar. He received a medical redshirt and will have two years of eligibility beginning this winter. Bol, a 6-8 senior forward, redshirted last season after injuring his knee in October. Bol averaged 9.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 2016-17, with 76 blocks, the third-most in a single season in school history.
SIU's biggest loss was behind the 3-point line. Tyler Smithpeters, a fifth-year senior guard from Harrisburg that was named MVC sixth man of the year, started five of 33 games and averaged 7.7 points per game. His 49 3-pointers led the team, and his 35.8 percent shooting was the fourth-best on the squad. SIU returns its two other top 3-point shooters from last season, guard/forward Armon Fletcher (40 3s, 34.8 percent shooting) and point guard Marcus Bartley (41 3s, 38.3 percent), and combo guard Aaron Cook (38 3s, 38.4 percent).
Potter's House coach Stephen McLaughlin said Jimmy Beane could help SIU inside and out.
"Jimmy's strength is that he's very athletic and a very strong kid with a college-ready body," McLaughlin said in a statement. "He has a very good mid-range pull-up game. I would like to see him attack the basket a little more, but that will come with time. He has the capability to become a big-time player when everything falls into place."
Originally from Indiana, Beane played two years in the Hoosier state before moving to Florida. He transferred to Potter House Christian in Jacksonville last fall and will have four years of eligibility beginning this winter. Beane verbally committed to Georgia last year but decided to re-open his recruiting when coach Mark Fox was let go. With offers from Kent State, Indiana State, Valparaiso and Ole Miss, among others, Beane considered reclassifying to next year's class in the hopes of getting even bigger offers, but went all in with SIU.