EIU Basketball Set To Open Season

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Published on November 2 2012 4:58 pm
Last Updated on November 2 2012 5:02 pm
Written by Millie Lange

Eastern Illinois men’s basketball will open the 2012-13 season under new head coach Jay Spoonhour this Monday as the Panthers host Trinity International University in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. in Lantz Arena.  The regular season for EIU opens on Friday, Nov. 9 at Bradley with the regular season home opener against Wright State on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

HEAD COACH: Jay Spoonhour enters his first season as the Panthers head coach having been hired in April of 2012.  Spoonhour was most recently the head coach at Moberly Area Community College where he coached for three seasons.  He is a long time assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level and served as the interim head coach at UNLV to complete the 2004 season posting a 6-4 record and taking the team to the finals of the Mountain West Conference along with an NIT appearance.  In 2001 Spoonhour was named the National Junior College Coach of the Year leading Wabash Valley College to the NJCAA National Championship with a 36-1 record.  He is the son of the late legendary coach Charlie Spoonhour.

IN THE COMMUNITY: Coach Spoonhour will be in the community this weekend prior to the game as he will give an introduction to the movie Hoosiers as part of the Embarras Valley Film Festival.  The movie will be screened at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 in the Tarble Arts Center Artrium on the EIU campus.

TRINITY INTERNATIONAL: Trinity International is coached by Andy Euler in his fifth season with the Chicago area school.  TIU is the alma mater of EIU assistant coach Dan Matic.  TIU is an NAIA member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.  The team is led by junior guard Dillon Wadsack who averaged 13.4 points per game last year.

PIPER LEADING RETURNER: Sophomore Josh Piper is the Panthers top returning scorer and rebounder after coming off the bench in all 29 games last season.  Piper averaged 4.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last year.  He shot 57 percent from the field and 92 percent from the free throw line.

AKERS MOST EXPERIENCED STARTER: Senior guard Austin Akers is the most experienced player returning on this year’s roster that includes only seven players from last season.  Akers started six games on the year leading the team in assist-to-turnover ratio.  Akers finished with 63 assists playing in all 29 games.

YOUNG CHICAGO GUARDS: EIU has a pair of young guards from the Windy City in freshmen Alex Austin and Cameron Harvey.  Austin was a two-time All-Catholic League selection at Chicago Mount Carmel HS averaging 18.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.  Harvey averaged 16.5 points and 3.6 rebounds playing at Wheaton Academy where he earned fourth team All-State honors.

JUCO SCORING: The Panthers may look to junior college transfer R.J. McGhee to provide some scoring punch this season.  McGhee played at Dodge City CC last season averaging 18.7 points per game as he was rated as one of the top 100 JUCO players in the nation.

MORE JUCO EXPERIENCE: EIU added two junior college players in the post with the addition of Sherman Blanford and Keenan Anderson.  Blanford was an honorable mention All-Region player at Marshalltown CC.  He led his conference in rebounding as a freshman with 8.7 rebounds per game while scoring 10.4 points per game as a sophomore.  Anderson played only one season at Olney Central College helping the team post a 25-8 record.