Nov. 13, 2013
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University men's basketball head coach Barry Hinson announced that three players have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Salukis next season. Guard Chaz Glotta and forwards Armon Fletcher and Jordan Caroline will all be freshmen at SIU in 2014.
"We wanted to make sure we filled voids in our program," Hinson said. "We've signed a combo guard (Glotta), an athletic perimeter player (Fletcher) and an athletic hybrid forward (Caroline) who can play inside or outside. We also have our transfer (Ibby Djimde) who is a true five-man. That gives us a pretty strong class."
Glotta (6-2, 172, Fr.) was the St. Louis area's leading scorer last year at Fort Zumwalt North High School. He averaged 26 points and made 79 3-point shots. A three-year starter, Glotta is the school's all-time leader in scoring (1,733 points) and 3-pointers made (230). Playing for his father, head coach Charles Glotta, he helped the Panthers to the 5A District championship in both his freshman and junior years. Glotta chose SIU over Drake and Cornell.
"Any time that you grow up in a house where basketball is a central part, you get a kid who knows the game, has a feel for the game, studies the game," Hinson said. "The thing that impresses me about Chaz is he's a workaholic and a gym rat."
Fletcher (6-6, 185, Fr.) helped lead Edwardsville H.S. to a 31-3 record last season and a third-place finish in the Illinois Class 4A tournament. He averaged 10 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game, while shooting 61 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free throw line. He chose the Salukis over SIUE and Ball State.
Caroline (6-6, 235, Fr.) plays for the nation's No. 1-ranked prep school -- Montverde (Fla.) Academy -- where he averaged seven points and four rebounds last year for the Eagles, who finished 27-2 and No. 1 in the country according to USA Today. He is the son of former University of Illinois and 12-year NFL linebacker Simeon Rice. Caroline played his freshman and sophomore years at Champaign Central High School and chose Southern over Mt. St. Mary's.
"Jordan brings sheer athleticism and strength," Hinson said. "He doesn't move like he's 230 pounds. He moves like he's an outside linebacker like his dad. He has face-up and back-to-the-basket skills. He has soft hands and a smile that will light up the room. I really like his personality."
In little more than a year, Hinson has almost completely remade SIU's roster. Of the 13 players currently on scholarship, only Jackson and Drinkard were not signed by Hinson.
"We want to recruit kids who come out of winning programs," he said. "I couldn't be any happier with the programs we recruited from. Like every freshman, they'll have growing pains, but at the same time I think all three fit what we're trying to accomplish at SIU."