There are zero freshman on this team.
Let me repeat that. No freshman. None, nadda. Zip, zero, zilch.
But there are still a few new faces hitting the court this season, though a few just for practice.
Here are the not-so-new New Kids on the Block.
Johnson came to the Cougars last year after spending 2 years at George Washington. After sitting out the 2011-12 year, he’s eligible to play for SIU Edwardsville this year.
As a sophomore, Johnson played in 21 games averaging 3.4 points per game and 1.2 rebounds. That was actually a small step back from his freshman year, when he played in 27 games making five starts, although his stats were similar. Unlike many Cougars guards, Johnson’s strength isn’t as a 3-point shooter, hitting just 24% over the first half of his collegiate career.
A 2-star Rivals rated prospect in high school, Johnson was nominated for the McLegends All-Star game as a senior at Crete Monee High School.
This is one those names that’s going to haunt me every time I go to type it. Or say it. Or read it.
Fiorentinos will sit out this season after transferring from Tulane, where he played in just 10 games last season, although he was the starter in six, all at the beginning of the year. He didn’t play a single minute after January 4th.
Coming out of high school, Fiorentinos was rated as a 2-star prospect by ESPN. While at the Hun School in Princeton, N.J., he averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks per game over his entire prep career. He was also a member of the England Under 18 National Team, and led the team in rebounding with 6.5 per game at the 2010 European Championships in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Here are highlights from Fiorentinos’ time at the Hun School:
SIU Edwardsville will be Lester’s 3rd school in three years, and his second Division I school since leaving high school.
Lester, a 2-star ESPN rated prospect out of high school, began his college career at North Carolina A&T. He started 14 games for the Aggies, but averaged just 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds a game.
After one season, Lester transferred to the Junior College ranks, spending the past season at Vincennes. Somewhat ironically, he made fewer starts for the Blazers, just 6.
After signing with the Cougars, head coach Lexxon Forrester said Lester would “add a presence inside both offensively and defensively.”
Lester spend his high school career in the northern part of the state, at Crete-Monee where he was an All-Area selection.
Another Division I transfer, Stewart will sit out this season per NCAA rules.
Rated by Rivals, (3-star) ESPN and Scout (2-star) out of high school, Stewart played limited minutes in 11 games at Bradley as a freshman, totaling (not averaging) four points, four rebounds and three assists in his 52 minutes. One reason for the transfer, and limited minutes: Stewart was recruited by a different coach than he played for.
One possible reason for his transfer to SIU Edwardsville: Forrester was a former assistant under the coach (Jim Les) who recruited Stewart for Bradley.
In high school, Stewart was a four-time all-state selection at Limestone High in Peoria, where he set the Limestone and Mid-Illini Conference career scoring record. Highlights from his senior year follows:
Wiltz is eligible this season, after sitting out last under those pesky Division I transfer rules. This time, Colorado State is the culprit, where Wilts played in a limited number of games as a freshman.
In high school, Wiltz is the all-time scoring leader at Stafford High School. As a senior, he scored 21 points per game, while adding 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
Forrester said Wiltz “has great size for his position. He is a superb athlete who has played at a very high level.”
Here are some highlights from Wiltz’s senior season: