SIU men's basketball coach Bryan Mullins thinks the attitude of a basketball recruit is sometimes more important to their fit in a program than their game-day stats.
Mullins likes to grab players who know how to dominate and win. If they average 20-plus points or 10 rebounds per game, that's icing on the cake. But, moreso, they should exude leadership and a will to be the best. Mullins' first 2021 recruit Scottie Ebube, is the epitome of that approach.
"The only person who can guard me -- is me," Ebube said in a Chicago Tribune article.
And looking at the film of the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Mundelein junior, it doesn't look like he's bragging.
Ebube averaged 15 points per game as a junior, as Mundelein was ready to make some noise in the state playoffs before hoops got aced by COVID-19.
But, beside recent film sessions, I saw Ebube in several live games in 2018, when he was just a sophomore. Mundelein won the local Carbondale Holiday Tournament in December 2018 when Ebube scored 27 points and had 15 rebounds against a pretty good Carbondale Terriers team (59-45). He's an even more finished product going into his senior year at Mundelein.
"He's the best big man in the suburban Chicago area (the 31st best Midwest recruit for 2020-21)," said highly impressed Zion-Benton head coach Bob Worthington. "He's 6-8, athletic and can finish even when getting pounded defensively."
That jibes with what Ebube's mentor at Mundelein, Matt Badgley, thinks of his big man.
"He's one of those kids who is such an imposing player," said Badgley. "And he really doesn't realize how good of a player he can be."
Badgley, who once was a basketball manager at SIU, says that because he knows from experience that most front line players, especially at the mid-major level, have a lot to learn -- even if they are physical specimens already.
"Some smaller guards are ready from the get-go for D-I play," said Badgley. "But big guys take a year or two to develop. That's why it's imperative that those players find the best fit for them in the recruiting process."
However, a decent big man eventually will help open up SIU's outside shooting when double-teamed down low. Ebube will sign with the Dawgs this coming November.
Signed for 2020 last week was Jakolby Long, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound grad transfer wing guard from Southern Utah University. Long was highly recruited out of Mustang High in Mustang, Okla.
He was signed by Iowa State in 2016, played two years, but never lived up to his 4 star Rivals potential.
In high school he averaged 24.6 points and eight rebounds per game, and he was a first team Oklahoma All-stater.
He will help solidify the Dawgs' young guard corps.