Illinois State men's basketball coach Dan Muller will have seven newcomers on the roster next season. (Photo by B Corbin/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
Illinois State men's basketball coach Dan Muller has landed a fourth junior college transfer.
Jamaal Samuel, a 6-foot-9, 200-pounder from South Plains College in Lubbock, Texas, will join the Redbirds with have three years of eligibility remaining.
Samuel, a New Orleans, La. native, saw limited playing time during his one season at South Plains, averaged 2.2 points in 15 games. He averaged 16 points and 9 rebounds per game during his senior season at O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans.
“Jamaal is a long and athletic rebounder big man, who actually has some pretty good perimeter skills," said Muller. "We wanted to get more athletic and longer and he certainly does that for us."
Samuel has only been playing organized basketball for three years.
"He was a prospect who we really liked last summer on the circuit and have followed him all year," added Muller. "Jamaal played behind two highly recruited big men for a very good South Plains team this past year, so he competed against high-level competition every day in practice.
"Because of Jamaal’s inexperience and his natural athleticism, we believe his upside is tremendous. We think he could grow into something pretty special as he continues to improve."
Samuel joins guard Bobby Hunter, Zach Lofton and forward Michael Middlebrooks as junior college transfers for next season. Hunter, Lofton and Middlebrooks signed with ISU last month.
"The fact we have two (junior college transfers) with three years of eligibility remaining is very important to me," added Muller. "We already have some juniors returning and you don't want a class with seven or eight if you can stay away from it.
"We have a good mix of guys with experience. We lost a lot of guys who were older, so we want some older guys who can contribute right away."
The four junior college transfersl join three newcomers from high school - guards Paris Lee of Proviso East and Tony Wills of Indianapolis along with center Reggie Lynch of Edina, Minn.
Muller has one scholarship available for next season.
"If the right guy comes along, we'll fill it," said Muller. "But it's not a necessity."
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.