Setty grows into new role for Salukis

By Gus Bode

Freshman forward Treg Setty fondly remembers the Salukis’ run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2002, and has been a fan of the program ever since.

He said when he was only 9 years old, he couldn’t imagine he’d be suiting up for SIU.

“It was actually my brother who first jumped on the bandwagon, and you know when you’re young, anything your older brother does is awesome,” Setty said. “I even bought an SIU jersey and used to wear it to school. People would ask me who the Salukis were and I always had to say they were real good, and then I ended up committing there. It’s just crazy how things work out.”

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Setty, a native of Maysville, Ky., was still learning the fundamentals of the game at the time, mostly from his parents, Tim and Kim Setty. Both played basketball in college, though Tim Setty’s career ended after a hip problem sidelined him, and Kim Setty got pregnant with Treg Setty’s older brother, Trevor, when she was 18.

Freshman forward Treg Setty goes up for a shot Nov. 25 against Chicago State University at the SIU Arena. Setty was recruited by the Salukis as a guard but started as a forward in the game. Setty averages 7.5 points and 24.8 minutes per game as the fourth most-played Saluki on the team. Nathan Hoefert | Daily Egyptian

Trevor Setty was the 2010-2011 NAIA tournament MVP for national champ Pikeville College, and Treg Setty is now in his first year at SIU. Treg Setty said his parents always helped them fine-tune their guard skills.

“The reason I play out on the perimeter is because my whole life, we never figured I’d be very tall because my parents weren’t very tall, especially my mom,” Treg Setty said. “She always pushed me to be a guard and work on my dribble and try to get better out on the wing.”

Treg Setty is now 6-foot-9, and starting at forward for the Salukis in place of another freshman, Dantiel Daniels, who is sidelined with a strained groin.

Treg Setty said his parents always wanted him to be a guard, regardless of how he sized up against kids his age.

“Growing up, there’d be times where I’d be tall, and then I would stop growing and everybody would grow and be the same size as me, then I’d grow again,” Treg Setty said. “I remember one of my old coaches said he knew a lot of kids who … always played (center) down on the block and didn’t move or anything. Then, they’d grow up to be 6-foot post players who had no chance to play college ball.”

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There were several times when Treg Setty thought he was done growing. He said he was around 5-foot-11 in middle school, when he began playing point guard and shooting guard for his team. In high school, he just kept growing.

Even assistant coach Brad Korn, one of the lead recruiters for Treg Setty, saw him as a guard when SIU initially scouted him.

“He was really skilled at the perimeter, but then he grew a little bit, and he grew a little bit, so then he started playing a little bit in the post for his high school team,” Korn said. “But he was still able to retain those guard skills that he had, and then when he came here on his visit he was as tall as me. That hadn’t been the case the entire time we were recruiting him.”

Korn saw Treg Setty when he was playing for the Nashville Celtics AAU team in the summer of 2009 before his junior year. He said they were impressed with what Treg Setty, 6-foot-5 at the time, was able to do on the court. But it was something that one of Treg Setty’s coaches told Korn after the games that really stuck out to the coaching staff.

Treg Setty played those games with a broken jaw and a broken wrist.

“I knew he’d be tough. I knew that he wanted to compete and play,” Korn said. “That was the thing that stood out the most to me, other than him being really skilled offensively.”

Korn and head coach Chris Lowery were quick to pull the trigger on a scholarship offer to Treg Setty, who said it was the first one he got and the only one he really considered when it was offered before his junior year.

“I was getting a bunch of calls from schools, but I wasn’t getting any offers,” Treg Setty said. “It was early on. I didn’t really expect to, but (SIU) called, and right when I talked to Coach Lowery, the first thing he said was he wanted to offer (a scholarship). I barely even knew him, but I knew right then that, heck, if he’s offering the first time he calls me, he obviously wants me.”

Korn said it was refreshing to recruit someone who already knew as much about the program as Treg Setty did.

“He knew stuff from not just recent, but he knew our ‘past’ past real well, too,” Korn said. “It wasn’t like he was a kid who’s an hour away — he’s six hours away, so I thought that was pretty impressive. You know that was a kid who wanted to be here.”

Treg Setty committed when the Salukis were just a year removed from their last Sweet Sixteen and NCAA Tournament appearance, but he said the struggles of the last few years didn’t deter him from coming here.

“I honestly didn’t even look into that. I paid attention and listened to what the coaches said, but I never really looked into how they were doing,” Treg Setty said. “Once I committed, it was kind of a done deal. I didn’t want to do anything that would strain me away from them because I felt comfortable.”

Treg Setty said Lowery was actually the first one to bring up the team’s recent struggles during a visit to Treg Setty’s high school, Mason County, after he already committed.

Now Treg Setty is part of a recruiting class that features nine newcomers, including five freshmen. Treg Setty is fourth on the team with 24.8 minutes per game, and Lowery said he likes the mismatches Setty has against other forwards.

“Most of his shots aren’t lay-ups. He creates lay-ups, and I think that’s off the bounce,” Lowery said. “Everybody knows his reputation. They’re running at him to shoot threes, and he’s doing a good job of getting by them.”

Treg Setty said he likes the role he has with the team. Even though they’ve gotten off to a 1-3 start this season, he said he likes where the team can go in the next four years.

Korn said he’s excited for the opportunity to coach such a versatile player, even though they see him strictly as a forward who has the skills of a guard.

“If you ask him, he’s going to be running the point next year, cause he thinks he‘s the next Gordon Hayward,” Korn said with a laugh. “He gives us an offensive punch that we’re lacking right now. He’s very crafty, knows the game well. A lot of stuff he has you can’t teach. He just does it instinctively on the court.”

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