Lowery inks third recruit to 2005 class

By Gus Bode

Guru:SIU thumping MVC in recruiting

Although he returned to his alma mater at Purdue, the aura of Matt Painter in Indiana helped the SIU men’s basketball team nab its third commitment of the 2005 recruiting class in rising senior prospect Jordan Armstrong of Muncie Central (Ind.).

Armstrong, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward widely considered one of the top prospects in the state of Indiana next season, joins Nick Rogers and Josh Tabb as the current members of the Salukis’ 2005 class with one scholarship left.


“He did commit. … I think a large part of it is the success of the program of recent years and obviously what opportunities there are academically,” said Jim Reamer, Armstrong’s AAU coach. “I will say Jordan’s relationship with coach Painter put SIU in a prime position; Painter is a basketball legend in Muncie. His success helped get Southern Illinois jumpstarted. And Lowery put the emphasis on where Jordan fits.”

The honorable mention all-state selection committed Saturday morning, having already visited the campus earlier in June with his parents. Armstrong said that his visit, along with the strong business program at SIU, clinched his decision.

“I went there for a visit, and it was great,” said Armstrong, who had been offered by Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (OH) and Indiana State. “Coach Painter was the one who started recruited me and coach Lowery just welcomed me there. … My role is going to be as a swingman. I think they brought me in to bring some excitement.

“They are going to see a lot of excitement. Fans are going to get all they can handle. [And] I am going to be just as good off the court.”

Armstrong, who enjoyed a solid but not spectacular junior season, has his best basketball ahead of him, said Reamer, who believes his athleticism is ideal for the brand of basketball the Salukis employ. There are no worries about his grades, either, as Armstrong has already qualified.

“Mostly to this point, he has been an inside player,” Reamer said. “He has been expanding his offense to the perimeter … He will be able to adapt quickly to Southern Illinois’ style. He is a very good defender. His defense has been ahead of his offense.”

The Saluki coaching staff now figures to turn its attention to filling up the remaining scholarship with a point guard. The Salukis are in the running for several high-major prospects, such as former Carbondale Community High School star Justin Dentmon and Bryan Mullins of Downers Grove.


Brian Stinnette, publisher of Chicagohoops.com, said SIU is in good position with a number of talented point guards, and as of now, appear to be clearly compiling the top class for 2005 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

“It is definitely shaping up that way; Southern Illinois is definitely in a strong position to once again have the top recruiting class in the Missouri Valley,” Stinnette said. “Right now, SIU’s class is shaping up to be a great one. Even if they did not sign another player, it would be outstanding.”