Two Saluki freshmen to redshirt this season

By Aaron Graff

Two SIU men’s basketball players will spend this season watching from the sidelines but keep a year of eligibility.

Coach Barry Hinson announced Thursday that freshman guard Armon Fletcher and freshman forward Austin Weiher are redshirting this year to prepare for next season.

“I’m definitely happy. I get an extra year to get better and learn the game more,” Weiher said.

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The Salukis are left with 12 players who are eligible to play this season. Hinson said the team has a plethora of guards, but do not have a lot of depth with its big men.

The NCAA allows athletes to complete four seasons of eligibility in five years.

“When I interviewed for this job, I told them it was imperative for us to get to fourth and fifth year seniors with our basketball program,” Hinson said. “I have personally witnessed it on both sides.”

Hinson said when he was an assistant at Kansas, Northern Iowa defeated the Jayhawks in the national tournament because of its extra experience.

“It’s the only denominator that we have that we can compete with the BCS programs down the stretch,” He said.

Hinson said he would have liked to redshirt three players, but could not.

“We’ve allowed ourselves to prepare for injury, sickness, suspension and the all, ‘we never know what’s going to happen’,” He said.

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The Salukis now have five players on the roster who have redshirted at one point in their career. Freshman K.C Goodwin redshirted last season. He said he is happy with the decision looking back.

“For a minute you’re going to be mad, but at the end of the day it’s good for you,” Goodwin said. “You get to learn more and see. It’s better to sit back and watch before you step in.”

Hinson said it is the athlete’s decision to redshirt, but he usually makes a convincing argument to them if he wants them to do so. He said the team considered redshirting freshman guard Chaz Glotta.

“He didn’t want redshirt,” Hinson said. “We talked to him about it, we gave him the option if he would want to do this. It was my recommendation that he not redshirt because I do think there will be a time this year when Glotta will hit three or four [three-pointers] in a ballgame and help us win a game.”

Weiher said he will be practicing and weight lifting this season to get better.

Hinson said redshirted freshmen have to work just as hard as everyone else, but it pays off in the end.

“100 percent of the kids that I have redshirted have been just as happy as can be,” Hinson said. “I’ve always thought you’re a lot better at 23 than you are at 18.”

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected], on Twitter @Aarongraff_DE or 536-3311 ext. 269

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