|Incoming ISU freshmen team up in IBCA All-Stars|
|Written by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 28 June 2011 17:12|
Illinois State incoming freshman Nick Zeisloft could only watch from the bench when his high school team, Lyons, ended its season on March 11 with a 64-51 loss to the Simeon Wolverines in an Illinois High School Association class 4A sectional final contest due to an ankle injury.
That was not the end of Zeisloft’s high school basketball career, however.
The 6-foot-4 guard, along with ISU newcomer Johnny Hill, concluded their respective high school basketball careers playing for the North team at the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association 3A/4A All-Star Game at the Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan Saturday.
The South team defeated the North, 99-93.
“It was nice to finally finish out my high school career playing in a game instead of being on the sidelines watching it [against Simeon],” Zeisloft said.
The IBCA All-Star game was also the start of a new beginning for Zeisloft, who played with ISU teammate Hill in a game for the first time.
“It is the start of a new career with my teammate [Hill] right here and it is nice to get it started in a low-key atmosphere,” Zeisloft said. “The next time it is going to be a big, hyped-up game.”
Hill cherished his initial experience on the court with Zeisloft, though the LaGrange, Ill., native was held scoreless.
“Our first game together was pretty good and we looked for each other a little bit,” Hill said.
Saturday night marked the end of Hill’s playing career with Glenbard East High School teammate Zach Miller, who is headed to Northern Illinois. In addition, Hill’s high school coach, Scott Miller coached the North squad.
“It was a good way to end a high school career, playing with my starting point guard and coach along for the ride,” Hill said. “It wasn’t as serious [compared to our games at the state finals in Peoria], but it was a great feeling and a great atmosphere.”
The Glendale Heights, Ill., native enjoyed the All-Star game environment and relished the opportunity to play alongside a number of talented players from across the state, including many who will be playing at Division I schools.
“It was just an All-Star game, but it was still fun,” Hill said. “It was a good atmosphere and there were a lot of people there and you’ve got the opportunity to play with some pretty good guys from some different schools.”
With their high school careers in the rear-view mirror, Zeisloft and Hill are now focused on college basketball.
The duo is working on transitioning from the high school to college game. Strength and quickness are two areas the newcomers are looking to improve on during the rest of the offseason.
“I need to get stronger for the college game,” Hill said. “We have been scrimmaging a lot here [at ISU] and it has been a lot quicker, so we just have to adjust to that. After we make a couple of adjustments, we will be fine.”
Hill believes the ISU men’s basketball team has had a productive summer thus far and knows the squad will work hard throughout the remainder of the offseason to improve.
“I think we have done a good job,” Hill said. “We just need to keep going hard in the weight room and work on our games individually and as a team.”
Guard Chasson Randle, who is headed to Stanford, led the South at the IBCA All-Star game with 22 points. Butler-bound Roosevelt Jones chipped in with 19 points and was named Most Valuable Player of the South squad.
A trio of Illinois recruits, Nnanna Egwu, Mike Shaw and Mychael Henry led the North with 18, 14 and 13 points, respectively. Egwu was named MVP for the North team.