Southern Illinois Lands First 2016 Commitment From Local Wing Forward

By Roy & Harv Schmidt

July 24, 2015

9:15 P.M. CST

We have repeatedly talked about the abundance of talent that exists in both the 2016 and 2017 classes in the St. Louis area, including the deep southern parts of the state of Illinois.  It is so deep that there is more than enough to go around at both the high and mid major levels.

With this being the case, it is only natural that one of the schools that has made that area the focal point of their recruiting efforts is Southern Illinois University.  And as it turns out, the Salukis are already reaping the rewards.  That is because 6'7 2016 wing forward Brendon Gooch from Althoff High School in Belleville, IL verbally committed tonight to SIU and head coach Barry Hinson.

Gooch's commitment was confirmed to us by Andre McMurray, his travel team coach with the Southwest Illinois Jets. Gooch ended up choosing the Salukis over scholarship offers from Western Illinois, San Jose State and Loyola.  

Prior to his pledge to SIU, we felt that Gooch was one of the more under the radar players in Illinois from the 2016 class. He is a high-energy wing who plays with a non-stop motor at both ends of the floor.  Gooch played extremely well during the spring when we watched him at the NIKE Spring Showdown and was even better last week at Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports, where we thought he ended up raising his stock as much as any player who attended that event.

With all of this said, it seemed as though the recruiting process was just getting started for Gooch and we felt as though he would wait to see how many additional offers would come in.  That is why this is a huge get for Hinson and the Salukis. Both Hinson and assistant coach Terrance McGee deserve heavy kudos for getting this one done early.  Both Hinson and McGee made Gooch a top recruiting priority from the time SIU offered a scholarship and watched him intently at Summer Jam.

In addition to being highly athletic, Gooch has proven that he sports a great deal of offensive versatility.  He handles the ball well, is a good passer and strong finisher on the break, pounds the glass and has shooting range that stretches out to the 3-point line.  Not only that, but Gooch also defends well in the open court, where he is disruptive as the result of his long wing span.  These are all reasons why Gooch ranks among our top 10 2016 prospects in Illinois.

Gooch plays on a loaded high school team at Belleville Althoff that will be one of the preseason favorites to win the Class 3A state championship in Illinois next season.  They sport at least two other D1 prospects in 6'4 2016 wing Tarkus Ferguson and 6'3 2017 2-guard Jordan Goodwin.

Gooch is the first commitment for the Salukis in their 2016 recruiting classes.  Hinson and his hard-working staff remain involved with numerous other local recruits in both 2016 and 2017. 

**********************************************************************************************

We welcome comments regarding this story or any other entry published by Illinois Prep Bulls-eye.  They can be made by e-mailing us at royandharv@ilprepbullseye.com

Continue to check in with Illinois Prep Bulls-eye for all of the latest as it pertains to recruiting and high school basketball in Illinois.