September 18, 2017

CARTERVILLE — Incoming freshmen players for the John A. Logan College Vols basketball team include two players from the two top teams in Chicago.

Antwan Campbell, a 6’2” guard, comes from the famed Simeon High School. Simeon is a perennial favorite to win the Class 4A championship in Illinois. Campbell’s team came in second this year, falling in a heartbreaking overtime loss.

Melo Burrell, a 6’6” forward, played for Morgan Park High School. Morgan Park played Simeon for the 2017 Chicago City League championship. Simeon prevailed 68-64, despite Burrell’s 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots.

Morgan Park went on to win the Class 3A state title. Former Chicago Bear and now linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, Martellus Bennett, bought Burrell and his teammates state championship rings.

Both players come from high schools with a rich history for success. Derrick Rose, NBA All-Star and MVP, played at Simeon. Mae Jemison, a Morgan Park graduate, was a NASA astronaut and the first African-American woman in space.

“We’ve got kids playing for us this year that bring a lot of pride to the hardwood,” said Kyle Smithpeters, Vols head coach. “We have a really good group of young men who will be very successful on the floor and after basketball.”

Smithpeters said overall this year’s team “has great skill. Our guards are as skilled and deep as we have been since I have been here. We have several guys that can really hit shots. Our leadership has been phenomenal from our sophomores. The mentoring they have given the younger guys has been some of the best I have seen.”

Two other “younger guys” from Marion. Justin Shadowens who played for Marion High School and Will Keller who played for Agape Christian High School.

The Vols also have a 7-foot player from West Frankfort, Aaron Twist.

Other players include: Ronnie Carson is a 6’1” guard from Lexington, Ky.; Derek Hawthorne, Jr., is a 6’3” guard from Indianapolis, In.; David Sloan, a freshman, is a 6’0” guard from Louisville, Ky.; Jonah Jackson, 6’3” freshman from Merrillville, In.; Jaiveon Eaves, 6’3” sophomore from Madisonville, Ky.; Ben Moss, 5’10” sophomore from Owensboro, Ky.; Vonnie Patterson, a 6’5” freshman from Louisville, Ky.; Quamain Nelson, 6’7” from Great Falls, S.C.; and Damion Taylor, 6’7” sophomore from St. Louis, Mo.