Men’s basketball completes latest fall recruiting class

Anthony Catezone, Managing Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team completed its fall recruiting class Tuesday with the addition of Marshawn Blackmon.

Blackmon joins fellow guards A.J. Riley and Casey Teson, along with forward Lucas Jones, who all signed with the Panthers last week to open the fall signing period.

A 6-foot-4 guard, Blackmon comes out of Fort Zumwalt South High School in Missouri under coach Bill Friedel. Blackmon earned All-Gateway Central Conference and All-District honors, leading the team to a 23-6 record, reaching the Elite Eight of the Missouri Class 5A State Tournament as a junior.

“Marshawn is a hard-playing, athletic guy,” Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour said in a press release. “He really works at all areas of his game and he’s willing and able to do the dirty work required for his team to win. It’s not a coincidence that his teams win a lot of games.”

In two seasons as a starter, he has helped the school post a 43-13 record

He averaged 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and shot 60 percent from the field. Last year, Blackmon set the single-season school record for 2-point field goals made (194) and rebounds (252).

As a sophomore, he was the team’s second leading scorer with 10.5 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the field and averaging 5.7 rebounds per game.

Meanwhile, Jones is a 6-foot-7 forward that currently plays at Shawnee Mission East High School in Kansas.

As a junior, he earned honorable mention All-State honors averaging 14 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game for coach Shawn Hair. He shot 55 percent from the field, 78 percent from the free throw line and 35 percent from 3-point range.

“Lucas is a very active, tough, competitive player,” Spoonhour said. “Fundamentally, he has the ball skills to make the right plays, and knows the plays to make.”

Riley is a 6-foot-4 guard that currently plays at John A. Logan College for coach Kyle Smithpeters. As a freshman at John A. Logan, he averaged 7.8 points and 1.9 assists per game.

This season, through five games, Riley has averaged 12 points, five rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. He played high school basketball at Peoria Manual where he was rated a 3-Star recruit by Scout.com and ESPN.com after leading his school to a Class 3A Sectional semifinal appearance as a junior.

“(Riley) can do a variety of things,” Spoonhour said. “He makes ‘point-guard plays’ regardless of where he is playing on the floor. He can drive it, score in the post and he is a really good rebounder.”

Teson is a 6-foot-2 guard that currently plays at St. Charles High School in Missouri for coach Rick Foster. A two-time All-State selection, Teson needs 30 3-pointers this season to become the school record holder for 3-pointers made in a career.

He currently ranks sixth on the all-time school scoring list with 1,219 points. He has been a first-team, All-League selection three times and the Gateway Athletic North Conference Player of the Year each of the last two seasons.

As a junior, he averaged 17.5 points per game making 48 3-pointers and shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. He added 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

“Everybody likes guys that make shots, and (Teson) can certainly do that,” Spoonhour said.  “I wouldn’t say he is just a shooter, though.  He scores in a lot of different ways and he handles the ball and passes as well as anyone.  He has produced against the best players in the country.”

Anthony Catezone can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]