Charles, Friday honored at Senior Day for men’s basketball team


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Kashawn Charles (left) and forward Sammy Friday IV (second from right) pose with head coach Marty Simmons (right) and Friday’s parents prior to the men’s basketball game on Feb. 26 in Lantz Arena. It was Senior Day for the Panthers, and Charles and Friday were honored with a ceremony on the court. Friday scored 13 points and Charles scored eigth points in the game, which the Panthers lost 64-52.

Autumn Schulz, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s basketball team said goodbye to two seniors Saturday evening during the team’s annual Senior Day at Lantz Arena.  

Kashawn Charles and Sammy Friday IV played their last game sporting a Panther’s uniform while wrapping up the first season of the Marty Simmons era. Simmons said that both Charles and Friday were awesome players to coach. 

“Great, great I mean Kashawn has the ability to score points and bundles and very aggressive offensive player,” Simmons said. “Sammy, just a tough, rugged, very talented player. He’s been banged up; he’s never used that as an excuse one time. He’s been a great leader both on the floor and in the locker room. You know, it’s been awesome to coach those guys.” 

Simmons said that if Charles and Friday could take one thing away from his coaching, he hopes that it would be to always pay attention to the little details in life.  

“The details, just paying attention to details, the little things not only on the basketball floor but in the classroom and out in the community,” Simmons said. “Just how important it is to pay attention to the little things.” 

The veteran players, despite only playing for Simmons for one season, helped set the standard for both incoming and current players. Last season, Friday set the best single-season field goal percentage in school history at 60 percent and Charles ranks 10th on the EIU career 3-pointers made list.  

Charles said that being able to show his teammates what to do on the floor has given him faith that the Panthers will be one of the top teams in the conference next year. 

“It feels good to just lay the foundation, I guess, for the new guys coming in and for the guys who are here because, you know, it’s only two of us and they got a lot of guys still left,” Charles said. “So, it’s good to just provide a showing on how to go about stuff and how to do stuff so next year when we go, they can just keep it going and probably turn this thing around. I got my faith in them for next year. They going to be one of the top teams, I believe.” 

Both Charles and Friday have been involved in the game of basketball for quite some time. They both could have wrapped up their careers with a different team once they knew that a coaching change was under way here at Eastern. However, they both said that a coaching change did not affect their decision to stay. 

“Well, I have five different head coaches, you know. I have been playing for six years, five different coaches, so it’s a lot,” Friday said. “I was like man, I’m not going to go somewhere else trying to learn a whole new system, I might as well stay. He’s a great coach and on top of that, I’m about to get my master’s degree.” 

“Same thing for me I am going to finish up my bachelor’s degree in May. So, I just wanted to stay, I just wanted to graduate, play a little basketball,” Charles said. “I mean I already had a bunch of different coaches, so a coaching change is not really that much of a thing for me.” 

It is clear that both Charles and Friday have left an impression on all their teammates and coaches throughout their careers. Freshman forward Paul Bizimana said that it was awesome to play with them both. 

“Oh man, it was cool playing with these two. You know, they definitely helped me coming in as a freshman. They definitely helped; they were definitely good leaders. It was awesome playing with them.”  


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]