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Thursday, Nov. 11

ISU inks Dunson, Fortes, Holtz and Williams

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[NOV. 11, 2004]  NORMAL -- With three potential 1,000-point scoring guards gone at the end of the 2004-05 season, Illinois State head coach Porter Moser and his staff focused on the backcourt during the early signing period Wednesday by signing the No. 2-ranked backcourt in the state of Illinois according to ChicagoHoops.com, a junior college sharpshooter considered a high-major player by Roundball Review, and the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association Preseason Player of the Year.

Moser signed Bloomington High School products Dodie Dunson and Brandon Holtz and junior college stars Roberto Fortes, from Daytona Beach Community College, and Wayne Williams, from South Georgia Technical College, to the 2005 recruiting class.

The Purple Raider tandem have played together since sixth grade, and Moser is looking forward to their collegiate careers at Illinois State.

"You can't put a value on what it means for these two young men to grow up in this town and have seen Illinois State when it was on top," Moser said. "The passion and desire they have to be at Illinois State in their hometown -- that means a lot to me."

A 6-foot-2 point guard, Dunson averaged 16 points, 4.9 assists and 2.9 steals per game, while helping BHS to a 24-4 record in 2003-04. A two-time all conference selection and All-Pantagraph Area selection, Dunson earned fourth-team Class AA all-state honors last season.

"Dodie brings so many things to the table," Moser said. "He's a point guard, he can score, and he can pass. I think that when his body develops he will become an outstanding defender. He has explosive athletic ability, and I love the fact that he has been around our program a lot. He's watched practices, he's watched games, and he has an idea of the mindset that I want here."

Like most people in the community, Dunson is a believer in Moser's vision for the Illinois State basketball program.

"I really like the coaching staff and the excitement that coach Moser has brought to the program," Dunson said regarding his decision. "I played with the players all summer, and I was just really impressed with their team chemistry and how hard they played for coach Moser. It's going to be fun (to continue my career) with Brandon. We never thought there would be a chance to play together in college, but it worked out and we're both just glad it's going to happen at ISU."

Holtz, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, averaged 20.1 points per game for BHS last season, while collecting five rebounds and three assists per contest. As a junior, Holtz converted 81 treys, while shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc. He earned first-team all-Big 12 honors and was a Pantagraph All-Area selection, while receiving honorable mention honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class AA all-state team.

"Brandon has a toughness about himself that is what I'm all about," Moser said. "His competitiveness, his fire, his passion and his toughness is the mindset that I want in this program. Losing Trey, Gregg and Vince, obviously we are going to be losing a lot of shooting ability. We identified Brandon as one of the best shooters in our state -- hands down."

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Holtz is fully aware of Illinois State's long-standing tradition and wants to help Moser restore it.

"I grew up watching Illinois State, and ISU was the first college team I really knew," Holtz said. "I was in town when (Dan) Muller and (Rico) Hill were here, and I hope to bring that kind of toughness to the program. I picked ISU because it's always nice to be able to play in front of family and friends. I know the coaches and players real well, and I see an opportunity to play with the seniors that are going to be leaving."

Fortes, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard, averaged 13.4 points per game last season at Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College, while leading the Eagles to a 21-8 record. He shot 46 percent from the field, including 41 percent on treys. Moser expects Fortes to have an instant impact with the 'Birds next season.

"Roberto is going to come in with 70 games of experience under his belt as a two-year starter for Daytona," Moser said. "He has the ability to score and make shots in bunches. He will bring us some instant scoring from the perimeter, especially from behind the arc. At 6-foot-4, he is very athletic and long for a guard."

An all-state player at Fort Wayne (Ind.) North Side High School, Fortes moved from Angola when he was 9 years old.

"I really liked the team chemistry," said Fortes. "I was really impressed with how well everyone got along. I really felt comfortable with coach Moser and the players. They showed me how much they wanted and needed me, and I wanted to go to a place where I felt I could help make the team better."

Williams, who already has South Georgia Technical College off to a 3-0 start this season, is averaging 19.3 points, 3.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds per contest. A product of Evans High School in Orlando, Fla., Williams is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound combo guard. Last season, while playing only about 18 minutes a game for the Jets, Williams averaged 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

"Wayne can play three positions for us," Moser said. "With his size and being that versatile, he is extremely athletic and strong. He has tremendous ball-handling ability and is explosive taking it to the basket."

Williams is also looking forward to joining the Redbirds next season.

"The team and the coaching staff just made me feel really comfortable when I was there," Williams said. "I just loved the whole environment at Illinois State, and it's going to be a great fit for me. I'm going to bring an exciting style of play. I have a good understanding of the game and I play with a lot of athleticism."

[Todd Kober, assistant athletics director, media relations,
Illinois State University]

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