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Thursday, Nov. 13

Dentmon, Onyeuku sign with Illinois State  Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 13, 2003]  NORMAL -- With his full-court, up-tempo style, Illinois State head coach Porter Moser has stressed the need of athleticism. He got his wish Wednesday with his first recruiting class at ISU when Justin Dentmon and Nedu Onyeuku (NEY-do oh-NEW-cue) signed their national letters of intent during the early signing period to continue their college careers at Illinois State.

"We started our initial recruiting in the spring on some of these kids, and by then some of them had been getting recruited for a year to a year and a half already," Moser said. "I thought we made up a lot of ground. The general statement from everyone at the junior college level is that we got a steal in Nedu. That's what I want to do. I want to be able to recruit guys that have the ability to be impact players in the Valley."

Ranked as the eighth best shooting guard in junior college this season by The Sporting News, Onyeuku will have two years remaining at Illinois State after transferring from Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. As a freshman with the Reivers, the Omaha, Neb., native averaged 13 points and shot 41 percent on 3-pointers. Iowa Western finished the season with a 25-6 record and was nationally ranked throughout the season.

"Nedu is going to bring us instant athleticism," Moser added. "He is a long, 6-3 guard and played in arguably one of the best junior college leagues in the country, where five of the last seven national championships have come from that league. He can slash and go get his shot. He can jump through the roof. He will bring instant athleticism and up-tempo play to our program."

As a high school senior at Creighton Prep in Omaha, Neb., Onyeuku averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists while leading the Junior Jays to a berth in the Nebraska State Tournament. His efforts earned him first team all-metro and second team all-Nebraska honors. He was also the 2001-02 Metro Slam Dunk champion with his 40-inch plus vertical leap.

"I think coming to Illinois State is a good move for me, and it's the place where I want to be," Onyeuku said. "The atmosphere was nice, all the people were nice, the coaches are cool, and it's just a perfect fit."

Onyeuku intends to major in business at Illinois State and is the oldest of three children. He is currently coached by Jim Morris at Iowa Western Community College and formerly by Reggie Morris at Creighton Prep.



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Dentmon, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound point guard from Carbondale averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds as a junior at Carbondale High School. Dentmon led the Terriers to a 24-6 mark last season and a regional championship.

"Justin is a highly ranked point guard in the state of Illinois," Moser said. "He's a strong, athletic guard. He can go up-tempo with his athleticism, and he is strong enough to create havoc on defense. He definitely fills a need for us with our depth at the point guard. He's really going to be an excellent player for us in the future."

The Terriers also won the South Seven Conference championship with a perfect 11-0 mark, while Dentmon was named first team all-conference. He also claimed honorable mention Class AA all-state honors and was named to the all-Southern Illinoisan team.

"I really liked the coaching staff, the facility and the players," Dentmon said. "I feel like I can come in and help their program. I'm a lead point guard that likes to score and pass."

A starter since his sophomore season, Dentmon is the oldest of five children and plans on majoring in art or art education. He is coached by Jim Miller.

"We don't have an abundance of scholarships to work with, so recruiting is going to be a main focal point in these first couple of years as we turn this thing around," Moser added. "The next need for the spring signing period will be size."

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

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