One of several dumb things sports columnists seem to enjoy doing is making predictions. We're no different than the others.
Before others jump on his wagon, we're predicting Anthony Beane, Jr., will some day be included among SIU's all-time basketball greats.
Anthony who, you may ask.
Anthony Beane, Jr., a freshman from Normal, Ill., who led his high school team to back-to-back Big 12 Conference championships in his last two prep seasons. Originally having committed to playing at Illinois State, he switched to SIU after his father accepted an assistant's position on Barry Hinson's coaching staff.
It's true that few were particularly impressed with Beane in SIU's two exhibition games or the season's opener at New Orleans, but we've seen enough of him in the Salukis' last two regular-season wins to be convinced. The 6-2, 171-pound guard is cool and collected on the court and he's our pick for the Missouri Valley Conference's all-freshman team. Who knows, he may even be named team captain.
Of course there were others who made major contributions in SIU's 71-55 win at Edwardsville Tuesday night, but Beane was the player who time after time came up with critical baskets. He displayed the poise of a veteran and we're not going to mention a lot of names, but the day may come when we will.
Beane was not in Hinson's starting lineup for SIU's season's opener at New Orleans and didn't necessarily attract too much attention with a 2-for-8 effort in 24 minutes of action. And the fact that he was on the bench at the start means he will be unable to match Mt. Vernon's Kent Williams' almost unbelieveable record of having started EVERY game of his four-year career at SIU.
Think about that one for a moment or two. Williams was on the floor at the start of every SIU game for four seasons -- 2000 thru 2003 -- a total of 130 games. No other player in SIU's history can make that claim. Only one other -- Jermaine Dearman -- played in 130 games.
Williams was SIU's scoring leader all four years of his career. Believe me, that, in all probability, will never be matched. Not even Charlie Vaughn led his team in scoring all four seasons, largely due to the fact he was academically ineligible for the second term of his senior year and played in just nine games. Nevertheless, Vaughn is SIU's all-time career scoring leader with 2,088 points (in 85 games) ahead of runnerup Williams' 2,012 in 130 games.
And despite our superb early impressions of young Beane, we're not ready to predict any such glorious achievement for him during the next four seasons at SIU.
We're just saying he'll be on the Valley's all-freshman team when it's announced prior to the 2013 tournament in St. Louis. And who knows, if the Salukis continue to improve on their 3-0 season's start, perhaps they can avoid the Thursday night playin games.
Page 2 of 2 - That, however, is a long way off.