Tyler Smithpeters is staying a Dog.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Harrisburg High School gave a verbal commitment to Southern Illinois University over the weekend morning, where he received a full-ride scholarship to play basketball for the Salukis.
The call from Southern Illinois University head coach Barry Hinson to the Smithpeters household Friday night was something of a shock to Tyler, but one that he definitely didn't mind answering.
"I wasn't even sure about SIU because I didn't think they had a scholarship to give me," Tyler said. "I'm very excited and being able to be a part of SIU is going to be a lot of fun."
As of Tuesday of last week, SIU was still part of Tyler's options, as he was also planning to take a visit to Evansville. Being a part of Tyler's brothers' team at John A. Logan College where Kyle is head coach was also an option for Smithpeters.
Kyle also played at Southern Illinois University after a two-year stint at Southeastern Illinois College.
Tyler wasn't afraid to get family involved in helping him make this decision for him.
Harrisburg High School head coach and Tyler's father Randy Smithpeters said the decision to go to SIU is one that his son is very familiar and comfortable with.
"I can tell you Tyler is very happy and very excited," Randy said Saturday morning. "Tyler is familiar with the program and the tradition that SIU has. Plus, he now has the opportunity to stay close to family and he has brothers that go to SIU. It should be a perfect fit."
Tyler said that in the end, SIU was where he wanted to go all along.
"After coach Hinson called dad Friday night and we talked things over, I called him before I went into work Saturday and told him I would accept the offer."
Smithpeters said that SIU will send paperwork in the early part of this week and Tyler will sign his National Letter of Intent when that paperwork arrives.
Smithpeters joins a very short list of local athletes that have played for SIU.
The last was Carbondale product Nick Evans (2008-2010), former Centralia standout Matt Shaw (2004-2008)) and one of SIU's greats in Kent Williams (1999-2003).
Smithpeters led the Bulldogs in scoring this season as he averaged 18 points per game and helped lead Harrisburg to the school's first ever Class 2A State Basketball Championship as Harrisburg beat Seton Academy in Peoria in March.
In that championship game, Smithpeters scored a game-high 23 points.
Smithpeters finished second on the all-time scoring list at Harrisburg High School as he finished his career with 1,641 points.
Smithpeters will be Hinson's sixth recruit for next season, joining fellow guards Mike Balogun, Hunter Gibson and K.C. Goodwin. Forwards include Sean O' Brien and Jordan Martin.
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