JALC’s Wheeler chooses Central Missouri
John A. Logan College redshirt freshman and Du Quoin native, Connor Wheeler, has accepted a scholarship offer to play basketball next fall at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
A 6-foot-2 point guard, Wheeler averaged 8.6 points, 4.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game this past season with the Volunteers. He was also an excellent free-throw shooter, knocking down 84 percent of his attempts.
“I am very excited to be going to Central Missouri,” Wheeler said. “I really enjoyed my visit there and feel the school will be a good fit for me.”
The Mules put together a 22-8 record this past season under head coach Kim Anderson – the 10th straight season of 18 wins or more – and made their 21st trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament, the sixth under Anderson. Central Missouri has also won the second-most games in Division II men’s basketball history at 1,585 and recently concluded its 108th season of men’s basketball.
“Central Missouri is everything I ever wanted from a four-year school and am glad that I will have three years of eligibility there instead of two,” Wheeler said. “There is even a legitimate chance to compete for a national championship. It’s hard to ask for more. I can’t wait to get started.”
A prolific scorer at Du Quoin High School two years ago, Wheeler first enrolled at Illinois Wesleyan University. After injuring his leg, he chose to redshirt, meaning that he could only practice with the team last year, but maintained four years of college athletic eligibility.
Wheeler then transferred to Logan, where he underwent a transformation from scorer as a shooting guard to table setter at the point. And the transformation couldn’t have gone much smoother as he was named Second Team Great Rivers Athletic All-Conference and Second Team All-Region 24.
“Leaving Logan is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make,” Wheeler said. “If we were a four-year school, I’d be staying. That’s how much I have loved it here.”
Vols head coach Kyle Smithpeters said he knew there would be a chance he would lose Wheeler after one season as he is an academic qualifier, making him more attractive to coaches at four-year schools.
“I knew that the more people saw him play, the more they would appreciate Connor’s value to a team,” Smithpeters said. “Connor’s a good kid. He makes everyone around him better. I am confident that he will do a fine job at Central Missouri. We thank him for his service here and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Page 2 of 2 - An education major, Wheeler said he plans to work hard this spring and summer with the Logan coaches in preparation for his next challenge.