From a 'Dog to a Dawg.
Harrisburg's Tyler Smithpeters lucked out mascot wise when he signed with Southern Illinois University late last spring.
As far as comparisons, that's about it for the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Saluki freshman, who prepares for his first game in the maroon and white unis Saturday when SIU takes on Harris-Stowe at 7:05 p.m. at the SIU Arena.
It's one of two exhibition games that Smithpeters is expected to see action in.
After that, it's believed that SIU head coach Barry Hinson will make a decision as to redshirt Smithpeters or not.
From adapting to class schedules, to a change in color scheme, Smithpeters has run the gamut in his first year at Southern Illinois University.
The biggest difference for Smithpeters, "Not seeing my dad everyday in practice."
Smithpeters, along with his father Randy, led Harrisburg to last year's Class 2A State Championship, the program's first, when they beat Seaton Acadmemy.
Harrisburg finished 33-1 last year as Smithpeters was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Assocation's All-State First-Team and was named Southern Illinoisan Co-Player of the year (with teammate Capel Henshaw).
Smithpeters averaged 17.5 points per game, along with six assists and 4.7 rebounds, while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range.
Smithpeters displayed his 3-point shooting expertise at SIU's Annual Fan Jam as he narrowly lost to Desmar Jackson in the 3-point shootout.
When asked about his first clue that he's not in Harrisburg anymore, Smithpeters was quick with a response.
"The biggest one is you can't take plays off here. I took a lot of plays off in high school and now in practice if you take a play off, the coaches really get after you."
Smithpeters admitted to the wear and tear his body took in the first couple of weeks in the camp, adding that he's now learn to accept and appreciate getting in the weight room.
"I don't know how many ice baths I have taken in the last two months, but my body is starting to get used to it. It's getting a lot better," Smithpeters said. "Boot camp was one of the hardest thing I have ever done in my life for sure. Being mentally tough was more important than being physically tough. We are in the weight room four times a week right now and sometimes I will go in the morning to get an extra lift in. I need it and I know it."
On the notion that Smithpeters does not receive a red shirt, he says he's ready.
"I'll just go out there and play hard when I'm asked too and do what I can do to help this team win some ballgames."
Page 2 of 2 - If Hinson does decide to give Smithpeters a red shirt, the freshman is also comfortable with that decision.
"It will be fine. For me, I look at it as another year to get the feel of college under my belt and really work on improving my game. "
Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.