SIU-Edwardsville announced addition of Mitch Gilfillan to coaching staff

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SIU-Edwardsville head coach Lennox Forrester has completed his coaching staff for the 2013-14 season, as it was announced that former Ball State assistant Mitch Gilfillan has made the move to the Ohio Valley Conference school.

Gilfillan spent the last four seasons at Ball State as an assistant to Billy Taylor, who was replaced by former Arizona associate head coach James Whitford in the spring. That change ultimately led Gilfillan to Edwardsville, where he joins associate head coach Matt Laur and assistant Deryl Cunningham on Forrester’s staff.

“I want to thank Coach Forrester and SIUE for the opportunity to join the men’s basketball program,” Gilfillan said in the release. “SIUE is filled with promise and potential in one of the most underestimated conferences in the country – the OVC.  I want to help the Cougars reach new heights on and off the court.”

As for Laur, he’d been a member of Forrester’s staff for the last five seasons before receiving his promotion to associate head coach. The Cougars will look to rebound from a 9-18 campaign in 2012-13, and they’ll need to account for the graduation of leading scorer Jerome Jones (16.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and leading rebounder Mark Yelovich (11.6, 5.9) in order to do so.

Junior guard Kris Davis is the Cougars’ leading returnee, as he averaged 11.7 points per game in 2012-13.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

One-time Saint Louis guard Christian Salecich joins SIU-Edwardsville program

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After playing one season at Missouri Southern, one-time Saint Louis guard Christian Salecich was not allowed to play during the 2012-13 season.

Why? Salecich played a year of basketball in Australia after graduating from high school, but before enrolling at SLU, resulting in the NCAA denying Missouri Southern’s request for an eligibility waiver.

Apparently he’s regained that lost season of eligibility, as Salecich announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he’ll be able to play at SIU-Edwardsville next season.

Prior to averaging 6.3 points per game in his lone season at Missouri Southern, Salecich averaged 4.5 points per game in two seasons at Saint Louis. Salecich joins Tim Johnson, who averaged 7.3 points per game in his first season at SIU-Edwardsville after transferring in from Tulane, as the lone seniors in the backcourt for the Cougars.

Head coach Lennox Forrester has now added five newcomers to the program this offseason, with three being junior college transfer. He’ll also be able to call on transfers Donivine Stewart and Grant Fiorentinos, who both had to sit out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Hutchinson CC guard Rozell Nunn headed to SIU-Edwardsville

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On Sunday the SIU-Edwardsville program added yet another upperclassman to its roster, as it was announced that Hutchinson (Kan.) CC guard Rozell Nunn has decided to spend his final two years of eligibility at the Ohio Valley Conference school.

Nunn, a 6-3 guard from Kansas City, started 33 of the 34 games in which he played and posted averages of 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Hutchinson. He and the rest of the Blue Dragons managed to lead Hutch to its first NJCAA Division I tournament appearance in 16 years.

Hutchinson finished the season with a 31-4 record and a Region VI title. Also on that team was guard D’Von Campbell, who has since signed on to play at Rutgers for first-year head coach Eddie Jordan.

SIU-Edwardsville head coach Lennox Forrester has added four newcomers this offseason, with three being junior college transfers. Nunn joins fellow JUCO transfers Cameron Craig (6-foot point guard) and Keaton Jackson (6-9 forward), and 6-6 freshman wing Deangelo Stewart.

SIU-E will also have the services of transfers Grant Fiorentinos and Donivine Stewart, who sat out after making moves from Tulane and Bradley respectively. Fiorentinos, a 6-10 forward/center from Cape Town, South Africa, gives the Cougars a much-needed body in the paint while Stewart will factor into the rotation at point guard.

SIU-E finished the 2012-13 season with a record of nine wins and 18 losses, going 5-11 in OVC play. The Cougars lost seven of their last eight games to end the season, just missing out on a spot in the OVC tournament.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.