Redhawks sign JUCO player for frontcourt

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball program has landed a junior college forward/center who coach Gary Garner believes will provide the Redhawks with needed punch inside.

Garner announced Tuesday that Andrais Thornton, the most valuable player last season at SMS-West Plains Community College, signed a national letter of intent with the Redhawks.

Thornton, a 6-foot-8, 220-pounder, averaged 13.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He shot 55 percent from the field and 61 percent from the free-throw line while adding 50 assists and 33 steals. He grabbed 121 offensive rebounds, twice as many as anybody else on the squad.

"He is an outstanding rebounder, and with the graduation losses of Reggie Golson and Dainmon Gonner, we felt we needed to sign a proven rebounder," Garner said. "He can play the 4 or 5 position, and we really feel good about his ability to step in and give us immediate help."

Thornton, a native of Chicago, Ill., played his freshman season at Colby (Kan.) Community College, where he was the starting power forward for a team that was ranked as high as second nationally. He will have two seasons of eligibility at Southeast.

"He is a very good athlete," Garner said. "We feel really good about signing him."

Thornton is the third player to sign with Southeast this spring, joining 6-6 forward John Chappell, a sophomore at Highland (Ill.) Community College, and 6-4 guard Eric Jones, a senior at Webster Groves High School in the St. Louis area.

Southeast will probably sign at least two more players in the next few weeks.

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