By Braden Layer
---- — Gone are the days when Jacob Schuette lit up opposing defenses in the Enlow Center, combining his smooth shooting stroke with an uncanny ability to create space from any defender. Although St. Anthony fans will no longer be treated to his offensive assault of the basket on game nights, an entirely new program will reap the benefits of his many talents.On Monday, Schuette signed a letter of intent to play college basketball at Illinois Central College in Peoria, and to be coached under Illinois Fighting Illini great Tony Wysinger.Wysinger, who holds the Illinois record for assist-to-turnover ratio, knows how to identify talent, and he said Schuette has what it takes to make an impact with the Cougars."After you saw him once or twice as a coach, you said, 'He's a guy we need to get,'" Wysinger stated confidently. "He's someone that understands the game. His IQ, coming in as a freshman, that's what I'm looking for."Schuette used his vast array of weapons and basketball smarts to score more than 1,000 points in his high school career. Having already earned a scholarship offer from the Cougars to join their junior college program before his senior season with St. Anthony began, Schuette decided to wait until after the year finished to make his decision.In the end, Schuette turned toward the close-knit bonds he had formed with Wysinger and assistant coach Dave Best."I probably felt the most comfortable with them as coaches and the guys (on the team), so I decided to commit there and sign there," Schuette said.Best watched Schuette closely at AAU tournaments and during the school seasons, but what really sealed the deal was the recruit's visit to campus."We finally got him to school to play against some of the guys, to look at that competition level," Wysinger said. "He fit right in. His knack to score, that's one of the things we missed this year, and we addressed it."In order to make a deep impact as a freshman, Schuette will get to work this offseason developing quicker feet, as he will have to guard better athletes on the defensive end.
That, and an improved 3-point shot, will determine just how big a splash he can make."For us to be successful, he's going to have to be able to stretch the floor more than he did in high school," Wysinger said. "But when he was playing with other guys who understand the game as well as he does, he fit into the concepts."Schuette is hoping he will fit in nicely with his new teammates and coaching staff, and that it will propel him to new heights. He said he wants to fine tune his skills at ICC, and ultimately make it to college basketball's top level."I want to become not just an average player, but a great player," Schuette said. "The reason I picked (ICC) is because those two coaches are going to do what's best for me. My next goal after those two years is to play Division I college basketball."
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com