Harrellson Gets His Release

The recruitment of Josh Harrellson is going to get crazy here soon. The freshman center at Southwestern Illinois College could be released from his letter-of-intent to Western Illinois early next week, and schools from all over the country appear poised to come after him.

Harrellson signed with Western Illinois and coach Derek Thomas during the fall of his senior year at St. Charles (Mo.) High School. But at some point during his final year of high school, Harrellson decided he did not want to go to WIU and instead headed to SWIC in Belleville, Ill.

The 6-foot-9, 270-pound center has not been able to talk to schools, but he will be able to soon. Harrellson learned on Thursday that Western Illinois, which fired Thomas after the season, was going to release the SWIC center.

"There's some paperwork that I have to get done and send in," Harrellson said on Friday afternoon. "I should have it in by Monday."

Harrellson averaged 18.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game as a high school senior and earned St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro second-team accolades for his performance.

In his freshman season at SWIC, Harrellson averaged 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds and was named to the Great Rivers Athletic Conference's all-conference team.

"There are a lot of schools that heard about my release and have called my coach," Harrellson said.

The freshman center said Ohio State, Missouri, Saint Louis, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa State, Iowa and Washington State have all expressed interest through SWIC coach Jay Harrington.

"Coach Harrington said his phone never stops ringing," Harrellson said.

With Harrellson's release coming at the beginning of a recruiting dead period, the big man will have a chance to look into the long list of interest schools before he gets to talk to any of the coaches.

Then, he has to decide what he's looking for in a Division I school.

"Somewhere I can step in and play right away," Harrellson said. "Somewhere I can call home, where I'd be comfortable playing and be satisfied with myself."

Part of that decision will be whether or not Harrellson wants to stay close to home and play at a school like Missouri, Saint Louis or Illinois, or venture farther to a school like Ohio State, Kentucky or Washington State.

"Distance might play a key factor," he said. "If I go to a university and really like it, it doesn't matter how far away it is. I have some family issues. I want to kind of stay close but not too close."

The next step for Harrellson will be to do his homework about whatever schools may be interested and to trim a list of schools down to five that he can take official visits to.

As soon as the dead period is over, interested schools will be flocking to Belleville to take a closer look at the freshman center.

"Coach Harrington said next Friday when the dead period is over there are going to be tons of coaches coming to see me play," Harrellson said.

Josh Harrellson Profile

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