Harrellson Getting Close to Decision

Southwestern Illinois College freshman Josh Harrellson has narrowed his college choice down to two schools and made official visits to both. Now the 6-foot-9 center has the difficult task of choosing between the two schools: Saint Louis and Kentucky.

"I'm torn between the two," Harrellson said on Monday night. "I'm not leaning toward anybody right now."

Harrellson, who grew up a short drive from the SLU campus in St. Charles, Mo., made his official visit to Kentucky two weeks ago and visited Saint Louis this past weekend.

He enjoyed both visits, likes both basketball programs and their coaches.

So what was the difference between the two schools?

"I guess distance," Harrellson said, "that's the main difference."

The next step for Harrellson, he said, is to do some homework. The SWIC freshman is going to take a closer look at both Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie and Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus, review information about both schools, their academic programs and anything else he can think of.

It's going to be a tough decision.

It wasn't nearly as difficult when he committed to Western Illinois before his senior season at St. Charles High School. WIU coach Derek Thomas was one of the few coaches to recruit Harrellson during high school and it paid off when the developing post player signed on with the Leathernecks.

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.

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 Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Ill.

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.

Harrellson was not a recruitable athlete until recently, when Western Illinois released him from his letter of intent. When that happened, Harrellson had schools from all over the country express interest.

In addition to Saint Louis and Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa State, Iowa, Washington State and UCLA were among the interested programs checking in on the big man.

At first Harrellson said he wanted to take all five of his official visits. But it didn't take long for two schools — SLU and Kentucky — to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Now that he's narrowed down the list to those two, Harrellson has to figure out which school is a better fit for him for the next three years.

At Saint Louis, Harrellson would become the Billikens' go-to guy in the middle for the next three seasons as either a power forward or center.

With the announcement that four players are transferring, SLU has only four players returning next year in seniors Kevin Lisch, Tommie Liddell III and Barry Eberhardt and sophomore Paul Eckerle. Eberhardt, a 6-6 forward, is the team's only returning post player.

The Billikens' recruiting class for next season features seven players, including five guards, along with 7-foot center Brett Thompson and 6-11 power forward Willie Reed. But both of those players have different strengths than Harrellson, a physical post player who at 260 pounds has a Division I-ready body.

Josh Harrellson Profile


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