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Smithpeters stays in state, signs Springfield big man

  • Lanphier's Kendall "KJ" Debrick (32) throws down a dunk against Southeast in the first half during the first night of the Boys City Tournament at the Bank of Springfield Center, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Springfield. Late last week, Debrick signed to continue his basketball career at John A. Logan College.

    Lanphier's Kendall "KJ" Debrick (32) throws down a dunk against Southeast in the first half during the first night of the Boys City Tournament at the Bank of Springfield Center, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Springfield. Late last week, Debrick signed to continue his basketball career at John A. Logan College.
    JUSTIN L. FOWLER | Springfield State Journal

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 8/2/2021 9:25 AM

The loss of a pair of 7-footers would be a gut punch to any college basketball program.
Kyle Smithpeters, men's head coach at John A. Logan College is looking to soften the blow by restocking the cupboards.
On Thursday, Smithpeters signed 6-foot-10 Springfield Lanphier graduate KJ Debrick.
Debrick, who was Central State Eight All-Conference his junior and senior campaign and was All-State and Big School Player Of The Year this past season said his decision to sign with JALC was built on the Volunteers tradition -- something Debrick wants to continue.
"What stood out to be about John A. Logan is how much of themselves they dedicate to focus on bettering a person. There is a great history of players that have come through the program. The things I bring to the team are my defense, rebounding, scoring and just being a great teammate."
In 14 games this past season, Debrick averaged a team-high 14.1 points per game and 9.5 rebounds a game, to go along with, 4-plus blocks per game.
Debrick is described as a great shot blocker with excellent footwork. He is a soft touch shooter and good rebounder.
He scored 197 points, 133 rebounds and 59 blocks this past season and 429 points (12.6 ppg) over 34 games in the 2019-2020 season. That year he had 245 rebounds (10.9) and 198 blocks (5.8).
Smithpeters noted that Debrick has great upside and is looking forward to witnessing his work ethic first hand.
""KJ has great upside. His improvement over the past 6 months is some of the best I have ever seen out of a player." His work ethic is exceptional and he is such a great kid."
In the paint this season, Debrick will be paired with Grambling State transfer Sarion McGee, who hails from Milwaukee Wisconsin and stands in at 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds.
Smithpeters;' roster is rounding into form as he will return 10 players including Derrick Reeves, Cam Alford, Teon Nesbitt, Dawson Yates, Jackson Connor Justin Johnson and Austin Garbe, along with transfers, Tujautae Williams (Tennessee Tech), Sean East (Bradley) and Cobie Barnes (Indiana State).

*Springfield State-Journal sports writer Ryan Mahan contributed to this article.


Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.