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    April 18, 2000

    Chicago, Ill. - University of Illinois at Chicago men's basketball head coach Jimmy Collins has received a signed National Letter of Intent from four area athletes to play basketball for the Flames next season it was announced today.

    Committing to UIC are Aaron Carr, out of Lincoln Park High School, William Lewis, who played his high school ball at Curie High School, Lathaniel Staten, who hails from Gary, Ind., and played at Andrean High School and Armond Williams, from Austin High School.

    "These four players are very athletic, hard-nosed athletes that are a "go-out-there-and-get-after-it" bunch of guys," Collins said of his new signees. "They are all very athletic as well as aggressive and they will help us to improve all areas of our game."

    Carr, a 6-foot-4 forward, averaged 24.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg at Lincoln Park last season while earning Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and IBCA All-State honors as well as All-Public League First Team and all-area accolades. Additionally, Carr, who helped the Lions to a 21-9 overall record and a Public League Red North championship, was named a member of the Red-North All-Section squad and was a USA Today Honorable Mention All-USA Team. Last year, Carr was also one of five Chicagoans selected to participate in Team USA's Junior Olympic Trials.

    "Aaron is what we call an all-purpose player - he can play the point or he can play two or three positions for us. He will bring us tremendous versatility," Collins said. "Aaron is also a strong rebounder and he shoots best off the move."

    A 6-foot-4 guard, Lewis tallied 21.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 3.2 steals for Curie last year and went on to earn a spot on the Chicago Sun-Times All-Public League Fourth Team. An 82% free throw shooter and 42% three-point shooter, Lewis was also selected to the Red-West All-Section squad.

    "Will is a catch and spot up shooter who can also put it on the floor," Collins noted of Lewis. "He is also excellent at anticipating and getting into the passing lane, so he picks off a lot of steals."

    Staten, a 6-foot-2 guard, played the point for Andrean High School last season and averaged 18.5 ppg, second-most on the 59ers squad, while passing off 3.5 assists and shooting 45% from three-point range. Known for his tenacious defense, Staten was selected as a member of the Hammond Times All-Area Team and also earned honorable mention all-state accolades after helping lead the 59ers to a 24-3 overall record and a Class 3A state runner-up finish earlier this year.

    "Lathaniel is another versatile player who will be able to play the point or two position for us," Collins said. "He has tremendous vision on the court and I know our fans are going to like him because he can leap and pull off a two-handed dunk or the ally-oop."

    Williams, who showcased his talents recently at the UIC Pavilion as a member of Team Chicago at the Wendy's All-Star Shootout, scored 10 points in Team Chicago's 93-74 win over Team New York while he averaged 18.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 3.0 blocked shots at Austin High School last season. A 6-foot-5 guard and the Illinois High School Association Slam Dunk winner, Williams was named to the Chicago Sun-Times All-Public League Fourth Team as well as the Chicago Public League Red-West All-Section squad.

    "When I see Armond play, the first thing I think of is Nick Anderson," Collins said. "Armond is a world-class athlete. He has great timing and can catch the ally-oop pass. He's quick of foot and will present a lot of trouble on defense."

    Collins' four signees will join eight returnees from a 1999-2000 squad that finished with an overall record of 11-20 and 5-9 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.