It's Official!!

May 11, 2000

Chicago, Ill. - UIC men's basketball coach Jimmy Collins received signed National Letters of Intent from Westinghouse's Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey to play for the Flames next season it was announced today. The duo ups UIC's total number of signees to six overall, including five players from Chicago's Public League, as Aaron Carr (Lincoln Park), William Lewis (Curie), Lathaniel Staten (Andrean) and Armond Williams (Austin) all committed to the Flames in mid-April.

"We are extremely pleased to have signed this outstanding Batman and Robin tandem which has one heck of a winning record," Collins said of Banks and Bailey. "They both add toughness and bring in knowledge of how to win games to this ballclub. They've played in front of large crowds and have not folded - they simply know how to win. I think Cedrick and Martell will both certainly fit in well with the UIC basketball program. "

Banks, a left-handed 6-foot-3 guard/forward and perhaps UIC's most heralded recruit, is considered to be the top player in Chicago as he was named First Team All-State by the Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Additionally, Banks, who averaged 18.8 ppg, 12.4 rpg and shot 75.9% from the free throw line, was hailed the Sun-Times Player of the Year while he also garnered USA Today Honorable Mention All-USA Team accolades as well as a spot on Parade Magazine's All-America Fourth Team.

Banks, who along with Bailey led Westinghouse to the state championship title game, an overall record of 31-2 and a final national ranking of ninth in the USA Today poll last season, tallied 22 points and six rebounds in the state championship game. Following the season, he and Bailey played for Team Chicago at the Wendy's All-Star Shootout with Banks chipping in 10 points and six assists in the 93-74 win over Team New York.

Considered one of the top 30 players in the country by recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons, Banks finished fifth in the voting for Illinois' Mr. Basketball, while he was also selected to the Chicago Public League's Red-West All-Section Team and the Sun-Times' All-Public League First Team.

Bailey, who could step right in and handle the point guard chores next season, is a 5-foot-10 guard who garnered First Team All-State honors from the Chicago Sun-Times and Second Team recognition by the Chicago Tribune and Associated Press. A member of the Public League All-Academic Team and the Red-West All-Section Team, Bailey averaged 14.5 ppg, 8.3 assists, 4.6 rpg and 4.1 steals for Westinghouse last season.

Like Banks, Bailey was also a USA Today Honorable Mention All-USA Team member and he finished 10th in the voting for Illinois' Mr. Basketball. After finishing the season with a 19-point, three-assist effort against Aurora West in the state championship game, Bailey went on to play for Team Chicago at the Wendy's All-Star Shootout where he contributed 13 points and six assists to Chicago's victory.

Banks and Bailey, who also teamed up to capture the AAU 17-and-under national championship last summer, helped Westinghouse compile a four-year record of 132-3 (.978) during their time together on the court and they'll certainly look to bring that kind of success to UIC next fall.

UIC, which finished the 1999-2000 season with an overall record of 11-20, welcomes back eight returnees next season, including starters Maurice Brown (Syracuse, NY/Henninger), Cory Little (Addison, Ill./Addison Trail) and Joe Scott (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg).