UIC Basketball Inks McGuire, Whitaker in Early Signing Period|
Nov. 15, 2012
CHICAGO - During the first week of the early signing period, head men's basketball coach Howard Moore announced the official signings of Elkhart (Ind.) Memorial combo guard Markese McGuire, along with Lance Whitaker, a wing from Bartlett High School. Both student-athletes will have four years of eligibility at UIC, beginning in the 2013-14 campaign.
"We're extremely excited to welcome both Markese and Lance our basketball family," said head Moore. "These two young men are very skilled players that fit our system, but more importantly, they both have great character. Flames fans are really going to enjoy watching these guys grow and be key components in the success of our program during their careers at UIC."
McGuire chose to attend UIC over the likes of Milwaukee, Evansville and Northern Illinois. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard is regarded as one of the top shooters in the state of Indiana heading into his senior season. He averaged 16.3 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists for Elkhart Memorial as a junior.
McGuire attended UIC's elite camp in the summer of 2011, and was aggressively recruited by assistant coach Stew Robinson, an Indiana native. McGuire verbally committed to UIC in early September.
"Markese is a shot-maker; that's what really intrigued us about him," Moore said. "He has been the leader of his team at Elkhart Memorial for the past couple of years, and has a great knack for scoring the basketball. We think Markese can play both guard positions for us, and that's important for our style of play. He really stood out at our elite camp a couple of summers ago, and we made him a main emphasis for our next class. We expect Markese to immediately contribute to our program next season and are thrilled that he decided to play his college basketball and continue his education at UIC."
Whitaker is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound wing (guard/forward) that averaged 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds for Bartlett High School as a sophomore. On the AAU circuit, he played for the Illinois Wolves under the tutelage of coach Mike Mullins, the father of former Southern Illinois standout guard Bryan Mullins. Along with his scoring ability, Whitaker is also known as one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the state of Illinois.
Associate head coach Al Biancalana was the primary recruiter for Whitaker's services. He also received scholarship offers from Boston University and UC Davis.
"As a staff, we are continuing to place an emphasis on recruiting not only the city of Chicago, but the state of Illinois - we were able to stick to that plan with the signing of Lance," Moore said. "He's got great size, and can defend multiple positions. It's important for our wings to have the ability to not only provide scoring, but to also be a lock-down defender. Lance brings both of those elements to our program. He had a great summer on the AAU circuit, and we expect him to have an even better senior season at Bartlett. He's going to be a huge part of our program heading into the future."
UIC will have one more scholarship remaining in the 2013-14 class. At the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, the Flames will lose three scholarship seniors to graduation - point guard Gary Talton, shooting guard Daniel Barnes and center Josh Crittle. Next season, UIC will also welcome the services of Purdue transfer Kelsey Barlow, an Indianapolis native that attended Cathedral High School.