June 21, 2006
DeKALB, IL - Winning is often a very attractive asset when it comes to locating top-level recruits across the nation.
The Northern Illinois University men's basketball squad is reaping the benefits of its first-ever Mid-American Conference West Division title in 2006, with the signing of Egan Grafel (Oberlin, KS / Decatur Community / Cloud County CC) to a National Letter of Intent and the addition of Jarvis Nichols (Carol Stream / Glenbard North / Pratt CC) for the 2006-07 campaign.
"Egan is a good athlete who throughout the course of his junior college career has greatly improved and will continue to do that for us at NIU," NIU Head Coach Rob Judson said. "He's another versatile player and we're looking forward to adding more athleticism to our front line.
"Egan was slowed by injury this year, yet persevered through that to greatly help his team."
Judson was equally excited about the arrival of Nichols to the squad.
"Jarvis is an explosive basketball player whose athleticism allows him to play a number of perimeter positions," Judson said.
Grafel and Nichols join Darrius Gaters (Chicago / Marshall), Bristan Kelley (Lee's Summit, MO), Mike Lochner (Maple Grove, MN), Shaun Logan (Eldridge, IA / North Scott / Kirkwood CC) and Cody Yelder (Oak Lawn / Richards) as the newest members of the Huskies.
Grafel, a 6-foot-8, 225 pound forward out of Cloud County Community College in Concordia, KS, comes from a squad where eight players chipped in at least 4.1 points per contest en route to a Jayhawk West Championship in 2006. Despite battling throughout the season with a separated right shoulder, Grafel fought through the injury and appeared in 27 games, averaging 6.1 points-per-game and 3.5 rebounds. As a freshman, Grafel averaged four points and four rebounds in 30 games played. While at Cloud, Grafel was a two-time selection to the Dean's Honor Roll.
"He's bouncy for a 6-8 kid," Cloud County head coach Kevin Muff said. "He's very athletic, runs the floor extremely well and can face up and post up.
"His versatility for a big guy is definitely a strength."
The incoming junior Grafel was a standout in high school, lettering three times at Decatur Community. As a senior, Grafel was named to the Topeka Journal Capitol All-State Class 2A Second Team after averaging 22.7 points-per-game and 13 rebounds in 2003-04. Grafel was feted in the Salina Journal All-Area team, Hays Daily News All-Area Team and Wichita Eagle All-Class 2A squad. He was a two-time All-Northwest Kansas League selection as a junior and senior.
Nichols, a 6-foot-3 guard, was an Honorable Mention All-Jayhawk West selection in 2006, after averaging 11.8 points and 3.7 assists-per-game for Pratt Community College. He was second on the Beavers in both three-pointers made (29) and steals (44) as a sophomore. In his freshman campaign, he averaged 9.2 points-per-game, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while shooting 35.8% (54-for-161) from three-point range.
"Jarvis is a big long scoring guard that can really shoot it," Pratt CC head coach Trevor Rolfs said. "He creates mismatch problems for opponents with his size and strength. He sees the floor very well and is really the consummate combo guard. He can slide to the `1' and be effective there because he's able to pass the ball and lead. He's a great `2' guard because of his ability to score and shoot from three. He has a chance to be a great player at Northern Illinois."
Judson first saw Nichols play at Glenbard North under former head coach Bob Miller.
"Jarvis, when he played for the Panthers, was an excellent shooter," Miller said. "He brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the game. He was a pleasure to coach and to be around as a person. I think he's going to do a great job playing for the Huskies in the next two years."
NIU announced that 6-foot-8 forward Craig Reichel (Schaumburg) will not return for the Huskies next season. Reichel has transferred to Division II Rollins College.
(For further information, please contact Matt Brendich) - NIU -