Nov. 10, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois Huskies added a pair of men's basketball players for 2011-12 as Zach Miller, a 5-9, 160-pound guard from Glenbard East High School in Chicago and DeAndre Barnette, a 6-4, 195-pound wing from Liberty Tech in Jackson, Tenn., signed letters of intent to play for NIU, head coach Ricardo Patton announced Wednesday.
"We are really excited about bringing these two young men into our program," Patton said.
Miller, a three-year starter at point guard who helped lead Glenbard East to the Class 4A sectional final as a junior, averaged 14.1 points and 3.1 steals last season while leading the area with 7.2 assists per game. He was named to the DuPage Valley Conference All-Conference team and earned DVC Player of the Year honors from the Naperville Sun. Glenbard East's 27 wins last year set a school record and the Rams were undefeated (14-0) in conference play.
Patton said Miller, whose father, Scott, is the head coach at Glenbard East, brings great intelligence to the floor, sees the floor well and can shoot the basketball.
"Zach Miller is a really smart basketball player who can run a team," Patton said. "The first thing you notice about Zach is the level of intelligence with which he plays. He is a pass-first point guard who can also make shots when he has to. He is a really good floor general, and he had a great summer."
The addition of Barnette provides the Huskies with a wing player who will fill holes left by three seniors graduating following the 2010-11 season. The 6-4 guard was named to the all-tournament team at the state tournament in March after leading the Crusaders to the 2A basketball tournament title game.
"DeAndre is a really good wing who will fill a void at that position next year," Patton said. "He is a guy that can come in and complement [current NIU underclassmen] Antone Christian and Tony Nixon. He is a lefty who can shoot the basketball. He really creates off the dribble and can get his own shot. He is an athletic wing."
Patton also noted that academics played a huge role in Barnette's decision to sign with NIU. He was named a Scholastic All-American following his junior season and carries a 3.2 grade point average.
"DeAndre had multiple scholarship offers, but it was our College of Engineering that put us over the top in recruiting him," Patton said. "He and his father met with Dr. Bobby Wilkerson from the College of Engineering when they were here, and they were impressed. Basketball is important to him, but the engineering program was equally as important."
Barnette joins a growing list of Tennesseeans on the Huskie roster as NIU has added a player from Patton's home state for the third straight year. Nashville native (Martin Luther King Magnet High School) Christian is a redshirt freshman who will see his first action this season, while Memphis' Nate Rucker (Melrose High School) is a true freshman forward.
The 2010-11 Huskies open the regular season this Friday at the Convocation Center when they take on Northwestern at 8 p.m. at the Convocation Center. Tickets for that contest, as well as season tickets for all 13 remaining home games, and mini-packs good for admission to any five games, are on sale now. Purchase tickets online at www.NIUHuskies.com or by calling 815-752-6800 as well as at the Box Office in the NIU Convocation Center.
-- NIU -