Nov. 10, 2011
DEKALB, Ill. -- Northern Illinois men's basketball head coach Mark Montgomery announced today the signing of Daveon "Petey" Balls, Mike Davis and Sam Mader to National Letters of Intent to join the Huskie men's basketball program next season.
"We needed to take care of three positions, starting with a true point guard with quickness that can break down a defense," Montgomery said. "Then we were looking for a wing player that could rebound and would be athletic and we also needed a size guy, we will lose Tim Toler so we needed to bring in more size. Those were our three needs and we were definitely looking to fill those holes."
Balls is a lightning quick 6-foot-1, 174-pound point guard out of Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Ind. Balls averaged nine points and six assists per game as a junior last season at Lawrence North, the same high school that produced Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. Balls played in the summer with the Derrick Rose AAU program based in Gary, Ind. In addition to NIU, he was garnering interest from Evansville, SIU-Edwardsville and IUPUI.
"Daveon `Petey' Balls comes from an excellent program at Lawrence North that produced not only Greg Oden and Mike Conley, but also Chris Hill, a player I am very familiar with from Michigan State," Montgomery said. "He is going to have the ball in his hands and is the type of player that can get by you in the blink of an eye. He is a jet-quick guard that likes to pass first and like to pick-up full court on defense. He enjoys making the pass more than making the shot."
Davis, out of Garfield Heights High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, is an athletic 6-foot-2, 185-pound shooting guard who averaged 15 points, three rebounds, and two assists as a junior last year while helping Garfield Heights to a 24-2 record, advancing to the semifinals of the Ohio Division I High School State Tournament. Davis plays on the Ohio Basketball Club AAU Team and drew interest from Eastern Michigan and Rider.
"Mike Davis comes from a winning background; his team only lost two games all year last season," Montgomery said. "He is an athletic player that can offensive rebound and get to the basket from the wing. He has a scoring mentality and can do so in a variety of ways. I like his versatility, he has already been hitting the weight room and his strength won't be an issue when he gets to college."
Mader is a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Appleton East High School in Wisconsin. Last season, he helped lead Appleton East to a 26-1 record last season while averaging 10 points per game. Mader posted a career-high 23 points in a super-sectional win against Germantown while helping Appleton East advance to the Wisconsin Division I High School semifinals. Over the summer, Mader played on the Wisconsin Playground Warriors AAU Team. Mader was also receiving interest from Ball State, UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee and Drake.
"Sam Mader was a 10 point scorer on a very good high school team that went deep in the state tournament," Montgomery said. "He played with a very good AAU program and he is a guy that can score inside but also stretch the defense. He is a good left shoulder guy with a good jump shot. Sam is a good offensive and defensive rebounder, he is a hybrid-five, he doesn't just have to play in the post, he can be a space-and-fill man as well."
The 2011-12 Huskies open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11 when they travel to Purdue. The home opener is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14, against UW-Milwaukee at 7 p.m. at the NIU Convocation Center. Tickets for the 2011-12 season are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (815) 752-6800 or online at NIUHuskies.com.