Smithpeters adjusting to life as a freshman at Southern Illinois
CARBONDALE, IL-- The dog days of basketball practice are in full swing for Southern Illinois, a time where strength and conditioning is key. Head coach Barry Hinson says that part of the game hasn't been easy for a couple of freshmen, including Harrisburg native Tyler Smithpeters.
"That step up for him from Harrisburg to division one has been quite a step for him," Hinson admitted. "And a part of that is the guy weighs 135 pounds, we've got to get some weight on him."
Smithpeters is well aware, so he's been eating more, drinking two protein shakes a day, and lifting weights as much as possible.
"It was kind of rough at the start, I'm not going to lie," Smithpeters said with a smile. "I'm used to being the bigger one in high school, playing as a 6'4" point guard, and now I'm pretty much one of the smaller ones and it's kind of hard to get used to."
Despite his early struggles, Smithpeters' teammates say the freshman has unmistakable talent.
"He can shoot it definitely, he's a great offensive player," said sophomore guard Anthony Beane. "He's getting better defensively, and I consider him a leader also. He's a great listener, he takes the things he needs to get better on, and improves on them each week, and every day in practice."
When asked about possibly red-shirting Smithpeters, Hinson said he would play him in both of the Salukis exhibition games, and make a decision at that time. Smithpeters says he'll do whatever is asked of him.
"That's perfectly fine with me. To me, it's another year you get to practice, get better, and the feel of the game will be a lot better too."