EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men's basketball Head Coach Jon Harris has announced his first signing during the early signing period. Tyresse Williford has agreed to join SIUE for the 2018-19 school year.
Williford is a 5-foot, 10-inch, 165-pound point guard from Chicago, Illinois. He will transfer to SIUE from Wabash Valley Community College and will be a junior at SIUE.
"We are excited to have Tyresse join the family as the first member of our 2018 class," Harris said. "He hails from the West side of Chicago and brings a level of toughness and grit to our locker room. He embodies the values of our program. He's a high-character individual who wants to excel on and off the court."
Williford began his college career at Williston State College in Williston, North Dakota, where he averaged 10.4 points and 4.0 assists per game. He also grabbed 3.0 rebounds per contest.
"Athletically, he's a blur with the ball in his hands," Harris said. "He thrives on getting his teammates involved in the offense but is also a capable scorer. He has great length for his size, and we think he will develop into an absolute pest on defense."
Williford was second on the team with 1.3 steals per game.
He has played two games so far this season for Wabash Valley. He has seven assists and four steals, while averaging 12.5 points per game.
"What he doesn't have in height he makes up for in toughness and heart," Wabash Valley Head Coach Mike Carpenter said. "He plays hard at both ends of the floor. We were in a situation where we needed to have someone step in immediately, and he has proven to be the right choice."
Carpenter said he was pleased to see Williford choose SIUE.
"That's the goal for any kid we recruit-to get to the Division I level," he added. "I can't thank Coach Harris and Coach Barone enough. They were both first-class throughout the recruitment process.'
Prior to Williston State, Williford was a standout at John Marshall High School in Chicago. He appeared in five all-star games, while earning Most Valuable Player honors twice in those games. He was an All-City selection and an All-State Honorable Mention in each of his junior and senior years.
"As a player he was always someone who wanted to get better," Marshall Head Coach Hen Cotton said. "He was a student of the game. In his four years I honestly don't recall him missing a game or a practice."
Cotton also said Williford and his family put an emphasis on his education.
"He also knows how important his education is and that he has to have something to fall back on after basketball."
Cotton coached current SIUE assistant coach Tarrance Crump for many years in AAU basketball.
"I've never had a player I've coached go on to play for another player that I coached," Cotton said. "To see them on the sideline together would be pretty special."
"With Tyrese's signing today, Cougar basketball took another step forward," Harris added.