No public leaguers on expectation list

By Wes Swietek

College basketball’s early signing period finds the NIU men’s program expecting to have five high schoolers soon commit to the Huskies.

So far, no letters of intent have crossed coach Brian Hammel’s desk.

But these five are expected to join NIU next year: Jamal Robinson, a 6-4 forward from Proviso East, forwards Clayton Stivers of Findlay, Scott Peterson of Pekin, Mike Hartke of Hayward and guard Chad Weeks from Ham Lake, Minn.

The NCAA prohibits coaches from talking about recruits until they officially sign.

Noticeably absent from that list of NIU recruits is any Chicago Public League players.

Many prominent Public League coaches promised to steer their players away from the Huskies after NIU chose Brian Hammel as its new coach last year, bypassing DePaul assistant Robert Collins. Collins, who was interviewed for the NIU job, but was not among the three finalists, has strong ties to the Public League.

But Hammel said he had no trouble recruiting in the talent-rich league that has provided NIU with many of its players in the past.

“It’s kind of a dead issue now. We met with every (Public League) coach during the summer recruiting period—they were great to me,” Hammel said

“It will take some time to heal wounds, but as far as me and my dealings with (the Public League coaches), they were great.”

We recruited a couple of kids from Chicago, one or two might sign late and one we dropped off … we’re going to continue to recruit there.”