CHARLESTON — When Matt Bollant first got to campus last spring, he added four players in a short amount of time to help fill out the Eastern Illinois women’s basketball roster for the upcoming season.
Bollant has continued to hit the ground running on the recruiting trail and already signed three players on Wednesday, the first day of the early NCAA signing period, to help start his official first recruiting class at EIU.
On Wednesday, the program announced the signing of three players — Abby Wahl, Kira Arthofer and Jordyn Hughes — who will join the program for the 2018-19 season.
“They are all talented and great kids and they want to be good, which is what we are looking for,” Bollant said. “I am really happy. We wanted kids who are driven and tough, and these three are that. They come from great homes and do great in the classroom. They are really driven and have a chance to be really good players for us.”
Wahl, a forward/center, almost averaged a double-double as a junior at Heritage Hills High School in Indiana. The Lincoln City, Indiana, native averaged 20 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals a game last season and was named high honorable mention for the All-Indiana State team.
“She’s a true post, and it’s hard to find one that likes contact,” Bollant said. “She loves contact and is strong and tough and she is a true post, which is hard to find.”
Hughes is a versatile guard from Gurnee. She averaged 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.7 steals as a junior for Warren Township High School. She is a three-time All-Area selection and scored her 1,000th point last season.
“She plays in a great league and at one of the biggest schools in the state,” Bollant said. “She can shoot it and trains with a guy that works with NBA players and is really driven and had a really good summer. I didn’t think we would have a shot and we got her.”
Arthofer missed her junior season because of an ACL tear, which Bollant said helped the Panthers get the talented point guard because she was named to the All-Metro Area team by the Quad City Times as a sophomore. Arthofer, who plays at Pleasant Valley High School in Iowa, averaged 12.0 points, 3.4 assists and 4.3 steals as a sophomore. Even with missing a season, Arthofer scored 545 points combined as a freshman and a sophomore.
“She’s ready to go and have a great senior year,” Bollant said. “Had she stayed healthy, she would’ve had Big 10 offers. Because she had the ACL injury at the time, it allows us to get a talented kid.”
Bollant is still hoping to add one more player to his recruiting class during the spring period.
EIU is at home against Northern Illinois at 6 p.m. on Friday.