Deang Deang left a mid-April official visit to Eastern Illinois impressed, but still not ready to be done with his recruitment just yet.

He scheduled an official visit to Utah Valley for the last weekend in April, a trip to a new part of the country for a point of comparison. The Wolverines offered the chance to play for a rising program with a new coach in a picturesque setting in the mountains.

It’s hard not to be captivated by the whole thing. The trip didn’t completely sway Deang, though.

Deang, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard from Highland C.C. (Ill.) committed to EIU Monday and was announced as a signee Friday. He has two years of eligibility remaining. He chose the Panthers over Utah Valley and, at one point, also received offers from Illinois State, Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Monroe and Cal Poly.

Deang joins Vincennes University (Ind.) forward George Dixon as EIU’s spring additions, for now. All told, he’s the third member of EIU’s 2019 class – McLennan J.C. (Texas) forward Jordan Skipper-Brown signed with EIU in the fall.

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“We needed to get faster and better defensively, and Deang can definitely provide that,” EIU coach Jay Spoonhour said. “He gives us another guy who can guard a point guard, which was an issue for us.”

EIU boasted a couple of familiar faces to Deang. His former teammate at Highland from 2016-18, Shareef Smith, was the Panthers’ starting point guard this past season. The two played against each other in high school as well, Deang for Madison (Wisc.) East and Smith for Madison Memorial. As a high school senior, Deang averaged 19.1 points and 3.1 assists per game.

Deang played his freshman year (2016-17) at Highland for Tone Boyle, now an assistant coach at EIU. He averaged 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. He missed the 2017-18 season due to injury. He returned to averaged 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game this past season.

EIU now has two spots open for 2019-20. The Panthers lost a member of last year’s team this week when freshman forward Cam Burrell announced he is seeking a transfer. He’s one of two EIU players who have transferred this offseason, joining Ben Harvey.

Contact Patrick Engel at (217) 238-6856. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickEngel_


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Sports writer

I cover Eastern Illinois football and basketball, as well as Mattoon/Charleston prep sports, for the JG-T

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