By Joe Henricksen
There is no question the talent level at UIC is about to take a step up in the not-to-distant future as first-year coach Howard Moore has added two more pieces to the rebuilding project. Simeon's emerging Ahman Fells and Curie point guard Greg Travis gave Moore and UIC a commitment on Sunday.
In addition to bringing great basketball potential to the UIC program, both Fells and Travis are excellent students academically.
The long and active Fells, who visited UIC this past weekend, may be a bit of an undersized 4-man at 6-6, but he has great length and very good bounce off the floor. He continues to grow as a player and understanding how he can impact a game, with his rebounding, blocking and altering shots, along with an ability to play up at the rim on the offensive end.
The upside with Fells is what is so intriguing. Fells is the classic example of the old cliché "his best basketball is ahead of him." He was late to the game in terms of playing experience as he's played competitively for just a short time in comparison to other players. However, when given an opportunity last winter he made the most of it in a limited role for coach Robert Smith and the state champion Simeon Wolverines. Look for his role to expand this coming season as he progresses as a player.
Travis is a steady, do-what-your-told point guard who has been a fixture in Mike Oliver's backcourt at Curie since his freshman year. The 5-10 Travis will fill a much-needed void at the point guard position for Moore and the Flames. He will take care of the ball, defend and provide a presence at the point guard position.
With the help of former Chicago Public League head coach Donnie Kirksey, UIC has made its presence felt in the CPS. Fells and Travis join a recruiting class that already includes fellow Chicago Public League player Jerome Brown of Morgan Park, a 6-5 sharpshooting guard. In addition, UIC will welcome the big and skilled 6-10 Will Simonton of Fishburne Military Institute in Virginia.