Cornelius awaiting his chance

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Southern Illinois assistant Jack Owens was spotted outside the Fenwick locker room following the Friars' upset of Proviso East at the Proviso West Holiday tournament two weeks ago, and the Wednesday Journal took the opportunity to get a brief update on 2004 OPRF graduate Christian Cornelius, a freshman forward with the Salukis.

Owens said that SIU decided to redshirt Cornelius and save him a year of eligibility because it has a pair of 6-7 sophomore forwards, Randal Falker (7.4 ppg) and Matt Shaw (9.5 ppg), ahead of him on the depth chart.

"There are a few older guys in front of him, so this gives Christian a chance to improve his strength and work on his shot a little," Owens said.

As a redshirt, Cornelius "does everything but play in the games," according to Owens. He practices, sits on the bench at games, and travels on the road with the team.

Cornelius spent the 2004-05 school year at a prep school, Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., but Owens said he is not concerned that Cornelius will be almost 21 by the time he plays his first college game.

"We've had guys in the past that went to prep school and then come in and redshirt and it's worked well," Owens said. "Christian's best basketball is ahead of him and we're expecting big things out of him as a freshman next year."

Owens reported that Cornelius earned straight A's his first semester at SIU.

Daniel Heim

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