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Penny makes college choice

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Bearcat star signs with junior college powerhouse

By John Herndon

Anderson County High School basketball star C.J. Penny has signed with Southeastern Illinois, a junior college in Harrisburg, Ill.

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Penny chose Southeastern Illinois over Sinclair State, a junior college in Dayton, Ohio.

“They started recruiting me when I decided to go juco after the state tournament,” Penny said Monday. Penny and Anderson coach Glen Drury visited the college, located less than an hour from both Evansville, Ind. and Paducah, last week.

“It went pretty well,” said Penny, who chose the school to help him reach his dream of playing college basketball at the highest level. Analysts have pointed to Penny’s outside game as needing improvement to play at a Division I school.

Penny is academically eligible to play in the NCAA and chose the Falcons for basketball reasons.

“It is one of the top junior college programs in the nation,” Drury said. “It amazed me when Coach (Todd) Franklin went through the pictures of players that had gone on to Division I, and the places they had gone to.”

The Falcons’ most well-known alumnus is former Oldham County star Donta Smith, who went directly from Southeastern Illinois to the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks as a second-round draft pick.

Penny had expressed a desire to stay close to home and said that the school, located about four hours west of Lawrenceburg is still “pretty close.”

Penny will join at least four other Kentucky high school players, including fellow Kentucky All-Stars Corey Jackson of Shawnee and Aaron Wilson of Fulton City at Southeastern. Bryan Station’s Charles Ashford, who played with Penny on the Charlotte Court AAU team, and Bardstown’s Jordan Hickman, have cast their lot with the Falcons.

“That played a big part (in the decision), knowing four of the guys I will be playing with,” Penny said.

Franklin, a Central City native, guided the Falcons to a 24-5 record last season.

“Basketball is king there,” Drury said. “C.J. will get a good education there, and the competition is going to be at a very high level.”

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.