Awet joins SIUE basketball program all the way from Australia
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) Basketball Coach Jon Harris knew there was something different about Bill Awet the moment he laid eyes on him.
“The first time he saw me play in practice, he offered me a scholarship on the spot,” Awet, who has a Sudanese background but was raised in Australia, told the Metro East Sun. “From there, he talked to my parents and it was kind of a family decision for me to come here.”
The 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward comes to the Cougars by way of Down Under with high expectations.
In a press release heralding the signing, Harris praised Awet as someone with “length and athleticism” as well as “great instincts for the game.”
Harris added that Awet has the skills to play multiple positions defensively, including being a rim protector or going out on the perimeter to guard smaller players.
Indeed, Awet has covered plenty of ground for someone who has only been playing organized basketball for a little over five years.
“I was a soccer player, but then I had a growth spurt and playing the game started to bother my knees,” he said. “My mom talked me into trying basketball, I was just looking for something to be able to do on the weekend.”
After coming to America as a junior and playing at Victory Rock Prep in Florida, Awet started to take the game more seriously when he realized what it could offer to him.
“The game here is much more fast-paced than in Australia,” he said. “There, I could always dominate and do what I wanted, but now in college I have to get in the weight room as much as I can and really be dedicated to getting better.”
Awet describes the strengths of his game as being able to defend and knock down open shots. He averaged 10 points and six rebounds as a senior at Victory Rock.
“I’ve got a lot of work to be where I want to be,” he said, stressing that he wants to become a better ball handler and add to his offensive repertoire.
“It’s all about working hard,” he added. “I know I’m committed.”
Awet arrived on the SIUE campus about a month ago. Plans are for him to redshirt this season and have all four years of eligibility remaining.
Whenever he’s able to suit up, the Cougars can certainly use all he’s able to provide.
At 5-18 overall, SIUE has now dropped eight straight and 13 of 14 to sit winless in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Awet seems confident the Cougars will turn the corner. And as for his change in continents, he’s quickly learning how to deal with that, as well.
“The weather and all the cold has taken a little get used to,” he said. “When I left Australia a month ago, it was still summertime.”