Provided by John Lock, Saluki Athletics
CARBONDALE (WSIL) — The SIU men’s basketball program signed two high school guards on Wednesday, the first day of the national signing period. Dalton Banks (6-2, 170, Eau Claire, Wis.) and Eric Butler (6-3, 170, Orlando, Fla.) will be freshmen for the Salukis in 2020-21.
"I am excited to officially welcome Dalton, Eric and their families to our Saluki Family," SIU head coach Bryan Mullins said. "It was so important for us to add some guards in the fall who will be able to make an impact over the next four years. I couldn’t be more happy to have Eric and Dalton become a part of this historic basketball tradition at SIU."
Banks is already Eau Claire North High School’s all-time leading scorer. He averaged 23.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 2.6 steals per game as a junior last year, earning All-State recognition and his conference’s Player of the Year award. One of the top all-around guards in Wisconsin, Banks recorded three triple-doubles last year.
"Dalton fits everything we are looking for, in terms of building this program with great people who are talented and love to play the game," Mullins said. "He is a dynamic offensive guard that can affect the game in so many ways. He is going to have a huge senior season. His passionate work ethic and his mindset will allow him to have a great career here at SIU."
"The biggest thing for me was going somewhere I had the chance to win," Banks said. "I’ve been a part of great cultures and great programs. I’m not trying to score 40 every night. I want to make the right play every time. I’ll do whatever it takes to win, whether that’s a couple points, a couple steals, assists, lockdown defense — whatever it takes that game to get the win."
Butler helped lead Orlando Christian Prep High School to the Florida 3A championship game as a junior in 2019. He earned first-team All-State honors in Florida by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches. Also a well-rounded guard, Butler embraces defense and recorded six steals to go along with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the state title game.
"Eric’s character and competitiveness are what makes him so special," Mullins said. "He is an unbelievable teammate that only cares about winning. He is very versatile and can have a huge impact on the game on both sides of the ball. He is a threat offensively because of his ability to score at all three levels and create for others. Defensively, he has the great size and instincts to join many other great defensive guards here at SIU."
"For me, it’s all about defense, and it’s all about the team," Butler said. "I love guarding the other team’s best player and shutting him down. We have won games because of that, and that’s when I started loving defense. I’m going to put the team first. I would rather help my teammates score 20 points. That’s what gets me going."