QUINCY — Greg Altmix floated the idea. The Muddy River Showcase organizing committee became enamored with it. And Brock Edris signed off on it.
Right then, another level of intrigue was added to the Illinois vs. Missouri all-star basketball event.
Quincy High School all-stater Jeremiah Talton originally declined his invitation to play in the boys game, which takes place at 5 p.m. Saturday at John Wood Community College’s Student Activity Center. He had signed with the University of New Orleans and was expected to already be on campus by the date of the Showcase.
Those circumstances changed when Talton decommitted from the Privateers program in late May and received a release from his national letter of intent.
Altmix, the Liberty coach who is manning the helm for the Illinois squad, immediately suggested adding an 11th player to the 10-man roster so the Muddy River Sports Player of the Year could participate.
“I would just hate to see him in the stands watching when he was originally offered a spot,” Altmix said.
Enamored with the idea, game organizers didn’t want to upset the competitive balance. So they reached out to Edris, the Monroe City coach who is guiding the Missouri team to gauge his thoughts on the idea.
“This is all about the kids and giving them a chance to showcase their talents,” Edris said. “He shouldn’t be sitting in the stands for this game.”
Instantaneously, the Land of Lincoln became stronger, taller and more deadlier from the perimeter.
And the jawing between the two squads grew exponentially as well.
The 6-foot-6 Talton, who is the Blue Devils’ record holder for single-season and career 3-pointers, also announced he would play next year at JWCC. That means three future Trail Blazers will suit up for Illinois and two for Missouri.
The duo playing for the Show-Me State — Joshua and Josiah Talton — are Jeremiah’s cousins.
When it was pointed out the Missouri all-stars won a rivalry game with Illinois several years ago with a Talton on the roster, the Illinois squad had a quick rebuttal.
“We have the better Talton,” one of the all-stars said.
That remains to be proven, but Jeremiah Talton’s addition to the Illinois roster does tip the scale in the Land of Lincoln’s favor when it comes to size.
Talton will team with the Liberty long-and-lanky duo of 6-foot-5 Logan Robbins and 6-foot-6 Devin Klauser. Throw in Payson Seymour’s Riker Triplett, who is heading to Culver-Stockton College to play tight end for the football team, and nose-for-the-ball guards like Brown County’s Tate Fullerton and Liberty’s Clayton Obert and rebounding would appear to be a strength.
How does Missouri combat that?
The Show-Me Staters are blessed with an abundance of speed, savvy and strength in the backcourt. The Talton brothers, Monroe City’s Kyle Hays, Hannibal’s Courtland Watson and Highland’s Drew Mallett and Cameron Bringer were all multi-sport athletes who excelled on the football field.
Hays, Watson and Mallett quarterbacked their respective teams to a combined record of 32-7 last fall.
Add in Canton’s Dalton Berhorst and Palmyra’s Alex Loman and the ability to pressure ballhandlers, create off the dribble and get up and down the floor will be Missouri’s strengths.
It creates a battle of wills and a showdown of styles that should make for an entertaining and memorable matchup.
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