EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men's basketball Head Coach Brian Barone has announced the addition of Jonathan Kurtas (Mooresville, North Carolina).
Kurtas is a 6-foot, 11-inch, 235-pound center who comes to SIUE from Lake Norman Christian School in Huntersville, North Carolina. He helped the team to a 27-8 record as a senior, when he averaged 16 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. Kurtas connected on 53 percent of his shots from the field.
"We are elated to have Jonathan join the Cougar family," Barone said. "He is a tough, skilled and mobile big man who has worked extremely hard. He has developed his overall strength along with his basketball skills. Having someone that is 6-11 join our team will add to our size, depth and overall culture. He is someone who will be able to attack the rim offensively while also protecting it defensively. Jonathan is an everyday guy who will bring a 'Find A Way' approach and work ethic to uplift those around him on and off the court."
"One of the biggest reasons I chose SIUE was because of the way the coaches and the players talked about their program and their teammates," Kurtas said. "It was really impressive and showed the really tight family atmosphere that the team shared. I appreciate the staff and Coach Barone for believing in me. I believe in the vision that coach Barone has for the program and I am excited to be a part of where it is going. I really loved the campus and the overall vibe the school had. Lastly, downtown Edwardsville held a striking resemblance to my hometown of Mooresville, which helped me feel comfortable with the town despite only being able to walk around for an hour or two."
Kurtas was named MVP of the Phenom All-American Camp for the Top 80 players in North Carolina. He also took part in the Phenom Invite Only Showcase. He was selected to the All-Tournament Team at the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament and earned Most Outstanding Player honors at US Prep Athletes (USPA) Showcase in 2019.
"Big Kurt is a highly-coachable, motivated and capable player," Lake Norman Head Coach Patrick McCarthy said. "SIUE got the full package with this young man."
Kurtas is the second member of the 2021 class. Guard Zane Butler signed in November and joined the program early in January.
The Cougars won their most Ohio Valley Conference games in five seasons and returned to the OVC Tournament in March.