Watch Now: St. Joseph-Ogden Basketball Player Ty Pence Commits to Illinois State | state of illinois

NORMAL – Ty Pence is very knowledgeable about the state of Illinois and the campus. His sister, Kenzie, played on the Redbird softball team and his father, Todd, attended school. Her cousin, Courtney Pence, played volleyball at ISU.

When Ryan Pedon took over as head basketball coach of the Redbirds in March, the St. Joseph-Ogden High School standout became a priority to continue his family’s history at ISU.

This will happen in the 2023-24 season. Pence, a rising 6-foot-6, 200-pound senior guard who was the Associated Press’ Class 2A All-State team’s leading vote-getter last season, announced Thursday that he has signed up. with the Redbirds. He will sign a national letter of intent in November.

“I had a really good relationship with the coaching staff and became good friends with the rookies they already brought in as well,” Pence said. “It’s close to home and I truly believe in what Coach Pedon and the staff have to do moving forward. I was thrilled to be a part of this new era of ISU basketball. “

Pence becomes the third high school player in the Redbirds class of 2023. Earlier this summer, 5-11 point guard John Kinziger of De Pere (Wis.) High School and 6-9 forward Chase Walker of St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus, Ohio, committed to ISU.

“My family talked about it last month and thought it was the best solution, and we were ready to get it over with,” Pence said.

Pence picked the Redbirds over Belmont, a new ISU rival in the Missouri Valley Conference, and Wake Forest. Pence had previously received offers from a slew of top schools, including Illinois, DePaul and Iowa State.

“The recruiting process is really business,” said Pence, who averaged 23.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season with St. Joseph-Ogden. “With the bigger schools, they already got commitments or people in my place in the transfer portal. It hurts high school players. I was really looking for where I would fit in best and I would have the opportunity to play, and I thought it was the ISU.”

Ty Pence goes up for a trick during an AAU summer game with MidProAcademy during the NY2LA tournament. Pence, who will be a senior at St. Joseph-Ogden, committed Thursday at Illinois State and became the Redbirds’ third rookie in the Class of 2024.

Jim Benson

Pence played in the AAU for Midwest Prospect Academy, based in Peoria and the Quad Cities. He was part of the MidPro 17-minus team this summer – along with Iowa rookies Brock Harding and Owen Freeman of Moline and Ethan Kizer of Metamora, who holds an ISU offer – that went 36-5 and ended by capturing the NY2LA Basketball Association Championship.

MidPro coach Gavin Sullivan said Illinois State was “getting a real all-around guy” in Pence.

“He’s a high-level kid with a bunch of high-level offerings. The Portal and COVID and all the fun changes have gotten everyone in a whirlwind,” Sullivan said. “Since Pedon took over, he’s done a really good job of making this area a priority. I know they hit Ty very, very hard on recruiting, and it paid off in the end.”

Pedon can’t talk about rookies until they’ve signed. Assistant Rob Judson was ISU’s main scout on Pence.

“Ty is a really versatile big guard who has a ton of athleticism. He grew up with the ball in his hands,” Sullivan said. “He’s comfortable handling it and he’s comfortable shooting it. He’s going to make a lot of scoring plays at Redbird Arena, that’s for sure.”

Pedon said during his introductory press conference that he wanted to find players within 200 miles of the ISU campus.

Pence comes from around 50 miles, which will be a relatively short trip for his parents, Kendra and Todd.


St. Joseph-Ogden’s Ty Pence throws a 3-point attempt against Tri-Valley in the 2021 State Farm Holiday Classic Small School Boys first round game. Pence scored 19 points in a 61-55 victory.


“Since he (Pedon) arrived at ISU, he immediately recruited me as a player who can play defense, score the ball, be a playmaker on the field and do everything possible,” Pence said.

“Family is really important to me and being able to continue my basketball career with them and being able to attend everything was really important to me.”

Pence is also expected to be a regular at Marian Kneer Stadium in the spring. His girlfriend, Ella Boyer from Tuscola, joined the ISU softball team.

There are several things Pence plans to work on before coming to ISU next summer.

“Obviously college is a whole new level of physique and athletic ability,” he said. “I really tried to get stronger and keep my body fit. I try to keep my shooting consistent and keep improving, and keep my grip tight and improving in all aspects of the game. game as I can.”

Sullivan is confident Pence can make an immediate impact for the Redbirds, who need a winger with the transfer of Brigham Young, Seneca Knight, graduating after the 2022-23 season.

“There’s going to be an adjustment like there is for anyone going from high school to college,” Sullivan said. “And him coming from a smaller high school, the jump is a bit bigger. But he’s playing at such a high level in the summer, I don’t think he’s going to be shocked by what he sees there. It will just take a bit of time to adjust to the speed and physicality of this one.”

Contact Jim Benson at (309) 820-3404. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_Benson

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