Area College Athletes: SIUE's Harvey Is Looking Strong

By Eighinger, Steve | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 4, 2017 | Go to article overview

Area College Athletes: SIUE's Harvey Is Looking Strong


Eighinger, Steve, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


SIU Edwardsville's Julian Harvey will enter the NCAA Division I indoor track and field championships next week with a target on his back.

A former standout at Edwardsville High, Harvey owns the top college indoor long jump mark of the season and third-best in the world.

He soared 26 feet 5 inches Feb. 10 at the Tyson Indoor Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

"It was my sixth and last jump of the day," Harvey said. "I went out as forceful as I could and I sort of blanked out on my last four steps."

Once he landed, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound kinesiology major said there were some anxious moments.

"I saw a red flag and thought maybe (there was a foul)," Harvey said. "But it wasn't. The officials were telling the next jumper to wait. The wait felt like forever, but it was no more than a minute."

The only longer distances in the world this season have been by Jean-Pierre Bertrand of France (26-6) and Lamont Marcell of Italy (26-5).

The NCAA finals are scheduled for Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station, Texas. Harvey will compete in the long jump at 5:30 p.m. Friday. He also qualified in the high jump, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The indoor season will mark the end of Harvey's NCAA competition this year. He will redshirt during the spring outdoor season so he can compete outdoors in 2018.

"It'll give Julian one more year of training for the outdoor season next year," SIUE jumps coach Joey Pacione said. "He will get to compete in track during his fifth year of college and I think that will help him."

LAVENDER FINDING NICHE

Deion Lavender (Alton Marquette) is finally feeling comfortable at Alabama-Birmingham.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, who transferred to UAB after his 2014-15 freshman season at SIU Carbondale, was set to play most of this year off the ball. An injury in the UAB backcourt changed all that, and Lavender was moved to point guard.

After sitting out a year at UAB under NCAA Division I transfer rules, Lavender found himself at a new position with a new team.

"I was in a funk after redshirting ... so coming back and getting back in a rhythm was hard," Lavender told the Alabama Media Group. "It took me a while, but I feel like I'm starting to find my way again. (I'm) more confident, more comfortable. A lot of things. It's just having to see the ball go in, have a couple of good games, realize you can play the same way you played when you left (SIUC). You've just got to find it again."

Lavender, who averaged 25.3 points as a senior in high school, scored a career-best 17 in a recent 94-85 loss at Florida International. He is averaging 6.8 points and leading the Blazers (15-14) in assists despite starting just 14 of 29 games.

"Deion (is becoming) exactly the type of player we thought he potentially could be, affecting the game in so many ways," UAB coach Robert Ehsan said. …

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