Najeeb Echols will have to sit out a year to meet NCAA transfer rules and will be eligible to play for the Redbirds on December 13, 2003. He will begin practicing with the team on Thursday. The 6-9 Echols was averaged 3.1 points and 2.8 rebounds. He started the first seven games as a freshman and averaged 2.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last year. He didn't play in Saturday's 77-69 victory over Baylor as he had been bothered by an injured right knee. Echols attended Chicago (IL) Morgan Park, but missed his senior year due to a knee injury. He missed three games last February due to a stress fracture in his left foot
“Obviously we are elated to add a player of Najeeb’s ability and talent,” Illinois State men’s basketball coach Tom Richardson said. “He is a physical, athletic player and will help us become a more physical team. He is extremely versatile and can play any position on the floor.”
Echols finished his career at Morgan Park High School, but never played in a game. He was a teammate of current Redbird Marcus Arnold. Echols played his first three years of high school at Chicago Whitney Young. Echols averaged 25 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists per game as a junior. He helped lead Whitney Young winning the Class A state championship during his freshman season.
Echols was recruited by Michigan State, Illinois, UCLA, Kansas, Iowa and DePaul out of high school. 6-5 Neil Plank, who transferred from Wisconsin, is also currently sitting out this season and practicing with the squad.
Illinois State is currently just 1-11 this season.