Kyree Jones already is helping out Northern Illinois before the point guard even puts on a uniform.
Jones, an Indiana native who gave a verbal commitment to NIU in February, immediately went to work over Facebook and phone calls on convincing lifelong friend and NIU recruiting target Tim Toler to commit to the Huskies.
"I know Tim can hoop," Jones said. "I've known Tim forever. We both played in Indiana in AAU. I've known him my whole life."
Monday, the Danville Area Community College forward made his decision to give a verbal commitment to Northern Illinois. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound forward confirmed that he will sign his National Letter of Intent this month and will have two years of eligibility at NIU.
"Kyree found out that NIU was recruiting me and he was starting to recruit me himself. He's been a big part of it," said Toler, who is originally from Indianapolis. "Another part of it, [NIU assistant coach Todd] Townsend, he did a great job of recruiting me. Him and the whole coaching staff.
"I really feel like I can be a big time help for the next two years."
Toler averaged 14.7 points and 8.6 rebounds a game this past season for Danville. He shot 49.6 percent from the field and went 17-of-48 (35.4 percent) from three-point range. Toler shot 75.5 percent from the free-throw line.
"I'm a versatile big man," Toler said. "I'm 270 (pounds) but I've got a lot of muscle mass. I feel like the best parts of my game are my post game and I can shoot the three."
Jones also touted Toler's ability to shoot the ball, something NIU desperately needs after shooting an abysmal 40.2 percent from the field this past season, when the Huskies went 10-20.
"He can shoot the ball real well. He's smart. He's got a high basketball IQ," Jones said. "He's got a good attitude on and off the court. He's no head case."
Toler will compete for a starting spot at forward along with Tyler Storm, Lee Fisher and incoming freshman Nate Rucker, who broke an ankle a few weeks ago in the Tennessee state playoffs but is expected to make a full recovery.