January 16, 2018

CARTERVILLE — The John A. Logan College Phi Theta Kappa chapter is reaching new heights.

Literally.

The College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter recently added Aaron Twist, who stands 7-feet tall and Will Keller, who’s 6’5”. Both are members of the John A. Logan College men’s basketball team.

The teammates have also raised the academic bar for other players on the team, setting a standard of excellence both on and off the court.

“Their execution in the classroom has set a higher stand for the rest of team,” said Vols’ head coach Kyle Smithpeters. “Our guys are competitive and you can see our guys becoming more ingrained in the classroom because of the standard Aaron and Will have set.”

To be included in the Phi Theta Kappa grade point averages must be high. Twist carries a 3.7 grade point average while Keller’s is perfect at 4.0.

Smithpeters pushes for academic excellence because he believes a player’s work ethic in the classroom “transfers to the basketball court each day.”

According to Smithpeters, hard work begets hard work, from the court to the classroom and from the classroom to the court.

All of the Vols are doing well in the classroom and others came very close to be included in the Phi Theta Kappa chapter.

“Great competitors are constantly pushing one another,” Smithpeters said. “I’ve seen this among my team both athletically and academically. As a coach, this is what you hope for, the determination among your players to get better at everything they do, to be better people, better players, better students. This is what I see each day.”

The Vols are currently 13-3, ranked 17th in the nation and averaging about 100 points a game. David Sloan is leading the nation in assists with nearly 10 per game.

“When fans come to our games I want them to know that these guys are more than just tremendous athletes, they are also tremendous students and good citizens,” Smithpeters said. “These are the kind of guys that kids can look up to and hope to be like someday.”

Twist is a finance major and plans on becoming a banker someday.

Keller said he will receive a degree in electrical engineering and, like his father, become an electrical engineer.

In the meanwhile, both players hope to continue their college careers at a four-year university.

Like the true competitors they are, both say they hope to have the opportunity to play basketball as long as possible.

Twist is a resident of West Frankfort. Keller lives in Marion.