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Newest Zee-Bee seals college deal

ZiHigh School girls basketball player SyerrCunningham gives speech thanking her parents teammates coaches others as her mother Rayeanne Cunningham (sitting

Zion High School girls basketball player Syerra Cunningham gives a speech thanking her parents, teammates, coaches and others as her mother Rayeanne Cunningham (sitting left) and father Sam Cunningham (sitting right center) and sister Samantha Cunningham, 13, (sitting right) Coach Tanya Johnson (left) and teammates behind her listen after she signed papers to play at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville at the school. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 19, 2012 11:29AM

Due to an odd set of circumstances, it’s possible that Syerra Cunningham made a bit of basketball history on Wednesday without ever walking onto a court.

The Zion-Benton High School senior signed her letter of intent to play college hoops at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and she did so at Zion-Benton High — a school for which, as of Wednesday, she had never played a game.

How often does THAT happen?

Cunningham spent her first three years playing at Waukegan High School.

She transferred to Zion-Benton for her season year to become a key piece on a team that could challenge for a state title this winter.

The Bees’ season, however, hasn’t started yet. Hence, the odd circumstance of a school celebrating a college signing by a player who has never played there.


Zion will open its season in the Deerfield tournament on Monday against perennial power Evanston at 6 p.m.

SIU-E plays NCAA Division I basketball and competes in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Syerra honed her basketball schools playing for the Illinois Magic travel team and also got important instruction from Tim Bowen, an area hoops-coaching guru who is now at the helm of Carmel High’s boys team.

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