Holbrook short of requirements, won't play at SE

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Randy Holbrook won't join Southeast Missouri State University's men's basketball program after all.

Holbrook, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound former top-100 national high school recruit who spent two seasons playing in junior college, failed to meet NCAA eligibility requirements, Southeast coach Gary Garner said Friday.

Holbrook needed to pass several classes this summer at a junior college in St. Louis to be eligible. Instead, he is expected to play on the NCAA Division II level, which has less stringent academic requirements for junior-college transfers.

"We knew because of his past academic problems that Holbrook was a risk, but we felt it was worth a try," Garner said. "Because of his talent we knew he could help us as a backup to Brandon Griffin at center.

"He basically had an opportunity to attend classes, do the prescribed academic work and play Division I basketball or he could miss class, fail academically and still play Division II basketball. He chose the latter. I wish him well at the Division II level."

The other junior-college transfer who signed with Southeast, 6-4 guard Norman Prather from Caruthersville High School and Mineral Area College, did meet NCAA eligibility standards and will be eligible this season.

As Garner finalized his 2003-'04 roster Friday, a notable addition is walk-on guard Travis Cox. A 1998 Central High School graduate, the extremely quick Cox has not played organized basketball since his days with the Tigers, but he attended Southeast last year and will have four years of eligibility.

"We're happy to have Travis in the program," Garner said.

The Indians' 15-man roster includes nine returning players: Griffin, Derek Winans, Brett Hale, Damarcus Hence, Kevin Roberts, Adam Crader, Cole Grapperhaus and walk-ons John Boggio and Lance Sechrest.

First-year players, in addition to Prather and Cox, are Dainmon Gonner, Reggie Golson, Mike Nelke and Terrick Willoughby. Gonner, Golson and Nelke all practiced with the team last season.

Southeast will have just two seniors in Griffin and Hence. Official practice begins on Oct. 18, but the Indians will be allowed to hold individual workouts when school starts on Aug. 25.

"I am very excited about the upcoming season," Garner said. "I think we will again challenge for one of the upper positions in the OVC. I can't wait to get started with individual workouts."

mmishow@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 132

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