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Highly touted transfers finally have their day
After a year of practicing with the Redhawks, Foust and Rembert will make their debuts.
Brandon Foust and Mike Rembert patiently bided their time last season -- but they admit that doing nothing but practice got a bit old.
Now, however, Southeast Missouri State's highly anticipated transfers are ready to take the court in earnest -- and ready, they say, to help the Redhawks rebound from last year's 7-20 record and 10th-place Ohio Valley Conference finish.
"Man, I can't wait," Foust said Monday evening as the Redhawks held their annual media day at the Show Me Center. "I can't wait for Nov. 2 [when Southeast opens its exhibition schedule].
"Even though it's only an exhibition, it's going to be great to get on the court for a game again."
Added Rembert, "It's been tough to sit out that whole year. I'm really excited about the season."
Foust, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior forward, and Rembert, a 6-9, 250-pound junior center, both could not participate in games last season under NCAA transfer rules.
Foust came to Southeast from Oklahoma, while Rembert began his college career at Bradley.
Neither player put up big numbers at his former school, primarily because of a lack of playing time that basically led to the transfers.
But both were touted recruits coming out of high school, drew raves from former Southeast coach Gary Garner during their practice time last season and have also impressed first-year Redhawks' coach Scott Edgar.
"I'm very happy with them," Edgar said. "They're still shaking off the rust from sitting out, but they're both capable of having big years for us.
"They came from programs with higher prominence than Southeast Missouri, but you couldn't tell it by the way they've really fit in. They have great character."
The high-flying Foust, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was a consensus top-75 national recruit as a high school senior.
As a freshman at Oklahoma in 2003-2004, Foust averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He began to blossom toward the end of the season, scoring a career-high 19 points against LSU and scoring 11 points against Texas.
But Oklahoma moved Foust to the two-guard position in his sophomore season and he just never felt comfortable there as his playing time dwindled. He averaged 2.8 points in five games before leaving at the end of the first semester.
"I just wanted more playing time," Foust said.
Foust's relationship with Southeast assistant coach Toby Lane, who formerly was on Oklahoma's staff, helped steer him to Cape Girardeau.
"Me and coach Lane had a little connection," Foust said. "That's mainly why I'm here, but I'm really happy I came."
The rugged Rembert, who is from Chicago, saw limited time in his two seasons at Bradley --primarily because he was buried behind two of the premier players in the Missouri Valley Conference, including Patrick O'Bryant, an NBA lottery pick this year.
Rembert averaged about two points per game with the Braves, but he shot 50.5 percent from the field as a sophomore.
"We didn't know at the time he O'Bryant was going to be the No. 9 pick in the draft," Rembert said, laughing. "I just wanted more playing time."
Southeast's game at Bradley during Rembert's freshman season with the Braves indirectly helped steer him to Cape Girardeau, with an assist from Redhawks assistant Ronnie Dean.
"Coach Dean remembered me when we played them my freshman year," Rembert said. "When I decided to transfer, he talked to me. I really like it here. It's comfortable."
As difficult as it was to sit out last year -- particularly with the way the Redhawks' season went -- Foust and Rembert both said having each other to lean on made things easier.
"It was tough, and when we started losing it got real frustrating because I know I could have helped," Foust said. "But we were there for each other. It would have been hard if I was the only one sitting out, but we did it together."
Said Rembert, "It was frustrating, especially when the team is going 7-20. You wish you could help. But we used each other for support. It would have been tough to do it alone."
Foust and Rembert are among the many first-year Southeast players being counted on to help the Redhawks bounce back from last year's disappointing season that led to Garner's dismissal.
Only three players -- guards Terrick Willoughby and Paul Paradoski, along with little-used center Tyrell White -- played more than three games a year ago.
A fourth player, guard David Johnson, missed all but three games with an injury.
The rest of the 13-player roster will be wearing Southeast uniforms for the first time -- but Foust and Rembert say not to worry.
"I think we're going to have a really good year," Rembert said. "I definitely think we'll be able to bring some people back to the Show Me Center."