A local 3-point specialist will join Redhawks as a walk-on

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball program will be adding a local walk-on for the second year in a row.

Kendal Deason, a former Kelly High School star who played the past two seasons at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, will join the Redhawks.

Deason, a 6-foot guard, was the top 3-point shooter last season for a TRCC team that went 26-11 and advanced to the national junior college tournament.

Deason, who played in all 37 games and made 19 starts, hit 81 of 212 3-pointers (38.2 percent). He averaged 7.9 points per game.

A true 3-point specialist, Deason attempted just 41 field goals from inside the arc.

Deason received some scholarship offers from smaller programs, but elected to stay close to home and pay his own way at Southeast.

Who knows if Deason will receive any significant playing time for the Redhawks -- potential injuries could play a role in that -- but having such an accomplished long-range shooter available sure can't hurt.

The local walk-on who joined Scott Edgar's program last year -- guard Xavier Delph from Notre Dame High School -- played just five minutes all season. He did not score a point and did not even attempt a shot.

At last report, Delph was planning to return to the Redhawks for the 2007-08 campaign.

NCAA regulations prohibit Edgar from talking about a player not on scholarship until the player attends classes, but the coach is said to be pleased that Deason will be a part of the Redhawks' program.

Edgar and his staff will conduct their annual camp at the Perry Park Center in Perryville from Wednesday through Friday.

The camp is open to ages 6 through 15. The cost is $45, with part of that being donated to the Perry Park Center.

I've been told that youngsters had a great time at the camp last year, and it sounds like something that kids won't want to miss this time around.

For more information, call the Perry Park Center at 547-7275.

By the way, I think that was a nice hire by Edgar recently, adding to his coaching staff Rodney Hamilton, who has been an assistant at NAIA Crichton College in Memphis, Tenn., the past two seasons.

I know that Edgar really wants to recruit in the Memphis area, which is a hotbed for high school hoops. He did it successfully as the head coach at Murray State and as an assistant at Arkansas.

Considering that Hamilton was a high school star in Memphis and later a successful prep coach in that city, he should have all kinds of connections and know just about everybody there -- if Edgar doesn't already.

Plenty has been written and talked about in the media recently regarding the Southeast men's basketball schedule, which has not yet officially been released by the university but is no secret to those who follow the Redhawks.

Well, the Southeast women's basketball schedule is also nearly set and should be officially released in the next several weeks.

Coach John Ishee's Redhawks have an attractive nonconference home slate and will also receive the program's biggest-ever payout for a "guarantee" road game.

Headlining Southeast's five non-league home dates is the highly-anticipated one against 2004-05 national champion Baylor in a return game from when the Redhawks visited the Bears last season.

Southeast hosts Baylor on Nov. 29, part of a rugged two-game stretch for the Redhawks that has them facing a pair of NCAA tournament squads from a year ago.

After playing Baylor, which was knocked out in the NCAA second round last season, the Redhawks visit Purdue on Dec. 2. Purdue advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight last year.

But the Redhawks will be well compensated for the trip.

Southeast will reportedly receive $20,000 for that contest -- more than any other women's basketball game in program history. Purdue will also pick up the tab for the Redhawks' hotel rooms.

As for other nonconference home dates against Division I opponents, the Redhawks host Tulsa from Conference USA -- in the season opener on Nov. 10 -- and Buffalo from the Mid-American Conference. Those are also return games from last year.

The Redhawks' other two non-league home contests will be against non-Division I opponents. The foes have not been finalized, but one is likely to be Cumberland (Tenn.), which placed second in last year's NAIA national tournament.

Other non-league road matchups will send the Redhawks to Central Arkansas -- another return game from last season -- and to a Thanksgiving tournament at New Mexico State, where Southeast will face Northern Colorado and Texas State.

Then, of course, there are the 20 Ohio Valley Conference games.

All in all, it looks like an interesting and challenging schedule for the two-time defending OVC champion Redhawks.

I think it's pretty neat that the Southeast football team will play the University of Missouri in 2008, as MU will pay Southeast $250,000.

Since 2000, the Division I-AA Redhawks have played at least one Division I-A opponent every season in order to provide a financial boost to the university's athletic department.

This year, the Redhawks' Division I-A foe is Cincinnati, which will pay Southeast $250,000 for the season-opening game on Aug. 30.

Arkansas paid Southeast a school-record $300,000 last season and Southeast already has a signed contract to visit Cincinnati for $275,000 in 2009.

Since moving up to Division I-AA in 1991, Southeast is 1-11 against Division I-A teams, the lone win coming in 2002 against Middle Tennessee State.

Southeast lost 63-7 at Arkansas last season.

The way I see it, if you're going to get hammered for money -- as is usually the case against Division I-A opponents from high-profile conferences -- you might as well get hammered by a team people around here follow and are familiar with.

MU fits that profile.

A story in Wednesday's Southeast Missourian about the Southeast baseball program signing junior college all-American Kieran Bradford from Three Rivers Community College noted that Bradford will be the second Australian to ever play baseball at Southeast.

Actually, he'll be the third, joining Brad Purcell and Tristen McDonald, Aussies who starred for Southeast's 2002 team that posted the program's only NCAA Division I regional victory.

I wrote a few weeks ago that Jeremy Boyer -- the outstanding organist for Southeast home baseball games -- played the organ for a recent Memphis Redbirds contest. The Redbirds are the Class AAA affiliate of the Cardinals.

Well, Boyer will actually play at about half of the Redbirds' remaining home games because the team's longtime organist is having health issues. Boyer is splitting time with another "fill-in" organist.

In addition to playing the organ at all Southeast home games the past few years, Boyer has also performed at Plaza Tire Capahas contests during the summer.

I'm no expert on organists, but Boyer -- a 2004 Southeast graduate who still lives in Cape Girardeau and runs a professional choir for National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville -- is among the best I've ever heard.

Jackson High School is losing a great baseball coach as Rex Crosnoe leaves the district to become assistant principal at Cape Girardeau Middle School.

I've known Crosnoe well since his days as a Central High School baseball star, which led to a brilliant career at Southeast.

Crosnoe is about as good a coach as this area has to offer, and he has the character to match.

Landon Shipley, a guard with local ties who played the past two seasons at Austin Peay before leaving the program, will continue his college basketball career at Illinois State.

According to the Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington, Ill., Shipley will join Illinois State as a recruited walk-on because the Redbirds were out of scholarships.

Shipley, whose father David was a Southeast basketball standout in the 1970s, will have to sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules, after which he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

I wrote last week about how I was pulling for Cleveland to win the NBA finals -- primarily because I really like LeBron James -- but didn't give the Cavaliers much of a chance against vaunted San Antonio.

Just as I, and most people, suspected, the Spurs were simply too good for the Cavs, who did not even win a game.

That didn't totally surprise me, although I thought Cleveland would squeeze out one victory instead of being swept.

But what's probably the most surprising thing to me is that the Cavs even won the Eastern Conference title.

Sure, the East was pretty weak this year, but take James away from the Cavs and I don't know that they have another legitimate, upper-level NBA player.

Larry Hughes, when healthy, maybe, but he was banged up for much of the playoffs.

But as good as James was in being primarily responsible for getting Cleveland into the NBA finals, not even he could make a major difference against the talented and cohesive Spurs.

All props have to go to San Antonio, which captured its fourth NBA title in nine years.

I don't think the Spurs quite rank among some of the NBA's all-time dynasties, but you've at least got to include them in the discussion.

And finally, here's wishing a fond farewell to Jeremy Joffray, one of my colleagues at the Southeast Missourian the past five years.

Jeremy, who has left the Missourian to pursue a law degree -- his last day at the newspaper was Friday -- covered high school sports for us like nobody else ever has, in my opinion. That's how good he was.

Jeremy not only has been a brilliant sports writer, he's also a heck of a good guy who I am honored to consider a friend.

He will be sorely missed, but the Missourian's loss will no doubt be the legal profession's gain.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian

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