Grapperhaus expects to be ready for practice

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

At one time this summer, Cole Grapperhaus had doubts he would ever play competitive basketball again.

Grapperhaus, a sophomore forward at Southeast Missouri State University, was involved in a jet ski accident near his home town of Breese, Ill., that caused fairly significant back and knee injuries.

"It was scary," Grapperhaus said during Southeast's media day Monday. "I thought basketball was over with at the time."

But Grapperhaus has made an impressive recovery and is expected to be released by doctors prior to Saturday's start of practice.

"I'm feeling a lot better," said Grapperhaus, who was able to avoid surgery following the accident but has spent quite a bit of time in rehabilitation. "It could have been a lot worse. I should be ready to go."

Grapperhaus played in 23 games and started one last year as a true freshman, averaging 1.4 points and 1.4 rebounds. He is expected to add inside depth off the bench this season.

Plenty more depth

The Indians were short on depth last season, forcing many of their starters to play more minutes than Southeast coach Gary Garner would have liked.

But with all five starters returning and the addition of five newcomers, depth should not be an issue this year.

"Down the stretch last year, we had trouble closing games out. Guys were playing too many minutes and I think we were tired," Garner said. "Now we have good depth. And we're going to have competition for spots, which is really important."

Said junior guard Brett Hale, "Depth was one of our biggest weaknesses last year, but we've addressed this. Everybody coming in will really help us."

Preseason predictions

After finishing toward the bottom of the Ohio Valley Conference standings the past two years, several national preseason publications expect the Indians to be toward the top of the league.

Street & Smith's picks the Indians to finish third in the 11-team conference, Lindy's ranks them fourth and Athlon's has them fifth.

Defending champion Austin Peay is the consensus No. 1 pick, with Morehead State and Murray State sharing second and third.

"Austin Peay, Morehead and Murray will all be very good, and Tennessee-Martin will be good," Garner said.

The OVC preseason coaches' poll will be released Oct. 28 at the league's media day.

Indians on television

Southeast is scheduled to appear on television three times this season, with more games expected to be added.

Televised games are Jan. 24 at Austin Peay (live on Fox Sports South, delayed on Fox Sports Midwest); Feb. 7 at home against Murray State (live on Fox Sports South, delayed on Fox Sports Midwest); and Dec. 9 at Arkansas (live on the Arkansas TV Network, and it may be picked up locally).

Noteworthy

  • Central High School product Travis Cox, who was expected to join the Indians as a walk-on guard, is having eligibility issues and his status is up in the air.

    The Indians will open practice Saturday with a pair of workouts. They will practice twice Sunday.

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