Nutt puts finishing touch on first class of recruits

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Southeast men's basketball team added three more players to bring its newcomer total to 11

A late push has resulted in first-year Southeast Missouri State men's basketball coach Dickey Nutt filling all of his available scholarships.

Nutt completed his first Southeast recruiting class Monday by announcing the signing of two players and the addition of an invited walk-on.

The signees are freshman shooting guard Derek Thompson and junior forward Cameron Butler. The invited walk-on is sophomore guard Kajuan Watson.

"These three guys are very capable of helping us. They're not just added bodies," Nutt said. "We're very, very fortunate to be able to land these three. We got a lot better today."

The trio completes an 11-member recruiting class for Nutt. That includes eight scholarship players, along with four returning scholarship players for a 15-man roster.

"The thing I think our fans will enjoy most about this group is that they are good people," Nutt said. "These young men have great character, integrity and care about Southeast Missouri State. We're excited and feel like we have an excellent start at building this team.

"Now we're nowhere near where we need to be. People ask me about wins and losses. We have a lot of work to do. This is not going to be a sprint."

Thompson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, spent the last two seasons at Progressive Christian Academy in Washington, D.C., which produced eight Division I players and five of the nation's top 100 prep school players a year ago.

Thompson led Progressive Christian Academy in scoring last season with 17 points per game, while adding five rebounds and four assists.

A native of Detroit, Thompson averaged 25 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to earn first-team all-state honors at Melvindale High School before transferring to Progressive Christian Academy.

"Derek is a young man who I believe our fans will really enjoy watching," Nutt said. "He can do a lot of things, but he can really, really shoot the basketball. That's something we really needed.

"He is a guy that can play all guard positions. We think he has the potential to be a four-year starter."

Butler, a 6-6, 220-pounder, played two seasons at Division II Southern Arkansas but still had his eyes on competing at the Division I level, Nutt said.

So Butler spent the past year at National Park Community College in Arkansas, where he did not play basketball but got his academics in order for Division I eligibility.

"It shows you his commitment," Nutt said. "He had to fulfill a lot of obligations before he could be eligible on the Division I level.

"He chased his dream of becoming a Division I player, and I commend him for that."

Butler, a native of Malvern, Ark., averaged 6.1 points and 4.0 rebounds during his two seasons at Southern Arkansas. Butler, who played in 52 games and made 29 starts, shot 51 percent from the field. He led the team with 17 blocks in 2007-08.

"Cameron is long, he's strong and very explosive athletically. He's a great jumper," Nutt said.

Watson averaged 18 points and five rebounds in 33 starts at Southern Shreveport (La.) Community College last season.

A native of Jacksonville, Ark., the 6-5, 180-pound Watson averaged more than 18 points as an all-state high school senior.

"Kajuan is a versatile player. He can do a little bit of everything and he's very athletic," Nutt said. "He can handle the basketball in the open court and can shoot. More importantly, we think he's going to be a great defender.

"I've known him for a long time. I've watched his career the last three years. He just wouldn't take no for an answer. When I explained to him we would be a scholarship short, I thought that would be the end of it. But he really wanted to come here and be a part of this program."

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