Redhawks hoops teams face tough year ahead

Monday, November 2, 2009

If the Ohio Valley Conference preseason basketball poll is accurate, both Southeast Missouri State squads will struggle this year.

One week after Southeast's women were picked seventh in the 10-team league, Southeast's men were tabbed for a last-place finish.

With both squads featuring young, inexperienced rosters -- and with the men carrying the nation's longest losing streak of 19 games into the season -- those predictions aren't surprising.

But, as the old saying goes, that's why they play the games. We'll see if each group of Redhawks can prove the prognosticators wrong. And if so, by how much.

My early take on the men, after watching them scrimmage and practice, is that they'll play hard and together, and they'll defend like crazy because those are among the things enthusiastic first-year coach Dickey Nutt has been preaching.

I don't know if that will be enough to overcome what figures to be offensive deficiencies, but I believe fans won't be disappointed by the Redhawks' effort.

I haven't seen the women enough to form a strong opinion, but knowing the product fourth-year coach John Ishee generally puts on the floor, I'll also be surprised if fans don't come away from games thinking the women also put forth maximum effort.

And, from what I have heard, Ishee's nine freshmen are plenty talented. Whether that talent is enough to overcome inexperience this year remains to be seen.

Southeast supporters won't have to wait much longer to see the Redhawks in action as the men play the first of two exhibitions Thursday against Harris-Stowe and the women have their lone exhibition Nov. 9 against Christian Brothers.

The start of the regular season for both teams is less than two weeks away, the women opening Nov. 13 at home against Missouri-St. Louis and the men tipping off Nov. 14 at Saint Louis University.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some hoops.

Southeast alumni and fans are invited to attend a pre-game gathering/tailgate for the Nov. 14 basketball opener at St. Louis.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m., 90 minutes prior to tipoff, and held at Harris-Stowe State's Emerson Center, near Compton and Market streets across from SLU's Chaifetz Arena.

Those planning to attend the tailgate, which costs $10, need to RSVP by Nov. 11. Reservations can be made by e-mailing or calling 651-2259.

For game tickets, which are $28, call 866-SEMO-TIK or e-mail Joyce Penny (

It's no surprise, since he has always maintained his innocence, that former Southeast basketball coach Scott Edgar recently appealed the three-year show-cause penalty imposed against him by the NCAA infractions committee in August.

That was part of the sanctions handed down when the NCAA deemed Edgar knowingly committed major rules violations.

As the NBA season got underway last week, three former OVC players were on rosters.

That includes Lester Hudson, winner of the past two OVC player of the year awards while at Tennessee-Martin, who is a rookie guard with the Boston Celtics.

Former Austin Peay wing Trenton Hassell (New Jersey Nets) is in his ninth NBA season, while ex-Murray State forward James Singleton (Dallas Mavericks) is beginning his fourth NBA campaign.

Another frustrating loss for the Southeast football team, which hung tough at Eastern Kentucky on Saturday but remained winless in OVC play with a 20-6 defeat.

I didn't make the trip, but Southeast's defense evidently played well. EKU's final touchdown came with just four seconds left.

But once again the Redhawks' offense struggled, which has been the theme for several weeks now as Southeast has suffered seven straight losses.

You sure can't question the Redhawks' heart and character, but I know fans were expecting more than a 1-7 overall record and 0-6 OVC mark in the fourth year of coach Tony Samuel's tenure.

Southeast plays its final three games at home, beginning this week against nationally ranked Jacksonville State.

It was not a good year for the six high school football teams in the Missourian's coverage area as only St. Vincent made the playoffs.

The Indians, who host Paris in Wednesday's regional round, went just 5-5 in the regular season but won their final four games and claimed a district title.

Several other squads in the region experienced banner years, led by Sikeston.

The Bulldogs put together their first 10-0 record since 1976 as they simply crushed the opposition, their closest margin of victory being 17 points.

Kudos to Sikeston coach Kent Gibbs, a Jackson native who I've known a long time and have always ranked among the area's better coaches.

It will be interesting to see just how far the Bulldogs can go in the playoffs after they dominated suspect competition in this region. My hunch is that they'll be tough for anybody to beat.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: