Southeast men's basketball squad is a work in progress

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's tough to read too much into an exhibition game, but the Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team had its share of rough spots during Thursday's 75-67 win over NAIA Harris-Stowe.

I didn't expect to see a masterful performance considering the Redhawks have four returning players, are under a new coaching staff and lack the talent right now to be a strong Division I squad.

The Redhawks, who have their final exhibition Tuesday night against Division II Ouachita Baptist, are a work in progress and likely will remain that way for the entire season.

Let's face it, unless something miraculous happens, it's going to be another rough campaign.

You don't just turn around in one year last season's 3-27 debacle that featured an 0-18 Ohio Valley Conference record and a 19-game losing streak to end the campaign.

But I like the way the Redhawks are getting after things and trying to play defense, which has been first-year coach Dickey Nutt's big emphasis.

I also love Nutt's attitude and enthusiasm -- along with that of his assistant coaches -- which has rubbed off on the players.

This seems like a good bunch of young men who will work hard, hustle and try to play as a unit.

The bottom line is, don't judge what kind of job Nutt will do at Southeast based on this season. Maybe the Redhawks will exceed expectations -- as low as they are -- or maybe they won't.

Just don't put too much stock, good or bad, into what happens this year.

All that being said, there were things I liked about Thursday's game.

I liked the way freshman guards Derek Thompson and Marland Smith shot the ball. They came to Southeast with that kind of reputation.

I liked the way junior college transfer point guard Anthony Allison ran the team and penetrated. My hunch is Allison will wind up being Southeast's best all-around player this season.

I liked the energy former Division II forward Cameron Butler brought. I've seen that in practices and scrimmages. Senior center Israel Kirk looks like he's improved a lot after he played through injury most of last year.

Southeast also was missing several players who have nagging injuries. It should help when they return.

Zac Roman, Southeast's acting men's basketball coach last season, is back in coaching.

Roman recently was hired as an assistant at Highland (Ill.) Community College, where former Southeast assistant Ronnie Dean took over as coach earlier this year. Dean was a Highland assistant last season.

I'm really happy for Roman, who is a class act and certainly deserved better than the situation he was handed at Southeast last year.

The Southeast football team continues to give tremendous effort, and its defense continues to perform well, but the result remains the same.

Southeast suffered its eighth straight loss Saturday, 24-3 at home to 15th-ranked Jacksonville State, dropping the Redhawks to 1-8 overall and 0-7 in the OVC.

The Redhawks have just one more chance to avoid the program's first winless OVC season since joining the league in 1991.

Southeast finishes OVC play this week at home against Murray State before ending the campaign Nov. 21 at home against third-ranked SIU.

Jackson product Grant Ressel continued his sensational rookie season as Missouri's kicker Saturday with three field goals -- two from 46 yards -- during a 40-32 loss to Baylor.

Ressel, 17 of 18 (94.4 percent) for the year, entered the weekend tied for first nationally in field-goal accuracy.

Congratulations to the Scott City volleyball team for winning the Class 2 state title Saturday.

Making the feat particularly impressive is that the Rams knocked off defending state champion Hermann -- the same squad they lost to the day before in round-robin play and also in last year's state title match.

Also, special kudos to Chaffee junior Luisa Boschan for capturing the girls Class 1 state cross country title.

While the college basketball season begins this week, it won't be long before the high school hoops campaign gets going as area teams start practice today.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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