Four basketball players not returning

Monday, April 19, 2010

I recently wrote about it being a certainty that several Southeast Missouri State scholarship men's basketball players with eligibility remaining will not be returning to the program.

While there hasn't been an official announcement and might not be for a while, sources have told me that group consists of junior forward Jajuan Maxwell, junior guard Sam Pearson, junior forward Eric McCrary and freshman guard LaQuentin Miles.

Maxwell is the only one of the four not brought in by Dickey Nutt when he took over as coach last year.

Maxwell, who has been with the program four years -- he sat out one season with an injury -- received sporadic playing time this past season, starting seven games and averaging 13.9 minutes. He averaged 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds.

Pearson was by far the most productive of the group as the junior college transfer started 27 games despite being hampered much of the season by a foot injury. He was Southeast's fourth-leading scorer with an 8.8 average. He led the Redhawks in assists and turnovers, with 80 and 94, respectively.

McCrary, also a junior college transfer, received limited playing time as he averaged 8.9 minutes and 2.7 points off the bench.

Miles didn't play much early in the season but saw significant action late. He made two starts and averaged 12.3 minutes, contributing 2.8 points.

I don't know the future plans of the four, but good luck to them.

I like what I see out of the four Southeast men's basketball signees announced last week, especially the junior college center and junior college point guard.

Zach House, the 7-footer from Sauk Valley (Ill.) Community College, should help give the Redhawks an inside presence that was lacking during Nutt's first season.

And Marcus Brister, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound point guard from Eastfield College near Dallas, should give the Redhawks a pure point guard that they also were lacking last season, especially after walk-on Lucas Nutt went down.

A lot of people are knocking Brister on the Internet because he apparently is not a good free-throw shooter and struggles with his outside shot, but if he were proficient in those areas Southeast probably would have never had a chance to sign him.

All I know is that Brister is supposed to be a strong, natural point guard who is good at getting to the basket and finding the open man with pin-point accuracy.

Who knows how Brister, who started his college career at Iowa State after being heavily recruited by some major programs out of high school in the Dallas area, will turn out at Southeast. But I'd say signing him was worth the gamble.

Along with an early signee, Southeast has added five new players for next season. Minus the four departing players listed above, that makes 10 scholarships accounted for and leaves the Redhawks with two more available.

I wouldn't be surprised if Nutt uses those two remaining scholarships, but only if he can get the type of players he's really looking for. I don't think Nutt will be signing any more players just to fill roster spots, which is what he basically was forced to do last year.

Along with the several recruited walk-ons in the program, Southeast has plenty of players.

Also, along with the recent signees, don't forget that heralded forward Leon Powell will be just like a new recruit next season. Powell, the jewel of Nutt's first recruiting class, missed the past season with a torn ACL.

For the second straight season in 2001-11, the Highland (Ill.) Community College men's basketball program will be headed by a former Southeast coach.

Zac Roman, who served as the Redhawks' acting coach during the 2007-2008 campaign, recently was named Highland's coach.

Roman spent this past season on the Highland staff under former Southeast assistant Ronnie Dean, who is leaving to become the head assistant at perennial national junior college power Indian Hills in Iowa.

Good luck to both Roman and Dean in their new positions.

Southeast baseball fans have a chance to help senior All-American catcher Jim Klocke win a prestigious award.

Klocke recently was named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award, which stands for "Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School," focuses on the complete student-athlete on and off the field. Each candidate was chosen based on four criteria: classroom, character, community and competition.

Fan balloting counts for one-third of how the winner will be selected, with the remaining two-thirds determined by Division I coaches and national media.

Instructions on how to vote for Klocke can be found at, the Southeast athletic department website. Voting runs through May 31, with the winner announced in June at the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

A former Southeast baseball standout was erased from the Ohio Valley Conference record book Saturday.

Jacksonville State's Bert Smith became the OVC's career leader in hits, surpassing Jeremy Johnson, one of Southeast's all-time greats who played for the then-Indians from 1997 to 2000.

Johnson, who had 287 collegiate hits, still ranks as Southeast's career leader in hits, runs scored, runs batted in, total bases and games played.

I got my first look at Jackson's new Whitey Herzog Stadium last week -- covering the Jackson vs. Notre Dame baseball game -- and came away impressed.

It's a top-notch facility and will be even better once everything is completed.

Kudos to all who had a hand in making Herzog Stadium a reality.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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