Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team likely to redshirt Reese

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Freshman point guard is due to arrive after Christmas

Southeast Missouri State men's basketball coach Dickey Nutt said it's almost a certainty that incoming freshman point guard C.J. Reese will redshirt this year.

Nutt said that's not set in stone and things could change, but he's definitely leaning in that direction considering Reese already has missed almost half the season and has not participated in a practice yet.

"It's almost a given we won't use him this year because nearly half our season is over," Nutt said. "We want to do what's best for C.J. and our basketball team. He understands. He said he'll do whatever we want him to do."

Reese is scheduled to arrive on campus Dec. 26, a bit later than had been planned.

Reese, a native of Atlanta, Ga., was originally going to be in Cape Girardeau over the weekend, after the first semester officially ended Friday.

But Nutt said that, since Southeast players are being given a few days off for Christmas, it would make more sense for Reese financially if he simply reports to campus at the later date.

"If he came earlier, it would be very hard for him financially to go back home for Christmas," Nutt said. "I told him to just come in Dec. 26."

Reese was not approved academically by the NCAA Clearinghouse for the first semester and never enrolled at Southeast because, under NCAA regulations, he could not receive athletic aid while academically ineligible.

Nutt said Reese took care of his academic requirements in his home area and will be eligible as soon as he arrives on campus.

But Reese will have a lot of catching up to do from a basketball standpoint. By redshirting, he'll preserve his four years of eligibility beginning next season.

A decision on Reese redshirting does not have to be made at any particular time, but if he appears in any game this season then the redshirt possibility is gone.

"He can travel with us. We can decide to play him at any time if we want to, but as long as he doesn't get in a game we can redshirt him," Nutt said. "At this point he needs to get ahead academically, get himself situated. We'll just play it by ear. I'm proud he stuck with us and got the class done that he needed to be eligible."

The 6-foot-2, powerfully built Reese at one time received interest from several Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference programs.

Reese played his final two high school seasons at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn., after beginning his prep career in his hometown of Atlanta.

"We feel like he's going to be a special player for us. We would have loved to have him before the year started, but better late than never," said Nutt, whose 6-6 squad plays its first game since Dec. 8 when it hosts New Orleans at 7 p.m. Wednesday. "The big thing, he'll be able to get a good practice in every day."

The same goes for 6-5 wing Darrian Gray, who signed with Southeast last month out of Lake Land (Ill.) Community College.

Gray will enroll at Southeast for the second semester. He is not eligible for games until next season but can practice with the team. He will have two years of eligibility with the Redhawks.

Gray joins 6-7 forward Wayne Martin Jr. in being able to practice with Southeast this year while not eligible for games.

Martin, a transfer from Central Florida who has been practicing with the Redhawks all season, will have three years of eligibility.

"It's such an advantage to be able to practice and get adjusted to things," Nutt said. "We're excited about all of these guys."

Porter update

Nutt said junior forward Michael Porter still is not close to returning to the court as he continues to recover from a broken foot suffered during preseason practice.

Nutt said the healing process has not been as smooth as anticipated. Porter is scheduled to have the foot examined again later this month.

"His foot is not healing the way the doctors wanted," Nutt said. "We'll just have to play that by ear. It's unfortunate for him. but his day will come. We're positive he'll be back on the court some time."

Porter, before breaking his foot, already was hobbled after he suffered a torn labrum in his hip for the second time.

Porter's absence has hampered Southeast's frontcourt depth, forcing junior Tyler Stone and sophomore Nino Johnson to play more minutes than ideal.

"We really miss him," Nutt said about Porter. "He gave us that experience, that toughness."

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