Redhawk men's basketball projected to win OVC division
Senior forward Tyler Stone was picked as the Ohio Valley Conference preseason player of the year for the Southeast Missouri State University men's basketball team at the leagues annual media day in Nashville, Tenn.
Stone was the team's leading scorer averaging 15.5 points per game in 33 games last season. Stone is one of four returning starters. He finished second on the team in field goal percentage with .492, rebounds with 7.8 per game, blocks with 44 and had 25 steals.
Another returning starter is junior forward Nino Johnson, who set a single-season record at Southeast with 84 blocks last season. Stone and Johnson were a tough dual threat in the OVC combining for 51 double-digit point games, 16 double doubles and 10 20-point games over the course of last season.
The team finished with a record of 17-16 last season and had an 8-8 record in the OVC. It started last season off going 3-3. It was an up and down season for the Redhawks with a record of 13-12 before the OVC tournament, which was scattered with small winning streaks followed by small losing streaks.
The Redhawks lost three key players from last year's team. Corey Wilford, Nick Niemczyk and Marland Smith all graduated from Southeast and left the team with holes to fill especially on the offense. Wilford was the second-leading scorer of the season, averaging 14.4 points per game. Smith tied the record for most 3's made in a single game with nine against Eastern Illinois on Jan. 2. Niemczyck averaged 7.5 points per game and had 47 assists on the season.
The team also lost Michael Porter to a career -ending injury with a labral tear to his right hip. Porter missed last year due to injury and will now miss out on his senior year as well.
"We have new seniors this year me, A.J. [Jones] and Lucas [Nutt], so we are trying to be leaders on the court, and we brought great shooters so we shouldn't drop much, maybe even be better," senior forward Tyler Stone said.
One of the new additions to the team is guard Jarekious Bradley from Memphis, Tenn. Last year Bradley was named First Team NJCAA Division I All-American. Bradley also ranked eighth nationally in scoring with 21.1 points per game at East Community College. Bradley is eligible to play this season.
The team has four freshmen this season, Kyle Stroder, C.J. Reese, Antonius Cleveland and Jamaal Calvin.
"All the upperclassmen are leaders, there is not just one person that stands out but all of them," freshmen guard Kyle Stroder said.
Southeast has two exhibition games on Tuesday against Hannibal-Lagrange and Nov. 2 against Quachita Baptist, both are at home for Southeast. The official season home opener is on Nov. 8 against the Central Baptist Mustangs.