Southeast basketball teams oil the chains at Redhawk Madness
The Southeast Missouri State University men's and women's basketball teams gave fans their first look at the 2014-15 squads Sunday night at the second annual Redhawk Madness event at the Show Me Center.
"Its about getting out to have a little fun," women's coach Ty Margenthaler said. "It just gives a chance for the men's and women's teams to get in front of their fans and say 'Hey, this is what we're about, this is what we have.'"
Men's coach Dickey Nutt said the idea for Redhawk Madness came from his daughter, Lexis Nutt.
"She wanted to do a Midnight Madness, and Midnight Madness was kind of a thing of the past, and I turned it [the idea for Redhawk Madness] over to Phil [Lady] and Nate Saverino and they put together a great event," Nutt said.
"Our guys love this," Nutt said. "They love playing in front of people ... and it kind of tells you that it is basketball season."
The madness began with a hot-shot competition during which a men's and women's player paired up to make various shots, competing against another pair of players. Senior combo-guard Jarekious Bradley and senior guard Yelenda Rosado teamed up to win the competition with the fastest time.
The women's team followed with two six-minute halves of scrimmage play, working on offensive sets and pushing the ball up the floor.
Freshman guard Hannah Noe, a local product from Dexter High School, drew praise from Margenthaler and the coaching staff several times, draining a couple of 3-pointers and making passes to cutting teammates.
Junior guard Olivia Hackmann said she hopes the fans "can kind of see what our team can do and hopefully get them pumped up for the season."
Senior guard Allyson Bradshaw, another local product from Notre Dame Regional High School, said this year's women's team is different from last year.
"We're young. We're short. And we just have a different attitude," Bradshaw said. "Everybody's really excited to be here, and we're all ready to work."
The men's team followed with two 12 minute halves. Several new faces made their presence known to the fans and have been impressing returning players in practice.
Aaron Adeoye, senior power forward transfer from Western Kentucky, hit multiple mid-range jumpers, and is expected to help fill the void left by Tyler Stone's graduation.
Looking to fill the void left by graduated point guard Lucas Nutt is junior Houston transfer J.J. Thompson. Thompson showed off his lightning quick ball-handling skills and gives the Redhawks a scoring threat at the point guard position, something they haven't had since Marcus Brister graduated.
Senior power forward Nino Johnson said the newcomers are going to be a big help for the Redhawks this year.
"They're some great players. That's a great pickup for us, them transferring and being able to play [right away]," Johnson said. "JJ Thompson [being able to] lead our team because he's the point guard, it's a lot of pressure on him, but I feel like he's going to step up and do big things for us."
"They're all coming in with great attitudes," sophomore guard Antonius Cleveland said about the newcomers. "They all got a lot of talent, and they're just willing to come in to learn and work and just play hard."
Johnson and senior combo-guard Darrian Gray said they hope fans took home the impression that this year's team is extremely athletic and has a high upside.
"The number one goal is being a great defensive team. We can score on anybody," Johnson said, "but the main thing is playing defense to create our offense."
Gray also wants fans to realize that this year's Redhawks are a hard-working group.
"Everybody from the last man to the first man, [we're] a hard-working team, and we do that on the court and off the court, also in the classroom," Gray said.
Nutt said that he hopes fans noticed the depth of the men's squad as well as the athleticism.
"I think our depth and our athleticism is a lot better, from top to bottom we have a lot of players that can play," Nutt said. "Everybody on this team has a chance to do some really good things. Good depth makes for a better team."
Southeast students entered into a raffle ticket drawing when they entered the doors, and at the end of the night Traven Mable, who plays right guard for the Redhawks football team, was the lucky winner of a 40-inch smart TV.