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Basketball Preview 2011-12 Kyle Weems (Senior) Forward—6-foot-6—226 pounds 2010-11 Stats: Started 35 games - MVC Player of the Year - 16 points, 6.9 rebounds per game

Isaiah Rhine (Senior) Center—6-foot-10—244 pounds 2010-11 Stats: Played in 29 games - 233 minutes - 50 points Corbin Thomas (Junior) Forward—6-foot-6—220 pounds Transfer from SWICC - 14.2 points per game at SWICC Anthony Downing (Junior) Guard—6-foot—178 pounds Transfer from Independence C.C. - 18 points per game at ICC - 5.1 rebounds per game Corey Copeland (Sophomore) Guard—6-foot-4—182 pounds 2010-11 Stats: Played in 25 games - 146 minutes - 19 points Christian Kirk (Freshman) Forward—6-foot-7—204 pounds Springfield, Mo. Kickapoo High School Drew Wilson (Freshman) Forward—6-foot-7—212 pounds Tulsa, Okla. East Central High School

Caleb Patterson (Senior) Center—6-foot-11—256 pounds 2010-11 Stats: Played in 31 games - 421 minutes - 172 points Michael Bizoukas (Senior) Guard—6-foot-1—184 pounds Transfer from DePaul University 2010-11 Stats: Played in 28 games - 51 assists Jarmar Gulley (Junior) Guard/forward—6-foot-4—225 pounds Transfer from Highland (Kan.) C.C. 2010-11 Stats: - 23.1 points per game Nathan Scheer (Sophomore) Guard—6-foot-4—203 pounds 2010-11 Stats: Played in all 35 games - 717 minutes - 145 points Keith Pickens (Sophomore) Guard—6-foot-4—191 pounds Missed the entire 2010-11 season with knee injury Dorrian Williams (Freshman) Guard—6-foot-1—195 pounds Oklahoma City, Okla. Douglass High School Will miss 2011-12 season with injury Tomie Aromona (Freshman) Guard—5-foot-10—161 pounds Kansas City, Mo. Lincoln Prep

Casey Garrison (Senior) Guard—6-foot 2010-11 Stats: Started 35 games - 1164 minutes - 636 points Lacey Boshe (Senior) Forward—6-foot 2010-11 Stats: Played in 35 games - 137 points - 73 total rebounds Regan Soldner (Senior) Forward—5-foot-11 2010-11 Stats: played in 33 games - 49 points - 58 total rebounds Aly Stock (Junior) Center—6-foot-4 2010-11 Stats: Played in 17 games - 10 points - 13 total rebounds Karly Buer (Sophomore) Guard—5-foot-7 2010-11 Stats: Started 25 games - 177 points - 75 rebounds Desiree Phillips (Sophomore) Forward—5-foot-11 2010-11 Stats: Played in 16 games - 66 minutes - Nine points NiJay Gaines (Freshman) Guard—5-foot-11 Des Moines, Iowa East High School

Jaleshia Roberson (Senior) Guard—5-foot-8 2010-11 Stats: Started 10 games, - 252 points - .306 three-point percentage Jasmine Malone (Senior) Guard—5-foot-11 2010-11 Stats: Started 33 games - 979 minutes - 326 points Christiana Shorter (Junior) Forward—6-foot-1 2010-11 Stats: Started 34 games - 423 points - 279 total rebounds Whitney Edie (Junior) Guard—6-foot-1 2010-11 Stats: Played in 33 games - 108 points - 101 total rebounds

Hannah Wilkerson (Sophomore) Guard—5-foot-7 2010-11 Stats: Played in 10 games - 104 minutes - 42 points

Bry Snow (Sophomore) Forward—6-foot-1 2010-11 Stats: Did Not Play Transferred from Cincinnati Kenzie Williams (Freshman) Guard—5-foot-10 Mt. Vernon, Mo. Mt. Vernon High School


Basketball Preview 2011-12 Table of Contents Page 4 — Bears basketball season outlook Page 5 — Lady Bears basketball

Page 6 — Kyle Weems profile Page 7 — Casey Garrison profile Page 8 — Schedules Page 9 — MVC preseason polls Page 10 — Paul Lusk profile Page 11 — Lady Bears count on senior leadership and experience

season outlook

Basketball Preview 2011-12 This is a publication of Missouri State University’s student-produced newspaper, The Standard. The university has not approved and is not responsible for its content, which is produced and edited by The Standard staff. Cover photo by Michael Gulledge

The Standard Clay Hall 901 S. National Ave. Springfield, MO 65897 417-836-5272 On Facebook: The Standard On Twitter: TheStandard_MSU On YouTube: MSUStandard

Basketball Preview 2011-12



4 Basketball Preview 2011-12

B e a rs l oo k t o ke ep mo m en t u m af t er hi s t or ic 20 10 - 11 s e a s on Defending MVC champs picked to finish sixth this year By John Cook The Standard

In 2010-11, the Missouri State Bears went on a historic 26-9 run, winning the regular season Missouri Valley Conference title, finishing 171 at home and Bears’ forward Kyle Weems was named MVC Player of the Year. Fast forward to today. Head coach Cuonzo Martin left to coach Tennessee, four starting seniors are gone and the Bears have been picked sixth out of 10 teams in the MVC preseason poll. MSU’s toughest competition in the Valley will be Creighton and Wichita State, which were voted number one and number two, respectively. It would be easy to say that the Bears are going to have a down year, but if you asked the lone returning starter Weems that ques-

tion, you might be surprised what you hear. “If we play as good as I think we can defensively, we’re going to cause a lot of havoc in the Valley,” Weems said. “We’re going to shock some people in how good we’re going to be.” Weems will lead a cast of youth and transfer players trying to repeat as MVC regular season champs. Last year, the Bears were the underdogs, now they are the hunted. “Now that we have a winning culture here, we’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” Weems said. “We wanted it the most last year, we have to have that same drive again.” Four spots will be up for grabs in the Bears’ starting lineup. Sophomore Nathan Scheer, who received more minutes as the season went on last year, said he’s excited for the opportunity. “Nothing’s set yet,” Scheer said. “We’re all still competing for that starting role. But what is exciting is the depth we have this year. Last season we played seven, maybe eight players, now I think you could

see 10 different guys during any given game.” Lusk said the Bears will once again implement a smaller lineup, but seniors Caleb Patterson at 6foot-11 and Isaiah Rhine at 6-foot10 will both see ample playing time. Much of the pressure down low will fall on Patterson, who is making a change in his game from a big man that can shoot, to a post player who can step out and shoot the three if he has to. “Coach wants me to be the post man, the guy you can feed down low who can get good point production,” Patterson said. “Of course, if the opportunity does come for me to shoot the three ball, I’m going to take it, and more times than not, I’ll make it.” As far as the preseason polls go, Lusk said they don’t mean anything. “I think it was Indiana State last year that was picked in the bottom half of their conference, and they ended up going to the NCAA Tournament,” Lusk said. “We have a very challenging non-conference Michael Gulledge/THE STANDARD schedule. I told the guys this is our shot to make a good NCAA résumé.” Freshman Christian Kirk is a Springfield, Mo., native.


Basketball Preview



Lady Bears aim for conference championship, NCAA berth Team tries to rebound after disappointing finish in conference last season By Harrison Keegan The Standard

The Missouri State Lady Bears have high goals this season. After finishing second in the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and dropping the conference tournament championship game to Northern Iowa, there is only one place the Lady Bears want to be. “I think at this level, your goal should be making it to the NCAA tournament,” sophomore Karly Buer said. “We’re really striving to not only finish second, but win the championship this year.” Buer was selected to the MVC all-freshman team after starting 25 games and averaging more than five points per game for the Lady Bears last season. She is one of 12 returning players for a team that finished 24-11 (12-6 in Valley play) last season and advanced to the second round of the WNIT. Last season, the Lady Bears were the

preseason pick to win the conference, but MSU head coach Nyla Milleson said that inconsistency and a strong Northern Iowa team combined kept the Lady Bears out of the NCAA tournament. “We faced a good UNI team last year,” Milleson said. “They were really on a roll, and we didn’t play a very good game in the conference tournament. We are hoping that throughout the season we just get better and play with a bit more consistency.” With all-MVC first-team pick Casey Garrison (senior) and all-MVC secondteam pick Christiana Shorter (junior), the Lady Bears were once again selected as the preseason favorite in the conference. Garrison was named the the MVC Preseason Player of the Year. The Lady Bears should be well tested by the time conference play begins after a couple of high-profile early season games at Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Buer, a Concordia, Kan. native, said she is excited to play against the team she grew up cheering for. “I’ve been to many Kansas State women’s basketball games growing up,” Buer said. “I know the atmosphere, and it’s going to be kind of cool playing on that floor where I used to watch games.”

A big factor in how the Lady Bears perform against those Big 12 powerhouses could be the recovery of junior center Aly Stock. At 6-foot-4, Stock is the team’s tallest player, and she said she is excited to get back on the floor after her injury limited her to 17 games last season. “I think I’ve come back more aggressive,” Stock said. “I want to get on the floor. I want to play. I want to help my teammates out anyway I can.” Milleson said the Lady Bears also expect their three newcomers—sophomore transfer Bry Snow (University of Cincinnati), freshman Kenzie Williams (Mt. Vernon, Mo.) and freshman NiJay Gaines (Des Moines, Iowa)—to contribute this season. “We’re getting them worked in the mix,” Milleson said. “It’s just a matter of overall team improvement right now.” The Lady Bears lost a couple of major contributors when MVC all-defensive team selection Tia Mays left the team for personal reasons and senior leader Kendra Roberts graduated, but the Lady Bears believe they have the players to step up and Megan Gates/THE STANDARD absorb those losses. Senior Lacey Boshe goes for a layup over an The Lady Bears open their regular sea- MSSU defender on Saturday. Boshe scored son at 7 p.m. on Friday against Louisiana six points and grabbed eight rebounds. Tech in Ruston, La.

8 Basketball Preview 2011-12


M S U B e a r s 2 0 11 - 1 2 b a s ke tb a l l s c h e d u l e Date Nov. 11 Nov. 15 Nov. 19 Nov. 26 Nov. 30 Dec. 3 Dec. 7 Dec. 10 Dec. 17 Dec. 19 Dec. 22 Dec. 23 Dec. 28 Dec. 31 Jan. 4 Jan. 7

Opponent Nevada Arkansas State Emporia State Tulsa Oral Roberts New Mexico Oklahoma State Arkansas-LR Kennesaw State Texas A&M-CC West Virgina Saint Mary’s Creighton Drake Illinois State Indiana State

Time 9 p.m. 7 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 9 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 10:30 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 12:05 p.m.

Jan. 10 Jan. 13 Jan. 15 Jan. 18 Jan. 21 Jan. 25 Jan. 28 Feb. 1 Feb. 4 Feb. 8 Feb. 12 Feb. 15 Feb. 22 Feb. 25

Southern Illinois Northern Iowa Evansville Creighton Bradley Illinois State Northern Iowa Wichita State Drake Southern Illinois Bradley Wichita State Indiana State Evansville

7:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 6:05 p.m. 4 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 2 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. TBA

(Bold indicates home game)

L a d y B e a r s 2 0 11 - 1 2 b a s ke t b a l l s c h e d u l e Date Nov. 11 Nov. 13 Nov. 18 Nov. 26 Nov. 29 Dec. 6 Dec. 8 Dec. 11 Dec. 18 Dec. 20 Dec. 29 Dec. 31 Jan. 5 Jan. 7 Jan. 14

Opponent Louisiana Tech Louisville Kansas State Oral Roberts Arkansas-Little Rock ETSU Oklahoma State North Texas Morgan State Arkansas State Bradley Northern Iowa Creighton Drake Wichita State

Time 7 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 1:05 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 7 p.m. 7 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 2:05 p.m.

Jan. 19 Jan. 21 Jan. 27 Jan. 29 Feb. 2 Feb. 4 Feb. 10 Feb. 17 Feb. 19 Feb. 24 Feb. 26 March 1 March 3

Southern Illinois Evansville Indiana State Illinois State Drake Creighton Wichita State Evansville Southern Illinois Indiana State Illinois State Northern Iowa Bradley

(Bold indicates home game)

7:05 p.m. 2 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 4:05 p.m. 7 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 6:05 p.m. 2:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m. 7:05 p.m.


Missouri Valley Conference

2011-2012 basketball preseason rankings Men’s basketball

Women’s basketball

Preseason Player of the Year: Kyle Weems

Preseason Player of the Year: Casey Garrison

1. Creighton 2. Wichita State 3. Indiana State 4. Northern Iowa 5. Evansville 6. Missouri State* 7. Drake 8. Illinois State 9. Southern Illinois 10. Bradley

1. Missouri State* 2. Northern Iowa 3. Wichita State 4. Creighton 5. Indiana State 6. Illinois State 7. Drake 8. Bradley 9. Evansville 10. Southern Illinois

Basketball Preview 2011-12


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Lusk wants players to grow both on and off the court By John Cook The Standard

Trying to replace 2010-2011 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year, Cuonzo Martin, isn’t going to be easy. A fan favorite and a cancer survivor, Martin had a combined record of 50-21 over his last two seasons and a .704 winning percentage. But if there is a man equipped for the job, Paul Lusk just might be the choice. Like Martin, Lusk coached as an assistant for Purdue, and like Martin, Missouri State will be Lusk’s first shot at a Division I head coaching position. “We all have to be our own men,” Lusk said. “I think that Cuonzo and I are both players’ coaches and we have similar coaching styles. But we both have different ways of going about that. A big thing for me is teaching. My whole background is in teaching, and I want these players to grow not only on the court but also off of it.” Senior Kyle Weems and a number of Bears’ players said they’ve noticed Lusk’s teaching ability. “Something I’ve seen Coach Lusk do well is teaching,” Weems said. “When things go wrong it’s really easy for a coach to point the finger, but coach (Lusk) actually takes the time to make sure you learn

Michael Gulledge/THE STANDARD

Paul Lusk gives instructions to his players during a timeout in Saturday’s exhibition game. from your mistake, that way it doesn’t hap- that success is due in large part to Martin. pen again.” “Coming here I relied a lot on Cuonzo Lusk said that the transition to Missouri Martin,” Lusk said. “I knew that when I State has been successful, and that much of did leave Purdue, I wanted to go to a place

that had good people, and Martin told me that this was the right place.” Lusk will be Missouri State’s 17th different head coach, and was named to the position on April 1. The seven-year assistant coach at Purdue is well aware of the Missouri Valley rivalries; he played at Southern Illinois, helping the Salukis to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1993-1995. Sophomore Nathan Scheer said the change from Martin to Lusk has been good. “It was scary for a while when Martin left; we didn’t know who we were getting,” Scheer said. “But coach Lusk stepped in and he’s been great from the beginning. We’re ready to not only validate ourselves, but also Lusk as a great head coach.” Lusk said that having Weems back has made the process easier and added that sometimes he calls the senior forward “Coach Weems” because of the leadership and coaching mentality he brings to the team. “If we play defense like we’re supposed to, rebound the basketball and be efficient offensively, the results will take off themselves,” Lusk said. “I have a lot of decisions to make. We have plenty of depth and not everyone can play.”


Basketball Preview 2011-12


Experience to play vital role for Lady Bears Team will lean on the veteran leadership of its five seniors By Harrison Keegan The Standard

Three years ago, a promising group of freshmen led by Casey Garrison suited up for the Lady Bears and struggled. In what was head coach Nyla Milleson’s second year, the team finished 10-20. Milleson told her young team to stay the course, and they won 46 games over the next two seasons. This season the Lady Bears bring back their top seven scorers from a team that finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference. “This has really been a target year for us in terms of our rebuilding process,” Milleson said. “We’ve made great strides over the last couple of years but with five seniors and virtually 12 returning players, including a redshirt, we’re very excited about what lies ahead of us.” Last season, Garrison was a first-team

all-conference selection after averaging 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. She is one of five seniors on the team this year along with Jasmine Malone, Jaleshia Roberson, Lacey Boshe and Regan Soldner. “I think specifically for us seniors it’s now or never and there is a sense of urgency,” Garrison said. “I think this is the year to do it. I think we’ve got a good group of five seniors and a lot of upperclassmen so this is the year for us.” Milleson said this group of seniors wants to go down as the team that took the Lady Bears from a 10-win season back to their past glory. “I think they’re taking a sense of responsibility and of ownership, not only in the rebuilding process,” Milleson said. “They want to be the class that has taken this program back from the basement where it was at when we took over to the class that gets them back to the NCAA Tournament.” One area where the Lady Bears expect to see a lot more production is in the post. second-team all-MVC junior forward Christiana Shorter averaged 12.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season.

She will get help on the block from Soldner, Boshe, junior Aly Stock and sophomore Bry Snow, who sat out last season after transferring from Cincinnati. Soldner said that the Lady Bears have stepped up their effort in practice in hopes of moving from second place in the league to first. “Last year is over and you are kind of like, ‘OK, that wasn’t good enough so what do we have to do?’ Now you have to go harder, you have to practice more and you have to get in the gym more and do more. We’ve done that for the most part this year.” Milleson said she has been impressed with how the Lady Bears have practiced, but sometimes she forgets that the team does have two freshmen who are unfamiliar with her system. “Our returners have done a very, very good job making sure that they pull the new ones aside if we’re going a little bit too fast, but I have been pleased with our intensity level,” Milleson said. Forgive coach Milleson if she gets going a little too fast in practice, this is Michael Gulledge/THE STANDARD the year she has been waiting for since Desiree Phillips is one of 11 returners. she got on campus.

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