Missouri State has already begun its preseason schedule, with both the men’s and women’s teams emerging victorious in their first competitive games. We’re big fans of Missouri State basketball and we couldn’t be any more excited about this season. Both teams look really good and we can’t wait to pack the Q and cheer them on! The teams are full of bright, young people who are more than just athletes. Let’s get to know them a little better!
Kellie Harper returns for her 4th season as the head coach of the Lady Bears. On the heels of her most successful season at the helm, Harper will have to overcome the loss of Tyonna Snow, the team’s unquestioned leader last season. She led the Lady Bears to the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year and to a 24-10 record overall. Harper is 56-42 overall in her first three seasons.
Assistant coach Jon Harper is also in his 4th year at Missouri State. He’s been coaching with his wife, Kellie since 2000. Jennifer Sullivan, a former player for Memphis, serves as Harper’s recruiting coordinator. Jackie Stiles is probably a familiar name to you if you’re from the Ozarks. She is the D1 all-time leading scorer and one of the most celebrated and decorated players in Missouri State sports history and now serves as an assistant coach. Matt Bolger joined the staff this year and he’ll be the guy who makes the wheels turn, handling the team’s logistics in travel, scheduling and plenty more.
Shameka Ealy joins the Bears as a freshman from Russellville, Arkansas. Emily Gartner is a 6’4″ center from Hiawatha Kansas. Brice Calip is an incoming freshman from Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
Losing the top two scorers in Snow and Chvatal will be a tough challenge for the Bears this year. Snow will play professionally in Finland this year. Kenzie Williams joined the coaching staff at Missouri Central.
Lusk and the Bears struggled to overcome injuries last year, and he’s looking to put some new recruits and returning transfers to work this year to avoid a repeat. Lusk will look to guards Dequon Miller and Ronnie Rousseau III to facilitate and take advantage of open perimeter shots. He’ll look to Obediah Church and Alize Johnson to dominate the paint and control the oppositions’ bigs.
Coach Gipson has quickly become one of Lusk’s right hand guys. He came to Missouri State from University of North Carolina Greensboro and acts as one of the primary recruiters for MSU. Matt Sligh starts his 2nd year in Springfield as well, coming to us from Motlow in Tennessee where he lead them to a 23-6 record in his last season there. Coach Pickens is a former player for Missouri State who was named an assistant coach just this year. We’re big fans of Coach Pick, because he invited us to come hang out on the court at the Q in June! Cody Seidel handles logistics for the team, but he’s also a film junkie, breaking down the Bears opponents on a regular basis.
Alize Johnson is the guy who dropped 26 on Missouri Baptist last week. He gives the Bears some much needed height (6’9) in the middle, but he doesn’t look like a typical big man. He’s more of a ‘stretch’ forward, regularly drifting out to the 3 point line to knock down triples. Ronnie Rousseau III came out of high school as the number one player in Cincinnati. Last season he averaged more than 23 point per game in NJCAA Division I. You probably saw Greg Williams’ highlight reel last spring when he committed to Missouri State. He’ll be a red shirt this year, but the coaches and staff have high hopes for this kid in the future.
The Bears say good bye to one of their top scorers and rebounders in Camyn Boone. He’s playing professionally in Estonia currently and we wish him the best in Euro-ball. Loomis Gerring was a key role player off the bench last year. Dorrian Williams was unfortunately injured much of last year.