How Good Are Missouri State’s Newcomers?
Missouri State Preview – Part 2
(St. Louis, MO) – Many ‘experts’ are calling Missouri State the favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference title. For the Bears to prove worthy of such accolades, their newcomers will have to make significant contributions.
Luckily for Missouri State fans, coach Paul Lusk’s recruiting class is filled with talent, experience and potential. Six new players, two freshmen, two senior transfers and two junior college players bring a healthy mix of size, scoring ability and energy to boost the Bears near the top of the Valley standings.
The freshmen are as different as night and day. Mustafa Lawrence is a 6′ high scoring guard from New Jersey and Darian Scott is a 6’11 rim protector from Las Vegas. The fifth year seniors follow a similar pattern. J.T. Miller was an accomplished scorer at Howard University (Washington DC), averaging 14.7 points per game. Fellow senior Tanveer Bhullar is a 7’2 shot blocking center from New Mexico State. Howard scored over 900 points in his career with the Bison.
Transfers Abdul Fofana and Reggie Scurry are athletic wing players that can play multiple positions, and are potentially ‘X-factor’ type players. Scurry was a junior college teammate of current Bear Jarrid Rhodes. Both the 6’5 Scurry and 6’7 Fofana averaged double-doubles last season. Each averaged over 15 points per game.
Lusk likes the make up of this years recruiting class.
In Part 1 (New MVC Favorites) we discussed the returners from last year’s 17-16 Bears’ squad. One player that IS returning, but is ALSO a newcomer is Ronnie Rousseau. The 5’10 senior was averaging over 11 points per game last season when he left the team after 14 games for ‘personal reasons’. After the time away from school and the team, Rousseau has returned to the Bear program and Lusk is thrilled that the Cincinnati native is back in school, working on his degree and also playing basketball. He goes on to say the Valley race will be a dog fight.
Rousseau is a game changer for the Bears. He’s a proven scorer, outstanding free-throw shooter and a solid play maker. His assist-to-turnover ratio was close to 2-to-1. Missouri State was 10-4 in their first 14 games last year and 7-12 after he left the team.
With these additions to last year’s hold overs, the Bears have reliable scorers at every position, rim protectors on the back line and the best player in the league in Alize Johnson.
In Part 3 we’ll discuss their non-conference schedule and the conference race.