Around the MVC this summer

Missouri State forward Christian Kirk (left) can play a position more suited to his size this season, thanks to new teammates.

Bradley

  • The Braves went 3-1 in an August tour of the Bahamas. Coach Geno Ford spread minutes liberally among his 12 players. ¬†Senior guard Walt Lemon led the Braves by scoring 14.8 ppg. Transfer guard Omari Grier averaged 12.3, although he shot 32 percent from the floor. The Braves shot miserably (14-68) from three-point range, although that is misleading. Games were played with the international arc of 22 feet, 1 inch (deeper than the college arc of 20-9) and it’s possible the officials missed a few of Bradley’s threes, according to Bradley’s Bobby Parker. Freshman Jordan Swopshire made 5 of 12. Freshman guard Stefan Zecevic contributed 15 points and eight rebounds in a game in which Lemon played little. For the four games,¬†Zecevic shot poorly (14-38), but did average 6.5 rebounds. All disclaimers about island officiating, opponents, travel, etc. apply.
  • The Braves play eight non-conference home games, most notably against Central Michigan (and former Drake coach Keno Davis) and South Florida (no longer a Big East member). Its road schedule includes games at Illinois and Arizona State. There are numerous potential RPI-killers (Chicago State, IUPUI, Texas-Pan American) on the list.
  • The play of Zecevic impressed Ford as one of the trip’s biggest benefits.

Drake

Evansville

Illinois State

  • Redbirds coach Dan Muller has nine newcomers to work with for his second season. ISU’s off-season hit the low point in late June when Muller kicked guard Bryant Allen, his lone returning starter, off the team in late June. Guard Johnny Hill and forward Jon Ekey, both of whom started, transferred earlier in the spring.
  • Muller hired Luke Yaklich as an assistant coach, replacing Rob Judson.
  • The best news for Redbirds fans (and the MVC) is that Muller is doing a nice job upgrading the schedule. They will play VCU and DePaul in home-and-home series.

Indiana State

Loyola

  • Coach Porter Moser rebuilt his coaching staff with new assistants Daniyal Robinson, Matt Gordon and Emanuel Dildy. He hired former Southern Illinois guard Bryan Mullins as director of operations.

Missouri State

Northern Iowa

  • The Panthers play VCU (which should be the A-10 favorite) in a BracketBusters return game (who misses that much-maligned series?) on Dec. 14 in Cedar Falls on ESPNU.
  • In June, guard Paul Jesperson transferred to UNI from Virginia. He will sit out this season and play two seasons. Jesperson (6-foot-6) started 33 games in two seasons at Virginia and averaged 4.7 points.

Southern Illinois