SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A bunch of new names and faces.
That might be what the minds of Missouri State Men’s basketball fans will be thinking when they look at the roster.
New names like Chance, Dalen, Kendle, the Bears have 14 newcomers of the 17 on the roster.
“Coach (Sheldon) Everett and (Dana) Ford recruited me here and told me a lot of great things,” MSU guard Chance Moore said. “A great program and we just want to make some noise in the Valley.”
But the changes might not be as difficult as you think. Everyone is in the same boat.
“Some people look at that like a negative thing,” MSU guard Kendle Moore said. “I feel like it is a positive because we are all coming from kind of the same thing. We all transferred and are coming in to build something great.”
“They are looking for the best fit, we are looking for the best fit,” Bears head coach Dana Ford said. “We feel like we really took our time in putting this roster together in order to continue to compete in our league.”
Of the 14 newcomers, four are power-5 transfers.
“It was an adjustment as anything is,” MSU guard/forward James Graham said. “It was such a family environment. Coach Ford and all the coaches did a great job of putting us together. It’s truly a brotherhood.”
And one enters with Elite 8 tournament experience.
“People pretty much ask me about that every day,” Bears guard Matthew Lee said. “It’s at an immensely higher level. 18,000 or 20,000 people at every game, but the game of basketball is the same no matter how many people are watching.”
Three are freshman from local prep schools. Kanon Gipson and Jonathan Dunn from We Are United Prep through Rogersville and Damien Mayo from Link Academy.
“They are a little more physically mature,” Ford said. ”They can keep up their level of intensity for a tad bit longer.”
The three returners are Dawson Carper, Raphe Ayers and Donovan Clay.
Clay, the only returning starter, is entering his senior season and was tabbed second team preseason all-Valley.
“Nobody else has been in the Valley,” Clay said. “It’s definitely a big thing for us to help them understand what the Valley is. I feel like we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to bring everybody along.
The arena title, the names, and the team might be new, but the goals are the same.
A run in March and a run at an NCAA Tournament.
The Bears open the season on Wednesday, November 9, against Missouri S&T.