SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State Men’s Basketball is going to look a lot different this year.
I’m not just talking about COVID restrictions with 10 new players on the team, six of which are transfers.
“I think they’re trying to get more acclimated with each other with each passing day,” Head Coach Dana Ford said. “That chemistry and that being familiar with one another, it’s not going to happen over night.”
Despite all the new faces, however, the team says this group already feels closer than last year’s did.
“I feel like we’re all really connected,” Sophomore Forward Isiaih Mosley said. “We all hang out outside of basketball. It’s like we’re a big, big family.”
“This group seems way more like a family than last year,” Sophomore Guard Ja’Monta Black said. “We’re all friends. We’re all close. We all hang out with each other a lot.”
Among all the new family members, two guards in particular are getting a bit of hype from their new teammates: Minneapolis freshman Lu’Cye Patterson and Junior JUCO transfer Demarcus Sharp.
“We’ve got this freshman named Lu’Cye,” Black said. “He’s been doing what he’s supposed to do in practice. He’s getting better each day.”
“He came in and he’s been a leader from the start with his talk, his hard work,” Junior Forward Jared Ridder said about Sharp.
It’s not just about new names rejuvenating the Bears, however.
Senior Gaige Prim is slimmed down to help the health of his legs and Ridder says he’s back to 100 percent after season ending shoulder surgery last year.
“Yeah, I’m feeling good right now,” Ridder said. “I’ve been putting a lot of time in the gym. I was away from basketball for a while. It just feels good to be back out there with my team.”
“I feel pretty good,” Prim said. “I feel 100 percent. It’s kind of hard because I feel like I wasn’t 100 percent all last year. I’m excited.”
Together, the Vets and their armada of new names will hope to carry their family dynamic into what’s bound to be a strenuous and unsure season.