SPRINGFIELD, Mo–The Drury Panthers will tip off the new basketball season Friday night in their annual tip-off classic.

Chris Foster’s team will play Northwood, then Saturday afternoon it’s Lake Superior State.

It’s Foster’s second season and he’s excited to see what his new look team can do this year.

The Drury Panthers paid a Halloween Eve visit to coach Chris Foster’s mentor Greg McDermott and his Creighton Bluejays.

”When we agreed to play the game, we didn’t know they’d be preseason Top Ten,” said Foster.

The visit wasn’t much of a treat, Creighton beat Drury 109-57.

Instead of candy, this young Panthers team had a handful of game experience dropped in their bag.

”It was awesome really playing a nationally ranked top ten team in the country. It’s something that I don’t think any of these guys will have a chance to experience again,” said Drury forward Adam Moore.

Coach Foster has already picked up his first win of the season, his health.

Last fall, doctors diagnosed Foster with an auto-immune disease that caused him to miss almost two months of the season.

Now with proper medication, Foster is back on the bench.

Foster:”Health is good, I’m feeling well. It’s nice to be healthy and starting off the year with some optimism. I’m looking forward to it.”

Now he can focus on rebuilding the Panthers.

Last year’s team won only ten games and only three players returned.

Foster rolled up his sleeves and brought in 13 new players.

”It’s a challenge but thankfully we’ve worked really hard to get the right kind of guys. So that transition has been much smoother then probably expected,” said Foster.

Included in that group 6-foot-4 guard Preston Cook who spent four years at Auburn and was on their Final Four team.

”I had a grad year left to play. I decided to come here. I thought it was a great fit and a great opportunity. I just wanted to come and see if I could make a change, make an impact,” said Cook.

Also joining the group, Adam Moore, who played against Drury for four years at Quincy.

”This is the first time that I’ve ever worn red. Our first game last week against Creighton. I looked down and said hey this is pretty cool,” said Moore.

It’s all cool for Quenton Shelton.

The Lebanon product is one of the returners and loves the feel of this new Drury team.

”Our ability to work together. As in practice we share the ball… This team makes the first extra if not the second extra to pass up the good shot to take a great shot,” said Shelton.

It’ll be a long road for this Drury bunch.

The Panthers were picked eighth in the preseason Great Lakes Valley Conference poll.

But if you have your health, and a handful of new talent, anything can happen.