Redhawks Hold First Official Practice - Southeast Missouri State University Athletics
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Redhawks Hold First Official Practice
The Southeast Missouri men's basketball team held its first official practice Friday

Redhawks Hold First Official Practice

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Exciting times are ahead for the Southeast Missouri men's basketball team which held its first official practice at the north recreation center Friday.

Southeast will rely on its experience this season, as the Redhawks return three of their top four scorers from a year ago.

Junior forward Tyler Stone is back after leading the team in points (14.7 ppg) and rebounds (7.3 rpg) en route to securing Second-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference and All-Newcomer honors in 2011-12.

Stone, who ranked among the top-10 league individuals in scoring (9th) and rebounding (3rd), also garnered First-Team NABC All-District accolades.

Senior guard Marland Smith followed with 12.3 points per game last season. Smith collected a team-high 28 steals and was the Redhawks top three-point shooter, knocking down 63-of-158 (.399) from behind the arc. He enters his final season ranked 16th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,089 points. Smith is also chasing Southeast's career record in three-point field goals made. He is presently third with 188 treys.

Senior guard Nick Niemczyk was fourth on the team with 9.2 points per game. Niemczyk ranked second in both steals (22) and three-pointers made (46), as well.

Junior guard Lucas Nutt and sophomore forward Nino Johnson are other Redhawks who made big strides since the end of last year.

Nutt averaged 21.4 minutes per contest in 31 games and 16 starts during the 2011-12 campaign.

Meanwhile, Johnson got much stronger, putting on an extra 10 pounds in an active offseason.

Corey Wilford and Michael Porter round out the returnees, both of which saw significant playing time a year ago.

Newcomers A.J. Jones, Wayne Martin, Jared White, Jacob Tolbert and Colin Ferguson complete the 12-man roster.

Jones, expected to be a difference-maker in his debut season, attended Southeast a year ago. Jones, however, could not practice with the team and had to pay his own way until he met his one-year residency requirement to become eligible.

Dickey Nutt begins his fourth year as head coach at Southeast. Nutt's teams have improved each of his first three seasons at the helm. The Redhawks saw a +5 increase in the win column (15-16) during their 2011-12 campaign after going 10-22 the previous year.

In addition, Southeast made it to the quarterfinals of the OVC Tournament each of the last two years.

"We are starting to see the corner and now we need to turn it," said Nutt. "I believe our experience will play a factor this season and I'm excited about this year's team."
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