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Missouri Valley Offseason Update

October 17, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Missouri Valley Offseason News Update

by Michael Ermitage

The major news to hit the Missouri Valley conference during the lengthy off-season was the announcement that all 10 of its member schools will be involved in ESPN’s 2004 Bracket Buster event on Saturday, February 21.

The Bracket Buster originated last year to give schools from mid-major conferences a chance to compete against other top mid-major teams. The feeling is that the winners of these games will have another solid win to add to its resume for inclusion in the NCAA Tournament. This year’s event will be a one-day, 23-game event. Ten of the matchups will be televised nationally. In last season’s Bracket Buster, the Missouri Valley had four participants, and finished the day undefeated, the only conference to do so.


The Braves lost forward Danny Granger, who transferred to New Mexico, but not without some drama. Granger, whose transfer resulted in rules violations against New Mexico, quit the Braves in January, and thus, due to NCAA transfer rules, will not be eligible to play for the Lobos until January of this season. New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay said that in March assistant coach Duane Broussard violated a rule in contacting Granger while he was still enrolled at Bradley. The school self-reported the violation, and the NCAA levied a two-day recruiting period penalty, thus shortening their available recruiting window, and Broussard must attend a compliance seminar. Bradley, for their part, refused to release Granger from his scholarship, so he’s paying his way through the first semester this fall at least.

Bradley also lost Assistant coach Howard Moore, who left for a similar position at Ball State under head coach Tim Buckley.

Bradley also received some bad news this offseason as former player Tommy Campbell, 59, died Sept. 14 at his Peoria residence. A product of St. Benedict’s High School in Milwaukee, Campbell enjoyed two stints on the Bradley men’s basketball team, surrounding his military service in Vietnam.

After averaging 21.3 points per game for Bradley’s freshman squad during the 1963-64 season, Campbell was the team’s third-leading scorer during the 1964-65 and 1965-66 seasons.


Despite losing Kyle Korver, the Creighton Bluejays are looking forward to its first season in its new facility, the $291-million Qwest Center OMAHA. The Qwest Center has a capacity of 15,500.

In other Creighton news, former player Porter Moser was hired as the new head coach at Illinois State University. Moser replaced Tom Richardson after leading Arkansas-Little Rock to a 54-34 record in three seasons.


The Bulldogs brought in a big-name coach in Dr. Tom Davis to replace Kurt Kanaskie, who resigned from the position. Davis is 543-290 lifetime, and he has coached at Lafayette, Boston College, Stanford and Iowa. He led Iowa to a No. 1 ranking in his first season at Iowa in ’87-’88. Kanaskie had been the Bulldogs’ coach since 1996.

The Drake basketball team also got a head start on the 2003-04 season by playing three games in Cancun, Mexico during Labor Day weekend. The Bulldogs went 3-0 on the trip including an 84-60 victory past the Belize National Team which had earlier defeated the University of Arkansas, 83-78.


Former assistant Steve Palmore left to become an assistant at the College of Charleston. Palmore was an assistant with Evansville last season, and has coaching experience with Lander University (South Carolina), Erskine College (SC), and Western Carolina. The Cougars were 25-8 last season, their tenth straight season with 20 or more wins, and had an appearance in the NIT.

To replace Palmore, the Purple Aces hired Jason Zimmerman, a native of Warsaw, Ind. who coached at Davidson College the past seven seasons.

Illinois State

Illinois State officials declined to renew coach Tom Richardson’s contract after a four-year tenure produced a 56-64 record. They then hired Peter Moser who led Arkansas – Little Rock to a 54-34 record in three seasons. Moser is a native of the Missouri Valley conference as he played for Creighton.

The Redbirds saw former assistant Lance Irvin hired by Texas A&M head coach Melvin Watkins. The team also saw assistant director of basketball operations Chad Altadonna hired away by Kansas State.

Indiana State

Indiana State men’s basketball head coach Royce Waltman added Matt Mardis to his staff. The Terre Haute native replaces Michael Menser, who decided to leave coaching after one season in that role.

After helping lead Terre Haute North High School to four sectional titles and averaging 20.2 points per game as a senior, Mardis played from 1996-2000 at Campbell, a school in Buies Creek, N.C. Mardis, a 6-foot-2 guard, and the Camels played in the Trans Atlantic Athletic Conference, and had some non-conference battles with nearby giants Duke and Wake Forest, among others. Two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Kansas State under Jim Woolridge followed.

Northern Iowa

Panther head coach Greg McDermott hired Jeff Rutter as an assistant coach this offseason. Rutter, who replaces Kyle Green after he left for an assistant position at Marquette, was the head coach of Wisconsin-Parkside (D-II) the past seven seasons. Rutter is a graduate of Winona State, and was an assistant at North Dakota State for five seasons prior to accepting the position at UW-Parkside.

The Panthers also got some offseason games in, completing a 13-day, six-game trip to Australia 3-3.

Southern Illinois

The Salukis found themselves on the back end of giant coaching domino game this offseason. When Roy Williams left Kansas to coach North Carolina, the Jayhawks replaced him with Illinois coach Bill Self. That left an opening for Saluki coach Bruce Weber, who jumped at the opportunity to return to the Big Ten, where he was an assistant coach for 18 years. The Salukis hired Matt Painter, Weber’s top assistant, as his replacement. Painter has been at Southern Illinois for five years.

In other news, Southern Illinois announced that sophomore forward Blake Schoen left the team. Schoen, who was mainly a defensive specialist, played in all games last season, and averaged 2 points and 1.5 boards in just under 10 minutes per game.

SW Missouri State

The Southwest Missouri State University Board of Governors approved a two-year extension to the basketball coaching contract of SMS head men’s coach Barry Hinson. Hinson, who has coached at SMS for the past four years, had his original four-year contract rolled over in 2000 and had one year remaining on that contract. Hinson’s contract has now been extended for two additional years through the 2005-06 season.

Hinson then recommended that Ric Wesley, starting his fifth year as an assistant coach on the Southwest Missouri State men’s basketball staff, be promoted to associate head coach. The action was approved by the SMS athletics administration and by the SMS Board of Governors. Wesley will continue with the duties he has had as one of the primary recruiters on the staff as well as practice and game coaching responsibilities.

In other team news, Western Illinois hired away former assistant Derek Thomas as its new head coach. Thomas is known for his recruiting skills. And Wichita State announced that Zack Green, a 6-10 freshman center from Norman, Okla., will be unable to participate in men’s basketball for approximately six months due to injury. The loss severely hurts the Shockers inside game, who were expecting an immediate impact from the big center.


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