“I doubt they even realize the excitement, but it’s a good problem to have. You want people to be excited,” said Missouri State head basketball coach Dana Ford.
Fans are already talking about the upcoming basketball season, but for Coach Ford, it’s all business mid-July.
“There is no fun here. They can go to Branson if they want to have fun,” Ford said.
There’s no doubt Coach Ford has put in the work in the off-season; handing out more offers than available scholarships.
“It’s not rocket science. If a kid’s good enough to play, he’s good enough to play. I don’t want to spend a lot of time recruiting three or four guys and have them let somebody get in their ear and tell them what to do, and you’re not their choice, and now you’re stuck with a roster full of guys that shouldn’t be playing Division-1, so I say offer them all,” said Ford.
Some of the new faces this season: the pair from Rock Bridge, Isiaih Mosley and Ja’Monta Black. Springfield’s Tyem Freeman, and Ford Cooper, who some have as a 4 star recruit.
But there’s also a handful of transfers. Lamont West, coming in from West Virginia, Anthony Masinton-Bonner from Colorado State, and Josh Hall, the red shirt junior from the University of Nevada.
“Now you look out there, you have guys that have played in the NCAA Tournament, guys that have played in the Big 12, the Mountain West, and you have some guys here that have played some meaningful games late in the season. We just have a lot more Division-I experience,” said Ford.
There’s also Gaige Prim, a 6’8″ 230 lb forward, coming from South Plains College, where he averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds a game.
“I just think with the history of Missouri State not having a big man, people are excited to hopefully see us have somebody that can hopefully do some damage around the basket, but he’s got a little ways to go,” Ford said. “With all due respect to junior college basketball, this isn’t junior college basketball.”
Heading into his second year as the Bears head coach, Dana Ford feels good with this year’s group.
“Last year was a lot of unknowns, I don’t have a lot of unknowns right now,” said Ford.