CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team opened fall practice Tuesday afternoon with high hopes for the upcoming season.
"We have gone from the hunter to the hunted," said Head Coach Dickey Nutt.
"We're not gonna sneak up on anybody anymore," said senior point guard Lucas Nutt.
"We come into this thing with a target on our back, and we want that," said senior forward Tyler Stone.
The Redhawks will be one of the early-season favorites in the Ohio Valley Conference.
"It's all on paper. Expectations are high but until you do it on this 94-foot floor then it doesn't mean anything," Coach Nutt said.
Nutt's teams have improved each of his first four seasons at Southeast, winning 17 games last year for the first time in a decade.
The outlook is high again thanks to a core group of returners: Stone and Nino Johnson in the frontcourt; Nutt and AJ Jones in the backcourt.
"This is no doubt the most talented team I've had since my dad and I came here," Lucas Nutt said. "As far as staying healthy and gelling together this year will determine our season."
"Everyone else is gonna hit us hard cause we basically, obviously number one in the league now so we just gotta stay humble and do what we gotta do," Johnson said.
Ten newcomers add to the talent mix, led by Auburn transfer Josh Langford who will be eligible Dec. 21.
Junior college standouts Jarekious Bradley and Darrian Gray will also be expected to have a big impact."
"Just being energetic for the guys, you know lifting the guys up, we are going to have a good team its no individual parts it's all a team," Langford said.
"They all have their qualities but again its a different level and it will take a little time, so hopefully we can get those blended in, quickly," Nutt said.
If all the pieces fit into place, the final puzzle could be a memorable one.