New Missouri Baptist Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matt Brock took over the reigns of the program in the middle of the spring and began the culture shift for the team almost immediately. Now, just five months removed from beginning work at the University, MBU has a completely new look and new attitude heading into the 2015-16 season.
The Spartans’ facelift is all part of a rebuilding process from a season ago in which the team captured just six victories. Of the nine new players, four are originally from Missouri, which will bring a local flair back to Missouri Baptist Men’s Basketball.
“We are very excited about our incoming class and returners,” said Head Coach Matt Brock. “Our assistant coaches, Jared Goodwin and Patrick Sodemann, have worked very hard to get these guys here. We have a good mix of youth and experience, and addressed areas of need. We are ready to get to work and start to grow and develop as a team.”
Among the newcomers from the home state is Jared White (pictured). The 6’2” junior point guard was an All-Region selection at Three Rivers Community College after starting his collegiate career at Southeast Missouri State. The former DeSoto Dragon earned High School Conference MVP honors twice in his prep career.
Another point guard from the State of Missouri will also join the Spartans in 2015. Jahmouri Robinson, the local product out of Cardinal Ritter, will don the navy and white this season looking to push for playing time as a freshman. The 5’9” Robinson led his team to a Missouri Class 3 State Title in 2013-14 and just last season was named to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro Third Team and was an All-State, First Team selection.
Will Harrington, a 6’3” junior will represent the first Kansas City area native to play for Missouri Baptist since Garrison Plummer’s last season in 2012-13. The new Spartan guard played for coach Mike Cook at Fort Scott Community College for the last two seasons and will bring a scoring touch to the team. Last season, he led the Greyhounds in scoring (15.1 points per game), rebounding (7.3 rebounds per game), assists (6.1 assists per game) and steals. Harrington was a leader on a team that not only won the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference for the first time since 1967, but advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time since 1948.
Luke Call will also join the team in 2015. The freshman guard finished his high school career at Mount Vernon and was the 2014-15 Big 8 Conference Player of the Year for Coach Mike Ray. The six-footer was named an All-Star at the Missouri Challenge, a tournament for the top prep basketball players in the state, and shot 44 percent from three point range over the course of the year.
“Getting in-state and local players is a continued emphasis for us,” Brock stated when asked about recruits from Missouri. “Jared and Will bring us experience and size at the guard position, while Luke and Jahmouri are high quality freshmen that complement each other well.”
A trio of international players will also make Missouri Baptist home this fall. Pablo Hernandez, a freshman from Spain, played for the Rosalia de Castro U18 team last season and helped his squad advance to the Spanish National Tournament. The 6’6” forward will help to add depth at the position and some height in 2015.
David Gabvrosek, a big 6’7” forward, played at Southwest Baptist (Mo.) a season ago and will look to have an impact in the NAIA this year. The junior from Slovenia started 28 games for the Bearcats and shot 41 percent from three-point range.
Senior forward John Cabarallo will also make his Spartan debut in the fall. The 6’6” senior played in 22 games for the Drury University (Mo.) Panthers in 2014-15, and will look to have an immediate impact as an upper-classman. Prior to last season, Cabarallo was a standout at Northwest Kansas Technical College. There, he averaged nine points per game and just shy of seven rebounds per game in 2013-14.
Conner Wittmer is a transfer from Olney Central Community College. The Loogootee, Ind., native averaged 10 points per game for Coach Mike Burris and shot 36 percent from three-point range.
Isaiah Cotton, the seven-footer from Alabama A&M, will come to MBU as the second player with NCAA Division I experience. Cotton played 24 games for the Bulldogs and was second on the team in blocks. The senior from New York, N.Y. will provide much needed size at the center position for the Spartans.
“This group of forwards allows us to play diverse line-ups,” said Brock. “David and Conner can stretch the floor, while John and Isaiah give us a physical presence in the paint. Pablo is very skilled, so we are excited to see how he adjusts to the college game.”
The season officially gets underway at home on Nov. 3, 2015 when the Spartans welcome Concordia Seminary to the Carl and Deloris Petty Sports and Recreation Complex. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
(Information for this story is provided by Missouri Baptist Sports Information Department)
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