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Missouri State Athletics Department Announces Commitments for 2008-09

Updated - May 5 (4:45 p.m.) 

The National Letter of Intent signing period runs November 12-19 for a number of Missouri State programs. By sport, here are the commitments received to date with additional updates being added throughout the week.

MEN'S BASKETBALL 

Jerome Jones, 6-5, 201, F, St. Louis, Mo., Miller Career Academy

Jones averaged 17.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a junior in 2007-08 at Miller Career Academy in St. Louis. He was an all-conference and second team all-state performer as a junior, while earning Post-Dispatch honorable mention all-metro distinction. He is regarded as one of the top athletes in St. Louis this season. As a sophomore, he averaged 13.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and was invited to the Nike Top 100 Hoop Jamboree. He has also been a key player for the St. Louis Eagles AAU team.

Keith Pickens, 6-4, 190, SG, St. Louis, Mo., Oakville High

Pickens averaged 13.0 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Oakville High School Tigers last season, also accounting for 2.3 blocks and 1.7 assists per game and making 37 percent of his three-pointers. As a sophomore, he averaged 7.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest. He is regarded as a great leaper, scorer and rebounder and escalated his stock over the summer with his performance on the Rameybasketball.com squad.

Lane Adams, 6-4, 195, G, Red Oak, Okla., Red Oak High

Jermaine Mallett, 6-4, 200, G, Jackson, Miss., Marion (Ala.) Military Institute

Michael Porter, 6-6, 205, F, Sikeston, Mo., Sikeston High

Nafis Ricks,  6-2, 180, PG, Philadelphia, Pa., Johnson County (Kan.) Community College

VOLLEYBALL

Ashley Mason, DS/OH, Stark City, Mo., East Newton HS

Mason was a four-year starter at outside hitter and libero for East Newton High in Granby, Mo. She earned first-team all-conference and all-region honors as a senior, as well as being named the Big 8 Conference and Neosho Daily News Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. The 5-foot-9 Mason also made the all-conference first team her freshman and sophomore seasons to go with several other all-region, all-district and all-tournament honors throughout her prep career. East Newton went a combined 76-16-3 and won three conference titles over the last three seasons.

Melissa Gmur, S, Central Point, Ore., Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, Cascade Christian HS

Gmur is a 5-9 setter at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College who will join the MSU program in January. This season, HCC is 28-14 overall and finished its conference season at 12-0. Gmur is averaging 0.74 kills on .270 hitting, 9.53 assists, 3.15 digs, 0.44 blocks and 0.28 aces per set in 2008. Gmur’s Blue Dragons begin competition at the NJCAA national tournament on Nov. 20. Gmur’s parents both played sports collegiately, her mother a setter at San Diego State and her father a baseball player at Long Beach State.

Meryl Loop (5-8, So., S/DS, Valley Center, Kan.)

Loop comes to Missouri State after spending her first college semester at the University of Akron. Loop was a part-time starter for the Zips in 2008, seeing time in 25 matches and 77 sets. She ranked fourth on the team with 133 digs and a 1.73 per set average, and was second on the squad with 83 assists. As a prep at Circle High School, Loop was a three-time all-state performer, making the first team as a junior and senior, and led her team to a fourth place finish in the Class 4A state tournament as a junior. She also owns Circle High’s career record for aces. Loop’s sister, Kelsey, played volleyball at Wyoming and Colorado.

Megan Bess (6-0, So., OH, Farmington, Mo.)

Bess spent her first two collegiate seasons at the University of Oklahoma, redshirting in 2007 and seeing action in 11 sets in 2008. At Farmington High, Bess earned all-state honors her junior and senior seasons and was a four-time all-district choice. The Knightettes won conference and district titles three times with Bess on the roster and she averaged 5.81 kills per set as a junior. Bess’s father, Bill, played football for Missouri (1975-79), while her sister, Natalie, was on the basketball team at McKendree College in 2004.

SOFTBALL

Alaina Burkhart (OF) hit .392 in her first year at Crowder College en route to earning second-team NJCAA all-region honors. The Neosho, Mo., native hit leadoff for former Bear softball standout and current Crowder coach Lori (Dilbeck) Videmschek, and will add speed to the MSU outfield and a versatile bat to the Bears' lineup. A three-time all-district and all-Southwest Conference honoree at Neosho High, Burkhart helped the Wildcats to three district titles as a prep standout.

Caitlin Chapin (IF) completed her career at Ozark (Mo.) High School as one of the area’s most decorated players. A four-time All-Ozarks selection, Chapin set OHS career records for home runs, runs batted in, runs scored and hits, leading the Lady Tigers to three district titles. In 2007 she clubbed 11 home runs, which tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in Missouri high school softball history, en route to leading Ozark to a fourth-place Class 4 finish.

Kirstin Cutter (SS) was an all-state selection at Oklahoma City's Western Heights High School this past fall. Primarily a strong-armed shortstop, Cutter is a left-handed slap-hitter who is quick on the base baths. A four-time all-conference honoree, Cutter has also competed in basketball, cross country and soccer at Western Heights.

Lauren Eisenreich (OF) earned all-district honors in helping Blue Springs High School to the Missouri Class 4 title with a perfect 32-0 team record this fall. The daughter of former major league outfielder Jim Eisenreich, she was a part of three district championship squads at Blue Springs, picking up all-region honors each of her last two seasons as a prep. A defensive specialist in centerfield, Eisenreich possesses a strong arm and an uncanny ability to track the ball.

Madison Hargrove (C/SS) enters her final prep season this spring at Mill Valley (Shawnee, Kan.) High School as a three-year starter and two-time all-conference selection as a catcher for the Jaguars. Hargrove's strong arm and athleticism could provide her the unique opportunity to see playing time both behind the plate and at shortstop for the Bears.

Stevie Pierce (1B/OF) is another prep standout with the ability to provide added punch to Bears’ lineup. The Plano (Texas) High School product hit .485 with four homers as a junior and has earned three all-district nods. Pierce brings the versatility to play first base and the outfield. She played summer ball for the Texas Glory Gold, a team that featured 13 players committed to play at Division I institutions.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Whitney Edie, 6-1, F, Exeter, Mo., Exeter HS

Edie became the fourth and final member of the Lady Bears' fall signing class Monday (Nov. 17). The 6-1 forward has already totaled more than 1,900 points and 1,000 rebounds for her high school career at Exeter High. Last year she averaged over 26 points and 12 boards per outing in helping Exeter to its first-ever district title in girl's basketball. Edie has failed to reach double digits in scoring in just one of 81 games as a prep.

Christiana Shorter, 6-2, F/C, Tulsa, Okla., Booker T. Washington HS

Shorter helped lead Booker T. Washington to a 23-4 overall record and the Oklahoma Class 5A state title in 2007-08, averaging 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. At 6-2, Shorter brings the versatility to play the post or step out to a wing spot where she can exploit her athleticism and ability to run the floor. She chose the Lady Bears over the likes of Wichita State, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and New Mexico State.

Kelsey Smith, 6-2, F, Coppell, Texas, Coppell HS

Smith was a first-team All-District 6-5A selection last season after averaging 16.7 points, seven boards and four assists in helping Coppell High go 20-16. A versatile athlete with the strong passing and shooting abilities, Smith can play on the block as well as the perimeter, where she has the ability to stretch defenses with her shooting range.

Alyson Stock, 6-3, C, Nixa, Mo., Nixa HS

Stock averaged just under 10 points and four boards last season in her first year playing at Nixa High. The 6-3 post helped the Lady Eagles to a 19-8 record last year. Stock originally committed to the Lady Bears during her sophomore year at Salisbury (Mo.) High School, where she was an MBCA Class 2 All-State selection in 2006-07.

 

BASEBALL

Blake Barber, RHP, Kenner, La., Northeast Texas Community College, Crescent City HS

The 6-1, 205-pound righty went 4-4 with a 4.68 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 77 innings as a freshman at Northeast Texas Community College in 2008. As a prep at Crescent City High School, Barber struck out 146 hitters in 58 innings as a senior, going 9-1 with two saves and a 0.98 ERA. Barber also hit .334 that year and earned all-state, all-metro and district MVP honors.

Grant Gordon, RHP, Salem, Mo., Salem HS

Pierce Johnson, RHP, Arvada, Colo., Faith Christian Academy

Keenen Maddox, OF, St. Louis, Mo., Parkway West HS

Jason McBride, 3B, Kansas City, Mo., Coffeyville Community College

Clay Murphy, RHP, Wolf Lake, Ill., Shawnee HS

Nick Petree, RHP, Clinton, Mo., Clinton HS

Beau Stoker, INF, Kansas City, Kan., Bishop Ward HS

David Williams, C/INF, Blue Springs, Mo., Crowder College