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Bears' Freshman Pair Will Not Return Next Season



SPRINGFIELD - Missouri State men's basketball coach Paul Lusk announced today (May 17) that a pair of Bears' freshman guards, Aaron Cooper and Nick Valla, will not return to the program for their sophomore seasons.

Cooper, from Little Rock, Ark., played in 14 games for the Bears in his freshman campaign. In 2010-11, he collected four rebounds and five points while contributing seven assists. His three-pointer against Arkansas State at JQH Arena on Dec. 22 accounted for a majority of his season scoring, while his three assists and eight minutes against Illinois State on Jan. 1 were also season highs.

Valla was a non-scholarship player from Chicago who played in 15 contests. He averaged 6.1 minutes per game and tallied 10 points and 15 rebounds on the season, including three points against Indiana State on Feb. 5. He saw a season-best 13 minutes against Central Arkansas on Dec. 4 and earned the starting call in the Bears' first exhibition game of the 2010-11 season against Upper Iowa on Oct. 31.

"I want to thank Aaron and Nick for their contributions to Missouri State basketball, and I wish them success in their future endeavors," Lusk said.

According to Cooper, he is exploring his future options and hopes to continue his playing career at another institution. Valla is transferring to Division II Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.



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