Pickens Will Return to Basketball Bears for Senior Season
Keith Pickens
Keith Pickens

Sep 4, 2013

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SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State men's basketball coach Paul Lusk announced today (Sept. 4) that senior guard Keith Pickens has enrolled at MSU and will return to the Bears this season. On March 1, Pickens announced he would retire from the game at the conclusion of his junior season after suffering through chronic knee pain.

"We're excited that Keith has decided to return to the team," said Lusk. "His experience and leadership will be invaluable to us. He'll still be limited in what he can do physically, but after being away from the game since March, he feels like giving his senior year another shot. As we've seen in the past, any minutes he can give us will be quality minutes, so this is great news for our program."

The St. Louis native was a key part of the Bears' run to the CIT championship in 2010. After his freshman year, he ruptured his left patellar tendon during off-season conditioning which forced him to miss the entire 2010-11 season while recovering from surgery to repair the injury. He returned to action in 2011-12 and played 29 of the Bears' 32 games, starting 11, while averaging 4.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. As a junior in 2012-13, he led the Bears in rebounding average (4.7) while playing in 30 of 33 games, starting 19 times and scoring 6.1 points per game. However, Pickens explained last spring that his body had physically overcompensated for the knee injury over time, which rolled into other injuries and chronic ailments.

"I'm excited to be back and to help be a leader on this team," Pickens said. "I think we can do some good things this season, and I'm ready to do what it takes to give one more season."

Pickens' return gives Lusk nine returning lettermen and five players with significant starting experience back for the upcoming season, in addition to five talented newcomers. The Bears will begin practice on Friday, Sept. 27 and will make their first public appearance during the team's annual Twilight Tipoff event, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 18. The team opens an 18-game home schedule with a preseason exhibition game against McKendree University on Sun., Oct. 27.

Season ticket information is available at MissouriStateBears.com or by calling (417) 836-3302.



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