COLUMBIA — Missouri will be reacquainted with an old friend at 7 tonight when it is host to Southeast Missouri State at Mizzou Arena.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
In Redhawks forward Tyler Stone, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound junior from Memphis, the Tigers will be going head to head against a player who played limited minutes for Missouri during the 2009-2010 season before he eventually opted to transfer.
But dont expect Stone to be all smiles when he steps on the Mizzou Arena court. As he proved last season, when he scored a team-high 18 points in Missouris 83-68 home win over the Redhawks, hes highly motivated in showing his former team what it missed out on.
He came here ready to play (last year), Missouri coach Frank Haith said. I anticipate him being that way even more so this year anytime you play schools in-state, youre going to get their very best.
Especially when they have players as gifted as Stone, a three-star prospect out of Memphis Central High School who is averaging a team-leading 15.8 points per game for Southeast Missouri, which enters with a three-game winning streak and a 6-4 record.
Hes aggressive, a talented kid, Haith said of Stone, who is also averaging 9.3 rebounds per game. Hes got great skills, can shoot a little bit, he drives it and plays with assertiveness on the offensive end and puts pressure on you.
Haith indicated that senior forward Laurence Bowers could get first crack at shutting Stone down.
Laurence or whoever we put on him, youve got to do your work early because if he catches it and youre not ready, he can score, Haith said.
The 6-foot-8 Bowers has respect for his former teammates game, and also had some nice words for Stones 6-foot-8 frontcourt mate Nino Johnson, a 230-pound sophomore who is averaging 11.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game himself.
Both players, like Bowers, are from Memphis. Johnson was also listed as a three-star prospect out of high school by Rivals.com.
Im from the Memphis area, so I know those guys are really good players, Bowers said. I know they have a good coach and they competed with us hard last year, so I expect nothing less this year.
Because of the interior presence of Stone and Johnson, Haith expects Southeast Missouri to give his Tigers, 6-1, their stiffest home test of the young season.
Were playing a team that, watching them on tape, is pretty talented, Haith said. (Theyre) probably the most talented team weve played in this building this year. The frontline, with Stone and Johnson gave us problems in here last year. Weve got our work cut out for us in terms of containing both those guys.