The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 14, 2014

Addison, Talbert grow into roles as Missouri Southern's leaders

In their four seasons as teammates, forward Jordan Talbert and guard Marquis Addison have made the natural progression from role players to team leaders.

When they take the floor on Saturday afternoon against Fort Hays State in Mankato, Minn., they become the first players in Missouri Southern men’s basketball history to play in three NCAA tournaments.

“Since Day 1, we called ourselves the future,” Addison said. “We were the only two freshmen who really played our freshman year, and the next year we were the only two sophomores. All the other guys were way older than us, so we were the future.

“Our junior year came and it was like ... where is everybody else. We felt like we were abandoned. ... It was like a shell-shock to us, but we really overcame a lot, especially this season. A lot of people didn’t pick us to win, but we overcame.

“Jordan and I over the summer were here working. Jordan is such a hard worker. He’s in the gym all the time. We’re really good friends. We hang together outside of basketball. We’re roommates on the road. We talk a lot about everything ... basketball or outside of basketball, I’ll go to him, and he’ll come to me.”

“We didn’t want our senior year to go the way our junior year (13-15) did,” Talbert said. “It definitely motivated Marquis and me to work out in the summer, get prepared for this season. It motivated us to become better leaders, too.”

Addison and Talbert have been starters most of the past four years when the Lions have compiled an 85-33 record, the second-highest four-year victory total in school history. The Lions’ 30-3 team in 1999-2000 that reached the Elite Eight began a four-year run of 91 victories.

“They’ve played on three teams that have won 20-plus,” Lions coach Robert Corn said. “They’ve been on two conference championship teams — one regular season and one postseason tournament. This is their third NCAA Tournament ... they’ve had unbelievable careers.”

Addison has played in 118 games, one more than Talbert. Carl Tyler (1980-84) and Jason Adams (2008-12) played in 120 games, and Skyler Bowlin (2007-10) is next at 118 games.

Addison, 6-foot-4 from Olathe South High School, leads the Lions at 16.5 points per game and scored 63 points last weekend when the Lions won the MIAA Postseason Tournament. He’s sixth on the school’s career scoring list with 1,613 points, second in career free-throw percentage (.836) and fourth in career steals (220).

“When he came in as a freshman, I knew he was going to be a great player then from the workouts at the time,” Talbert said. “And then to grow into the player he is and the dominant force he is on the court, I’ve been proud to watch him and call him a friend.”

“Marquis has had a solid season for us,” Corn said. “He’s developed his game to where he’s starting to be an all-around player. He’s a much better passer now than when he was four years ago. His decision making and being able to see the floor is a lot better. He’s really matured as a player.”

The 6-6 Talbert, who prepped at Little Rock Central, averages 11.6 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds. He’s third in career rebounds (715), and he joins John Thomas (1969-73) and Chris Tucker (1990-94) as the only Lions with at least 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.

Talbert is second in career blocked shots (166), and he set the single-season block record of 61 last season, a mark that is just one ahead of Slim Magee’s total this season.

Defense has become Talbert’s trademark, and it’s never been more evident than during last Saturday’s semifinal victory over Northwest Missouri State when Talbert, after switches in the Lions’ man-to-man defense, guarded center Dillon Starzl and point guard DeShaun Cooper at some point.

“I’ve always taken pride in being able to cause problems on the defensive end,” Talbert said. “I think my versatility gave them problems, too. We have great scorers around us. Offensively I’m not as needed as much as I am on the defensive end.”

“He was our unsung hero up there,” Corn said. “He was rock solid in everything he was doing. He did a little bit of everything. His defense was a big key for us up there. Even though (Central Oklahoma’s Josh) Gibbs had 24 points that last game, some of those were against the zone.  They weren’t against Jordan. He really did a great job on Gibbs, and he had to switch out and guard Cooper in some situations. He really had a great tournament.”

The Lions enter the regional on a nine-game winning streak.

“Our desire is high right now,” Talbert said. “People talk about we’re motivated because what we got picked (ninth in the preseason poll). But if you’re not motivated for March, you’re not motivated at all. We don’t need any pep talk. We know what time it is. Our desire to win is at an all-time high right now.”

1
Text Only
High School Sports
Missouri Southern Sports
Pittsburg State Sports