murray state racers

VIDEO: Murray State ‘Racer Mania’ dunk contest highlights

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Thursday night Murray State held its annual “Racer Mania” event, which also signaled the start of a new era. With Steve Prohm now the head coach at Iowa State, Matt McMahon takes over a team picked in the preseason to win the West Division of the OVC. And those preseason expectations come in spite of the fact that four starters, led by lottery pick Cameron Payne, have moved on.

Preseason All-OVC forward Jeffrey Moss will be asked to lead the way, and Thursday night two guards who began their college careers at other Division I schools put their athleticism on display for the home folks. Demarcus Croaker, who began his college career at Texas and is expected to factor into the Racers’ perimeter rotation, took on Tulane transfer Jonathan Stark (he’ll have to sit out this season) in the final round of the team dunk contest.

And they threw down some impressive dunks as well, with the 6-foot-4 Croaker edging out the 6-foot tall Stark. Above are highlights from the contest, with Dustin Brown responsible for the footage.

Ohio Valley Conference Preview: Belmont reigns supreme

Craig Bradshaw (AP Photo)
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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game didn’t lack any drama. Taylor Barnette drilled a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to send the Belmont to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. It handed Murray State, which was undefeated in conference play, an invitation to the NIT.

The Bruins and Racers are expected to top their respective divisions again this season despite going through two very different offseasons.

Belmont head coach Rick Byrd, entering his 30th season, brings back four starters. Barnette, the OVC Tournament MVP and Craig Bradshaw, the Ohio Valley Preseason Player of the Year, make up the conference’s top back court, while Evan Bradds mans the frontline after a breakout sophomore season. Belmont is one of the nation’s best mid-major programs year-after-year, and that shouldn’t change this season.

Murray State, however, experienced an offseason of change. In April, Cameron Payne left for the NBA, becoming a lottery pick that will continue his career alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Then in June, head coach Steve Prohm left to take over the Iowa State program. Despite the coaching change and the loss of three of its top four scorers, Murray State remains a contender in the OVC. First-year head coach Matt McMahon has an all-OVC caliber guard in Jeffery Moss, the lone returning starter. Justin Seymour also returns, but the perimeter will be enhanced by the additions of Texas transfer Damarcus Croaker, Chattanooga transfer Gee McGhee and JuCo transfer Bryce Jones. 

In total, there are four new head coaches in the league: McMahon, Dan McHale (Eastern Kentucky), Rick Ray (Southeast Missouri State) and Jon Harris (SIU-Edwardsville). 

Even after graduating two all-OVC players, McHale and the Colonels could still be Belmont’s toughest challenge in the East Division, relying on the returning back court of Ja’Mill Powell and Isaac McGlone. Morehead State won five of its last six games, narrowly losing to Murray State in the OVC Tournament semifinals, to close out 2014-15. The Eagles could build of last season’s strong push with Brent Arrington returning to lead the team’s hard-nose defense. But Jacksonville State poses as a deep sleeper, a cast of newcomers headlined by well-traveled forward Cameron Biedscheid.

UT Martin, coming off one of the better turnarounds in the nation a season ago, will likely be Murray State’s toughest competition in the West Division. Twymond Howard and Alex Anderson make up a solid 1-2 punch, while Myles Taylor, another double-digit scorer, returns from a shortened 2014-15 season. Chris Olivier transferring hurts Eastern Illinois up front, but Trae Anderson and Cornell Johnston should be enough to keep the Panthers in play this year.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule


  • Favorite: “I think Belmont is the best team. They won the conference tournament last year. They have bulk of the guys coming back and they definitely have the best coach coming back.”
  • Sleeper: “I would say Morehead State. I think they’re going to have a really good team. They play hard, they play physical, they guard you. You really have to prepare for them. Heck, they were close to making the conference championship game last year.”
  • Star to watch: “I think Craig Bradshaw from Belmont. He can score from anywhere on the floor. He plays with a great motor and within the team concept. He can put points on the board, really quickly too.”


One of the best mid-major players in the nation, Bradshaw is coming off a junior campaign of 18.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, shooting 42 percent from behind the 3-point line. An intense competitor, the 6-foot-3 senior had arguably his best game against one of the nation’s premier defenses, scoring 25 points (10-of-19 shooting) and nine rebounds against Virginia in the NCAA tournament.


  • Evan Bradds, Belmont: The anchor in the middle for the Bruins, the 6-foot-7 junior averaged 14.2 points and 7.2 boards per game, shooting 69 percent from the field, second in the nation in that category.
  • Chris Horton, Austin Peay: One of the bright lights for the Governors in 2014-15, Horton averaged a double-double: 13.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Tops in the conference with 2.3 blocks per game.
  • Twymond Howard, UT Martin: One of the top newcomers in the league from a season ago, the 6-foot-6 forward recorded five of his six double-doubles during conference play.
  • Jeffery Moss, Murray State: A long, athletic guard who can connect from three should see a bump in his offensive numbers with Cameron Payne in the NBA and two of the Racers’ other double-digit scorers gone from a season ago.



East Division

1. Belmont
2. Morehead State
3. Eastern Kentucky
4. Jacksonville State
5. Tennessee Tech
6. Tennessee State

West Division

1. Murray State
2. UT Martin
3. Eastern Illinois
4. Southeast Missouri State
5. Austin Peay
6. SIU-Edwardsville

Murray State has decided on a successor to Steve Prohm

Louisiana Tech Athletics
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The last domino in the 2015 Coaching Carousel has fallen.

Matt McMahon, a former assistant coach at Murray State and currently an assistant at Louisiana Tech, will replace Steve Prohm, according to a release from the school. Prohm left the Racers on Monday to replace Fred Hoiberg as the head coach at Iowa State.

McMahon was hired by new Louisiana Tech head coach Eric Konkol as associate head coach late last month. To get an idea of just how long he lasted in Ruston, McMahon’s most recent tweet — from June 1st — talks about how excited he is to start his first full week with the Bulldogs. He played his college ball at Appalachian State, where he played in the NCAA tournament as was a two-year starter.

“I want to thank Allen Ward and President Davies for giving me the opportunity to return to Murray State as the head basketball coach,” McMahon said in the release. “My family and I have enjoyed our four years in this community and we look forward to many more. I also owe a great deal of thanks to Steve Prohm for bringing me to Murray and serving as a mentor to me. I also want to thank our players past and present for their hard work and commitment to the program. Their success on the court, in the classroom and in the community has allowed me to be in this position today.”

This decision is also important for Iowa State fans, as they wait to find out who will be on the Cyclone staff next season. Will Prohm’s current staff remain with McMahon in Murray, Kentucky, or will they be following Prohm to Ames, Iowa? Will Prohm begin his Cyclone tenure with proven high-major recruiters — T.J. Otzelberger? — on staff?

Report: Murray State guard Cameron Payne heavily considering NBA Draft

Cameron Payne, Reece Chamberlain
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source: AP

Murray State missed out on the NCAA tournament this season, but sophomore guard Cameron Payne burst onto the national scene with a stellar second campaign.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore averaged 20.2 points, 6 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game and also improved his shooting splits to 45 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point territory and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year is seriously considering entering the 2015 NBA Draft. Payne and his family are reportedly hosting presentations from several NBA agents in the family’s hometown of Memphis.

Payne and his family are allowed to gather information and still return to school, and according to the Yahoo report, head coach Steve Prohm working with the family through the process.

Prohm helped get former Murray State guard Isaiah Canaan to the NBA Draft in 2013 and the Ohio Valley Conference has also recently produced a few players who have made NBA rosters. Former Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried played for the USA Basketball senior national team this past summer and former Tennessee-Martin guard Lester Hudson just recently signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Payne is currently regarded as the No. 30 overall pick in the first round of the latest Draft Express mock draft.

Steve Prohm agrees to an extension with Murray State

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Murray State head coach Steve Prohm is one of the first names that pops up anytime a major job comes open.

He’s been linked to the Alabama opening, where he is an alum, as well as the Tennessee job this month alone. But Prohm isn’t ready to leave Murray, as the school announced that he has signed an extension to remain head coach with the Racers.

“I want to thank Murray State […] for their commitment to me and the Racer Basketball program over the next several years,” Prohm said. “We have an opportunity to do something really special here and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

His contract now runs through 2020.

Prohm led Murray State to an undefeated run through the Ohio Valley Conference this season, although a last-second loss to Belmont in the conference title game kept them out of the NCAA tournament.

Trey Freeman’s banked-in three sends Old Dominion to NIT semifinals (VIDEO)

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While the NCAA tournament receives the lion’s share of the attention this time of year, the Postseason NIT’s had some good moments as well. One night after Miami and Stanford clinched their spots in next week’s semifinals at Madison Square Garden, Old Dominion did the same with a 72-69 win over Murray State.

The hero was guard Trey Freeman, who answered a Jarvis Moss game-tying three with a banked-in three a couple steps inside of half court after time expired. Freeman wasn’t even a sure bet to play in the game, as he was dealing with an ankle injury suffered in practice prior to the Monarchs’ second round win over Illinois State. Freeman finished Wednesday’s game with 25 points.

As a result of Freeman’s heroics Jeff Jones’ team, which was closer to the NCAA tournament bubble than many gave them credit for in the days leading up to Selection Sunday, is two wins away from capping their second season in Conference USA with a postseason tournament title.

As for Murray State, this is the second heartbreaking finish of the month for Steve Prohm’s team with the first coming on a Taylor Barnette three-pointer in the OVC title game. That shot sent Belmont to the NCAA tournament and ended the Racers’ hopes of going to the NCAA tournament. Freeman’s shot Wednesday night ended their season.

Old Dominion will take on Stanford Tuesday night in New York City.

Video credit: ESPN