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Arena: Redbird Arena
School Name: Illinois State University
The unexpected loss of Lorenzo Gordon, the Valley's Newcomer of the Year last season, hits especially hard considering the team was already scrambling to make up for the departure of three starters. Gordon, the fourth-leading scorer (16.3 ppg) and seventh-best rebounder (6.5) last season, ran into academic difficulties and was declared ineligible last spring.
His loss leaves Greg Dilligard as the Redbirds' lone returning starter. Illinois State coach Porter Moser already faced a rebuilding job on the perimeter with the graduation of guards Vince Greene and Trey Guidry and swingman Gregg Alexander. Dilligard is a solid, 6'8" forward but hardly the type of player to build a team around. ;
Where will Moser turn to. make up for the loss of 70 percent of his team's scoring and 46 percent of its rebounding? Chances are he'll seek immediate help from a "pair of junior college transfers in Mark Kruse and Roberto Fortes. Kruse, a 6'7" forward, averaged 17.4 points per game for the North Dakota State College of Science. Fortes, a 6'4" guard, averaged 11.1 points and 4.0 rebounds for Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College.
The Redbirds, with Gordon providing a giant lift, went from 1 Oth in the league in Moser s first season to sixth last season. Avoiding a slip back to the bottom might be too much to ask from what will be the league's most inexperienced team this season.
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