July 19, 2006

Hillcats Sign First Men's Basketball Player 

The Rogers State University Hillcat men's basketball program has signed its first player, point guard Maurice Rutherford of Broken Bow.

"Maurice shows tremendous leadership both on and off the floor, which is a vitally important attribute especially in the point guard position," said RSU men's basketball head coach and athletic director Wren Baker.

The 6-foot, 170-pound point guard was named MVP of the Southeast Six Conference during his senior season at Broken Bow High School, where he averaged 14.9 ppg and 6.8 apg for the class 4A school.

"Maurice has the unique ability to make everyone else on the floor better with his game and he matches up well against a variety of defenses," Baker said. "When I saw him play last year, you could tell that every defense was geared up to stop him, but they couldn't."

An All State Honorable Mention player during his senior year, Rutherford signed with the Hillcats during an event in Broken Bow. Attending the signing were his parents, Willis and Andrea Rutherford, and Broken Bow High School coach Gene Davis. Rutherford was originally a Tulsa native playing at Carver Middle School and Rogers High School, but moved to Broken Bow in the second semester of his freshman year.

Rutherford will redshirt during his freshman year at RSU to retain his four years of eligibility, Baker said.

RSU announced this spring that it would bring men's and women's basketball programs to campus for the 2007-08 season.

"Our plan is to sign four or five players this year and bring them on campus this fall so that they begin maturing both as players and as people," Baker said. Baker is continuing to identify high school and junior college players to complete his roster of 14 or 15 players when the inaugural season begins in fall 2007.

While Baker's recruiting for men's basketball players continues, he also is directing the search for the women's basketball head coach, which he hopes to have selected within the next few weeks.

Baker said he has been well received at schools throughout the area when he has gone on recruiting visits.

"Everywhere I have gone, students and coaches have heard about RSU and the great athletic programs that we're building here at the university, as well as the tremendous growth RSU is experiencing," he said. "I think that we have a very bright future ahead for us."