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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

Minner signs to play college basketball

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

(Photo)
Sikeston basketball player Amber Minner signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Culver-Stockton College Tuesday afternoon. Present for the signing were seated, from left: Rose Minner, mother; Minner; back row, Darryl Minner, father; Homer Jackson, Sikeston girls basketball coach; Timothy Southers, Culver-Stockton women's basketball coach. Photo by David Jenkins, Staff
SIKESTON -- Sikeston basketball standout Amber Minner signed a letter of intent to play with the Culver-Stockton Wildcats Tuesday evening for the 2008-2009 season.

Planning to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia, Minner originally had hopes of walking on to the Lady Tigers' squad in the fall but that soon changed after a call from Culver-Stockton head coach Timothy Southers.

Southers, recently hired to rebuild the Wildcats organization after six straight sub-par seasons in April, said he came across Minner's name from a contact list the previous coach had and quickly decided to give her a look.

(Photo)
Sikeston's Amber Minner, seen here in a game against Oran at the Sikeston Field House, signed a letter of intent to play college basketball at Culver-Stockton College.
"It actually took me a while to get a hold of her and when I did, she was on senior trip," said Southers. "But I got a chance to talk to her parents and the very next day when she got back from Mexico she came up to my open gym and it was almost like fate."

Southers instantly saw something in Minner as her maturity and ability to take direction stood out over other hopefuls vying for the college spot.

"When your recruiting freshmen a lot of times you look at how well players can take direction and Amber did that really well," said Southers. "She was there to work hard and be pushed in a positive manner and that is something that will help our style of basketball very well.

"We were really looking for a shooter, for a slashing guard and to help handle the ball under pressure for us and I think we found it."

And for Minner, the feeling was mutual as she felt right at home with Southers and Culver-Stockton.

"I am very excited to play at Culver-Stockton," said Minner. "It's a smaller school with a real homely feel and my coach is great too. And from what I've seen and heard he's gonna make me a better player."

Minner, who had the offer of a full-ride scholarship to play at a junior college in Southern Illinois, turned it down after meeting with and developing a bond with Southers.

"What stood out about Coach Southers is that he not there just to be the coach, he really cares about his players," said Minner. "He just sees my potential and wants to push me to make me a better player."

Coming off of a season with 15 double-digit scoring outings for the Lady Bulldogs, Sikeston head coach Homer Jackson added that making the transition from a point guard to a shooting guard is one that should work out well for both Minner and the Wildcats next season. But ultimately with Minner's work ethic she should be able to help out her team with any position she fills.

"The thing about Amber that most people don't get a chance to see is all of her hard work she puts into the game of basketball," said Jackson. "Before, after and during practice she always put forth her best effort. And I'm just so happy for her because this scholarship is really an accumulation of all the hard work that's paid off.

"Her parents have been very supportive of her throughout her entire career and I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to coach their daughter."

The Wildcats compete out of the Heart of America Athletic Conference in NAIA Division 1. Their first game will be an exhibition at Western Illinois University on November 2.

But while she is just a freshmen, Southers believes that with some hard work Minner has the opportunity to make an impact in her first season.

"I think the sky is the limit for her," said Southers. "If she works hard and continues to improve each day then I think she'll be able to pick up our style and have the chance to help us out.

"I think she has the ability and smarts the be able to do it right away for us. If one thing is for sure though, you should definitely look out for Culver-Stockton this year."