West Plains, Mo. – Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball player Eric Lovett has signed a national letter of intent to join the Florida International University FIU Panthers in fall 2019.
The 6-foot, 5-inch sophomore guard from Jonesboro, Georgia, signed his paperwork today during a press conference at Kellett Hall. Several teammates and Grizzly Booster Club members attended.
FIU is an NCAA Division I school in Miami and competes in Conference USA.
"Eric has worked extremely hard to put himself in this position," Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Chris Popp said. "Like Ricky (Torres) before him, he came to West Plains unheralded, without Division I recruitment.
"Although he could score from the beginning, he bought into coaching, becoming a better basketball player, doing what it takes to win," the coach added. "He managed to put together an All-American career and earned numerous Division I options. It has been fun watching him grow."
Lovett averaged 18 points, 5.3 rebounds and two assists per game this past season. He shot 48.9% from the field, 40.7% behind the arc and 79.2% from the charity stripe.
His effectiveness on the court, especially against Region 16 opponents, earned him first team All-Region 16 and NJCAA third team All-American honors this year.
"Eric was dynamic this season. Deep threes and explosive dunks were crowd pleasers. But it was his daily effort and consistency that were impressive. He has taken a business-like approach to what he needed to do and it has paid off," Popp said.
Lovett leaves his mark
Lovett leaves Missouri State-West Plains after being an integral part of back-to-back 20-plus win seasons. He helped the Grizzlies return to the national rankings both season and earn its fourth Region 16 Championship in 2017-18.
"He has left his mark on Grizzly Basketball and has stamped our record book with his name," Popp said.
Those records include:
- eighth in scoring during a season (584 points this past season)
- third in scoring in a career (988 points)
- fifth in points per game in a season (18.3 ppg this past season)
- fourth in points per game in a career (15 ppg)
- fifth in field goals in a season (199 this past season)
- fourth in field goals in a career (339)
- fourth in 3-point field goals in a season (79 this past season)
- third in 3-point field goals in a career (138)
"Eric trusted an unproven, second-year head coach, choosing Missouri State-West Plains over traditional JUCO powers," Popp said. "I appreciate that and what he has done in his time here.
"I am proud of him, how far he's come, and am very excited to watch him continue his journey," the coach added.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, call 417-255-7991.