Former University of Missouri standout Anthony Peeler will headline the latest inductees, and new Missouri State University coach Dana Ford will be the keynote speaker for the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s annual Basketball Tipoff Luncheon presented by Mercy. It’s set for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, December 12 at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield.
President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews announced the luncheon on Wednesday. The Class of 2018 will feature Peeler along with former Skyline High School standout and veteran coach Jacky Payne, as well as longtime high school coach Tony Armstrong and the Stockton High School Girls Basketball Program, and the College of the Ozarks Women’s Basketball Program.
Delivering a keynote speech will be Ford, who led a recent turnaround at Tennessee State University – he was the 2016 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year – and previously served on coaching staffs of two NCAA Tournament teams.
In addition, the Hall of Fame will bestow Filbert Five Awards on 10 individuals who made positive contributions in the sport. The awards are named after the late Gary Filbert, a successful high school basketball coach who was the founder of the Show-Me State Games as well as the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. Filbert is a Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee and, in 2011, was honored as a Missouri Sports Legend by the Hall of Fame.
The women’s Filbert Five honorees are: Melissa Grider (Marion C. Early High School/Marshfield High School/Missouri Southern State University), Jeni Hopkins (Greenwood Laboratory School/Pittsburg State University/Missouri State University), Jenni Lingor (Tahlequah, Okla. High School/Missouri State University), Addy Roller (Purdy High School/Wayne State University/Drury University) and Suzanne Nyander Sutton (McDonald County High School/Missouri Southern).
This year’s men’s Filbert Five honorees are: Mert Bancroft (Buffalo High School/Missouri State University), Jim Grabowski (Bolivar High School/Southwest Baptist University), Tim Huskisson (Willard High School/Northern Colorado University), Matt Miller (Parkview High School/Drury University) and Chris Smith (Nevada High School/University of Central Missouri).
A sponsorship table of eight is $400 and includes an autographed print of individual inductees and recognition in the printed program. An individual ticket is $40, or $50 at the door. Numerous other sponsorships are available, including congratulatory ads. Call the Hall of Fame at 417-889-3100.
Anthony Peeler – Kansas City’s Paseo Academy & University of Missouri & NBA
Peeler was a star at Kansas City’s Paseo Academy, earning All-State honors all four years, and led the team to the 1988 state semifinals and a state runner-up finish as he also earned McDonald’s All-American distinction. He then became one of the most exciting players in the history of Missouri basketball, starring for the Tigers from 1989-92. He played on the Tigers’ 1990 Big Eight Conference championship team and was a key part of the school’s 1989 and 1991 Big Eight Conference Tournament title teams – and all three advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Peeler was the league’s Newcomer of the Year in 1989, and twice won First Team All-Big Eight honors. He was voted as the Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year in 1992, and also won All-America honors that season. Overall, he scored 1,970 points in his Tiger career, leaving as the program’s third-best all-time leading scorer, and led the conference with a 23.4-point scoring average as a senior. In 2006, he was named to Mizzou’s 30-member All-Century team following a 14-year career in the National Basketball Association. He was a 1992 first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers and went on to play with the Lakers (1992-1996), Vancouver Grizzlies (part of 1997-1998 season), Minnesota Timberwolves (1998-2003), Sacramento Kings (2003-2004) and Washington Wizards (2004-2005).
Jacky Payne – Skyline High School & Basketball Coach
Jacky Payne was a standout player at Skyline High School and later became a successful high school basketball coach who has won 569 games, led two teams to the Final Four and was the first person to win the Blue and Gold Tournament as both a player and as a coach. In his prep career, he scored 2,002 career points, earned three All-State selections – including first team as a junior and senior – and helped Skyline to a 105-19 record. He was a freshman on the 1970 Final Four team and the leading scorer of the 1971 Blue & Gold Tournament as Skyline won the Blue Division. The three-time All-Ozarks selection then split his college career at North Central Junior College and for Gary Filbert-coached Missouri Western University. Later, Payne coached high school teams at St. James (Fall 1979 to March 1985), Marshfield (1985-1993), Lebanon (1993-2005), Stoutland (boys 2005-2008, girls 2014-2016) and Skyline (2008-2011). Among his nine seasons in Marshfield, Payne’s 1987 and 1989 teams won Blue & Gold Tournaments and advanced to the Final Four. The 1987 team placed third, and the 1989 team was a state runner-up with a 31-2 record. He won conference titles at almost every stop, and he won district titles at Lebanon and Skyline, with Lebanon’s 1997 team advancing to the state quarterfinals. He is now the girls basketball coach at Lebanon. He is a 1991 North Central Juco Athletics Hall of Fame inductee.
Tony Armstrong – Basketball Coach
Armstrong has coached 32 seasons, including 30 at high schools in Missouri. In fact, he owns a 525-314 record after stops at Marionville, West Plains, Aurora, Lamar, Stockton, Blue Springs, Odessa and Springfield Catholic high schools. He also was an assistant for the Kansas City (Kan.) Community College women’s program. In his high school coaching career, his teams won four state championships – 1982 Marionville boys and the 2001, 2003 and 2004 Stockton girls – as well as eight district championships and 10 conference championships (eight undefeated). He is a four-time Missouri State Coach of the Year and was a 2004 nominee for the National Federation of High School’s High School Coach of the Year. All of which came after a tremendous prep career. Armstrong was a standout basketball player and 1975 graduate of Aurora High School, where he was a two-time selection both to the All-State and Big 8 Conference postseason teams and scored 1,192 career points. He went on to play four seasons for Missouri State University, earning the 1979 Andy McDonald Award.
Stockton High School Girls Basketball Program
The Stockton Lady Tigers have won four state championships – in 2001 in Class 2, and in Class 3 in 2003, 2004 and 2011. Additionally, they have advanced to two other Final Fours, placing third in 2002 and second in 2012. The tradition includes nine conference championships, the first in 1981, as well as nine district and nine sectional crowns. Much of the success began with coach Tony Armstrong (MSHOF 2018), who was 160-20 from 1999 to 2004. Coach Richard Driscoll’s era generated a 106-39 record from 2007 to 2011 before coach Kevin Burns’ teams earned 98 victories from 2012 to 2016. Some 13 Lady Tigers have earned a combined 31 All-State honors: Debby Norman, Jenna Armstrong (3), Kara Rutledge, Kiana Bock (6), Kyla Burns (4), Jessica Stanley (3), Mallory Stanley, Chayla Rutledge (3), Kaitlan Cramer (4), Ashli Burton, Garret Burton, Jolene Shipps and Syndee Garrett. This for a program that began not long after passage of the 1972 federal Title IX, as the team was first coached by Betty Dilbechk and first appeared in a Stockton yearbook in 1975.
College of the Ozarks Women’s Basketball Program
The C of O Lady Bobcats are among the winningest programs in NAIA basketball history – and winning with mostly southwest Missouri high school graduates. C of O has advanced to 24 NAIA Division II Tournaments, including every year but one since 1997 when the college hired George Wilson as coach. The Lady Bobcats have advanced to nine Elite Eights and finished as the national runner-up five times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014). Under Wilson (1997-2013) and coach Becky Vest Mullis (2013 to current), the program has won more than 550 games. Additionally, the program has produced at least 30 NAIA All-Americans dating back to 1991, but most of those have happened since the 2000s. The list includes seven First Team NAIA All-Americans – five who earned such distinction twice.
FILBERT FIVE – WOMEN’S HONOREES
Melissa Grider – Marion C. Early (Morrisville) High School & Marshfield High School & Missouri Southern State University
One of the most prolific scorers in state prep history from 1988 to 1991, Grider poured in 3,211 career points, a state record until passed by Miller High School’s Hannah Wilkerson in 2010. Grider played three seasons for Marion C. Early High School in Morrisville and remains the MCE school career scoring leader with 2,435 points – including 1,231 points on 452 field goals as junior. At Marshfield her senior year, she helped the Lady Jays to the 1991 state championship and was named Miss Show-Me Basketball. Her 26.98 career scoring average is the second-best in state history, while her 249 3-pointers are sixth-most. In 1990, she scored 62 points against Dadeville and 52 against Hermitage. At Missouri Southern, Grider is all over the record book, including ranking sixth in career scoring (1,387 points) and second in career scoring average (17.3 ppg), and was an NCAA Division II All-American in 1995-1996.
Jeni Burnett Hopkins — Greenwood Laboratory School
& Pittsburg State University & Missouri State University
Hopkins was All-State for Greenwood Laboratory School in 1990, setting 15 school records, before becoming a letter-winner at Pittsburg State (Kan.) University. She then finished her degree at Missouri State University, where she was a three-time All-American on the Handball team. Hopkins then coached high school basketball for 24 years, compiling a 332-206 record as a head coach in 22 seasons. She took two teams from two different schools to the Final Four and was the 2013-2014 National High School Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Hopkins spent her first eight seasons coaching Greenwood, with her 1997 team reaching the Class 1 state championship game while two other teams there won district titles. She then spent 16 years at Hillcrest High School until retiring in March 2017. She guided Hillcrest to the Class 4 state semifinals in 2015 and four others to district titles. Twenty of her players earned college scholarships, while four were McDonalds All-American nominees, 10 made All-State, 27 All-District and 30 were all-conference. She is currently the president of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.
Jenni Lingor – Tahlequah (Okla.) High School & Missouri State University
Lingor was a four-year basketball starting guard on four consecutive postseason tournament teams for the Missouri State Lady Bears from 2001 to 2005 and helped MSU win the 2005 Women’s National Invitation Tournament, in which she was named tournament MVP. The Lady Bears also played in the Women’s NIT when Lingor was a freshman, and MSU won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to take the MVC banner into the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and 2004. Lingor led the team in scoring twice and in rebounding three times. She was named First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference three times, was MVC Freshman of the Year and was voted MVC Player of Year as a senior. Lingor, who averaged 20.0 points a game as a senior and remains all over the record book, was drafted by the Detroit Shock of the WNBA and later played professionally in Sweden, New Zealand and Estonia. A native of Tahlequah, Okla., she now works for the Tulsa Police Department.
Addy Roller – Purdy High School & Wayne State University & Drury University
At Purdy High School, Roller helped the girls team win a 2011 state championship. Along the way, she set a Missouri high school record for most 3-pointers in a career (319, on 39-percent shooting) and season (120 as a senior), and was Purdy’s all-time scoring leader with 2,392 points. She also was a three-time All-State selection and Missouri’s Class 2 Player of the Year as a senior. At Wayne State as a freshman, Roller started 24 of 27 games, averaging 8.5 points and 4.3 assists, and then transferred. In two seasons at Drury, Roller scored 556 points, had 141 rebounds, 217 assists, made 70-three pointers and had 56 steals and helped the Lady Panthers to a pair of NCAA Division II Tournaments (52-9 record). She is now an assistant coach for Pittsburg State University.
Suzanne Nyander Sutton – McDonald County High School & Missouri Southern State University
The only player to be named First Team All-State all four years, Sutton was a key member of successful McDonald County teams in the early 1980s. She remains the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,018 career points and was named the Player of the Decade for the 1980s by the News-Leader in its “Best of the Century” basketball players, published in 2000. As a freshman, she helped the Lady Mustangs to a state runner-up finish before leading the program to two Class 3 state championships (1981, 1983) over the next three seasons. The 1981 team won 29 of 30 games, and her 20 points in the 1983 championship helped McDonald County complete a 31-1 season. She later played for Missouri Southern, earning conference Freshman of the Year honors in 1984 and First Team All-Conference (1984 to 1986).
FILBERT FIVE – MEN’S HONOREES
Mert Bancroft – Buffalo High School & Missouri State University
Bancroft was a key part of Buffalo’s 1964 & 1965 state championship teams – and earned All-State in 1965, his senior year – before going on to Missouri State. He was a four-year letterman (1966-1969) for coach Bill Thomas’ Missouri State Bears who made four trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament, with runner-up finishes his sophomore and senior seasons. A senior co-captain, Bancroft scored 20 points in the (1969) championship game and was voted to the all-tournament team. That season, he averaged 12.5 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game, led the 24-5 Bears in field goal accuracy, and was picked to the All-MIAA second team. He finished his career with 697 points and 533 rebounds over four varsity seasons. He played in 94 games, including 73 SMS victories. His total of winning games played is exceeded by only four men in SMS basketball history. Bancroft was drafted and signed by the Cincinnati Royals of the National Basketball Association, and he was a 1993 MSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee.
Jim Grabowksi – Bolivar High School & Southwest Baptist University
Grabowski was one of southwest Missouri’s most dominating centers, both in high school and college. He earned All-State honors in 2004 for Bolivar High School and then went on to Southwest Baptist, where he is all over the program’s record book. He is eighth all-time in both field goals made (434) and blocked shots (45), 10th in rebounds (536) and ninth in 3-pointers made (129). His 2,722 minutes played and 81 games started also are third- and fourth-most, respectively, in program history. He was part of two MIAA regular-season championships and one MIAA Tournament championship. Grabowski went on to have a successful professional career, playing three years in Ireland and Portugal. In his final year in Portugal, his team won the championship, and he was selected as the Finals MVP. He recently worked for SBU as a Development Officer and is now pursuing a doctorate in business at the University of Kansas.
Tim Huskisson – Willard High School & Northern Colorado University
Huskisson earned Class 5 All-State honors from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and Associated Press in 2011 – plus was a nominee as a McDonald’s All-American – after a standout senior season at Willard. A 6-foot-6 scorer, Huskisson helped the Tigers to 19 wins and the Class 5 sectionals, leading the team in scoring and rebounding. He later earned All-Ozarks and an invitation to the Missouri Challenge All-Star Tournament. Overall, he finished with 1,110 career points, and Willard has since retired his jersey No. 22. At Northern Colorado, teammates nicknamed Huskisson “Mr. Do-It-All” in a career in which he played in all but one game. He started in 48 of his first 59 games – and set a single-game record with nine steals against Wichita State as a sophomore – before moving to power forward as a junior. At that point, he began to take on the role of the all-important sixth man off the bench and, in fact, earned Big Sky Conference Sixth Man of the Year after the season. He then became Northern Colorado’s 21st player in history to score 1,000 career points. He finished with 1,058 points, the sixth-most in program history, and played overseas in Cyprus for Neon Enosis Paralimni.
Matt Miller – Parkview High School & Drury University
A standout at Parkview High School in the mid-1990s, Miller held the Springfield Public School’s scoring record (1,751 points) for 20 years until it was broken last season by Glendale’s Monty Johal. He went on to star at Drury University and finished No. 3 all-time in scoring with 2,024 points. He also held Drury’s record for 3-point field goals made (351). Miller, who also is in the top 12 of single-season scoring and once held most of Drury’s 3-point field goal records prior to Alex Hall, earned NCAA Division II All-American honors and led the Panthers to the NCAA D-II Tournament his senior year – the program’s first D-II Tournament berth. In 2002, he was nominated for the NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award, one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the NCAA, and his No. 22 jersey was retired in 2003.
Chris Smith – Nevada High School & University of Central Missouri
Smith earned All-State honors and was a USA Today Missouri Player of the Year in 1991 after helping Dave Adams-coached Nevada reach the state championship game and finish 30-1, one of the best marks in the program’s nearly 80-year history. Smith scored a program-best 1,741 career points and, as a senior, earned MVP of the Southwest Conference after averaging 31.5 points and 10 assists per game. Among his highlights were a school-record 50-point performance against Neosho. In the Final Four, he set the two-game record for points (83), scored the second-most points in a game (48 vs. Mexico) and tied for first in 3-pointers made. He also remains the record holder in free throws attempted in Final Four history. He was a multiple All-Southwest Conference, All-District and All-Area selection and holds the school record for single-season points. He then played a season each at the University of Missouri and State Fair Community College before transferring to the University of Central Missouri. In two seasons at UCM (November 1993 to March 1996), Smith found his way all over the record book. He scored 706 points, averaging 11.6 points and distributing 347 assists. The 347 assists and 125 career steals are third-most and seventh-most in program history, respectively. Smith, who also ranks fifth in career 3-point field goal percentage, was a starter on the 1998 Elite Eight team and earned All-MIAA.