Panthers announce their 2024-25 signing class

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Drury Panthers head basketball Chris Foster announced the signing of six players for the 2024-25 season. Kanon Gipson (G/F, Soph., 6-3, 160, Rogersville, Mo., Logan-Rogersville, Missouri State), Zach Howell (G/F, Jr., 6-5, 200, Springfield, Mo., Springfield-Catholic, Wisc.-Milwaukee), Brady Nicholson (G, Fr., 6-3, 170, Ash Grove, Mo., Ash Grove), Brylan Phillips (G, Jr., 5-10, 180, Decatur, Ill., MacArthur, Parkland CC), Reak Riak (F, Fr., 6-8, 185, Madison, Wisc., We Are United Prep), and Hogan Smith (F, Fr., 6-5, 175, Springfield, Mo., Kickapoo) all signed with the Panthers.

 
Kanon Gipson (G/F, Soph., 6-3, 160, Rogersville, Mo., We Are United Prep, Missouri State)
Kanon Gipson will join the Panthers after spending two years at Missouri State, including a redshirt season in 2022-23. Gipson appeared in eight games for the Bears last season and will enter Drury with three years of eligibility remaining. After playing four years of varsity basketball at Logan-Rogersville, he played the 2021-22 season for We Are United Prep in Nixa. Gipson helped Logan-Rogersville to two state semifinal appearances and averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.1 steals per game in his senior year for the Wildcats in 2020-21. He also was named to the Class 5 All-State squad and was an All-Big 8 and was the District 11 Player of the Year.
 
“Kanon has the size and versatility we need at the guard position,” said Foster. “He is a guy that will be able to play and guard multiple positions. He is a perfect fit for how we play and we are thrilled to have him at Drury.”
 
Zach Howell (G/F, Jr., 6-5, 200, Springfield, Mo., Springfield-Catholic, Wisc.-Milwaukee)
Zach Howell returns home to Springfield after playing two seasons at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The 6-5, 200-pound guard/forward was averaging 4.2 points and was shooting .435 from three-point range after his season was cut short by an injury after 10 games. Howell played in 29 games in his freshman season in 2021-22, and averaged 2.7 points. He was part of a Milwaukee squad that won 22 games in his freshman year, and 20 last year during his sophomore year.
 
Howell set the all-time scoring record at Catholic, passing former Drury Panther Jim Kutz, as he finished with 2,186 career points. He was a Class 5 All-State selection and was the Springfield Area Player of the Year by the News-Leader following his senior year, when he averaged 24 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Howell averaged 26 points as a junior and ended his high school career with 290 three-pointers made. He helped Catholic to a state semifinal appearance and set the city’s single-game scoring record with a 55-point performance on Feb. 12, 2021, against Mount Vernon when he was a junior.
 
“Zach is an elite shooter,” stated Foster. “His ability to stretch the floor will make the game easier for everyone around him. We will look forward to the impact he will have in our program.”
 
Brady Nicholson (G, Fr., 6-3, 170, Ash Grove, Mo., Ash Grove)
Brady Nicholson comes to Drury after being named the Southwest Conference Player of the Year and the Area Player of the Year by the Springfield Tipoff Club after his senior year at Ash Grove. He set a Blue & Gold Tournament record with a 50-point game against Willow Springs in last year’s event and his 50 consecutive made free throws during the season are the second-most in state history. Nicholson also ranks third all-time in Missouri with a 93 percent mark in free throw percentage for a season. He was an All-State selection in Class 2 last year, averaging 26.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
 
“Brady is a natural scorer,” noted Foster. “He’s a competitor and plays the game with toughness. His shot-making and competitive spirit will be a great addition to our program.”
 
Brylan Phillips (G, Jr., 5-10, 180, Decatur, Ill., MacArthur, Parkland CC)
Brylan Phillips arrives at Drury after two seasons Parkland Community College in Illinois. Phillips was named to the All-Region 24 Team last year after starting in all 32 games and leading the region in assists, averaging 5.2 per game. He also averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Phillips was an All-Conference selection in his freshman season at Parkland as he played in 31 games and averaged 8.9 points and 4.3 assists.
 
Phillips was a four-time All-Conference selection and earned First Team honors twice in high school, playing for MacArthur in Decatur, Illinois. He topped 1,000 career points and was also a four-time Academic All-Conference honoree. 
 
“Brylan is a true point guard,” said coach Foster. “He has a great understanding of the game and how to make those around him better. We are excited about the impact he will have on our program.”
 
Reak Riak (F, Fr., 6-8, 185, Madison, Wisc., We Are United Prep)
Reak Riak adds more size to the Drury line-up and will be teammates with his brother Juok, who completed his freshman season with the Panthers last year. Reak Riak played for We Are United Prep last year after graduating from Lafollette High School in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2023.
 
“Reak is a tremendous athlete that can impact the game, both offensively and defensively,” said Foster. “He gives us some needed depth in the front court and we are excited to add him to our Drury family.”
 
Hogan Smith (F, Fr., 6-5, 175, Springfield, Mo., Kickapoo)
Hogan Smith comes to Drury after playing for Kickapoo High School in Springfield. Injuries limited his high school career, but Smith was part of a Chiefs team that went 22-4 and 9-1 in the Ozark Conference and saw action in the last several years with the Yanders Law AAU program.
 
“Hogan is a winner,” stated Foster. “He’s had many challenges along the way and overcame them all. His work ethic and commitment makes him a perfect fit for our program.”
 
The six signees will join 10 returning lettermen that include three starters, two redshirts, and four of the top five scorers from last year’s roster.
 

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