Northeastern State men’s basketball head coach Ja Havens announced his coaching staff Friday. Lucas Hunter and Brett Cannon will share the sidelines with the NSU alum for the upcoming 2020-21 season. Both have previously worked with Havens at East Central University (Ada, Okla.).
“I could not be more excited about the staff that is in place for our program,” said Havens. “Lucas Hunter and Brett Cannon will work tirelessly to help build a program that Northeastern State University and the Tahlequah community will be proud to support. Lucas and Brett are servant-leaders that will develop our student-athletes both on and off the basketball court.”
Hunter will come to NSU after spending the one season at Rogers State in Claremore. With the Hillcats, RSU finished the season No. 18 in the nation, winning 24 games and qualifying for the first time in program history for the NCAA Tournament.
Before his stint in Claremore, Hunter was at East Central University, where he served on the Havens’ men’s basketball staff. In two seasons with the Tigers, Hunter worked with the forwards and helped lead the team to consecutive postseason appearances. Along with his role on the floor, Hunter helped assist with player development, recruiting, overseeing student-athlete academics, team fundraising, teal travel, and scouting opponents.
Hunter also served as the lead manager for the men’s basketball program at Southern Illinois University. In two seasons, Hunter assisted the Salukis, who finished in the top four in the Missouri Valley Conference.
While at SIU, his duties included on floor skill development of guards and forwards, assisting with scouting reports, evaluating recruiting prospects, helping with on-campus visits, working on film breakdown and coordinating team travel and meals.
Hunter moved to Southern Illinois after spending a season at the University of Alabama, where he also served as a student manager.
The Carterville, Ill., native earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois in Civil and Environmental Engineer in May 2017. He graduated with his master’s degree in Sports Administration from East Central in May of 2019.
“Lucas Hunter is one of the hardest workers I have ever been around. He has experience working with me in our program as well as successful experience coaching and recruiting in the MIAA. He has developed strong recruiting ties within the state of Oklahoma and the region, and he does a tremendous job of building relationships. Lucas is also a great student of the game who will do a tremendous job teaching and developing our student-athletes.”
– Coach Havens
Cannon will make a direct transition with Havens from East Central after spending the past season as a graduate assistant.
He also played three seasons at ECU and helped lead the team to the first NCAA Central Regional Tournament in school history, two Great American Conference regular-season titles, and a GAC Tournament Championship. Cannon left the Tigers tied for first in their triple-double list, fifth in assists, and sixth in minutes played.
Cannon would continue to play basketball professionally in the RegionaIliga German Basketball league for Cuxhaven.
At Del City High School, Cannon was Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association Class 5A Player of the Year and led the Eagles to three state tournament berths in Class 5A. He also left the school as the all-time leading scorer, with 1,307 points.
As a senior, Cannon earned OBCA Region 8 All-District, the Daily Oklahoman All-Big City First Team, and All-Mid-State Conference First Team honors.
Cannon was also a stand out in the classroom, claiming OBCA First Team Academic All-State honors and was named the Del City Class Valedictorian in 2014.
The Del City, Okla., native earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from East Central in May 2018 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at NSU in sports administration.
“Brett Cannon has a great future in the college coaching business. He played at a very high level in our program for three seasons, played professionally overseas, and has now coached in our system for a season. He brings a wealth of knowledge and a desire to work with and develop players. Brett has quickly proven himself as an excellent recruiter with an eye for talent and the ability to relate to prospective student-athletes, families, and coaches.”
– Coach Havens