Read a Tigers Excerpt

Read a Tigers Excerpt
Middle of Nowhere

Read Genesis 28:10-22.

“When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it’” (v. 16).

Not a single traffic light and only one restaurant. The kids hung out at the car wash. And right there in the middle of nowhere was the greatest sharpshooter in MU women’s basketball history.

Morgan Eye grew up in Montrose. “Population: 384,” she once said when asked to describe her hometown, which sits unobtrusively some 80 miles southeast of Kansas City. She had twelve in her graduating class. For fun, Eye and her friends would gather at “The Lot,” which was the parking lot of a car wash. They’d throw a football or ride around. “Cruising the town,” Eye called it.

Mostly, though, Eye shot a basketball. Her father laid a concrete slab in the backyard with plans to put a building on it. “It never happened,” her mother said. Instead, that half-court-sized slab with no painted lines became Eye’s personal basketball court. There she spent most of her time working on her game.

Eye never had a shooting coach and didn’t play AAU ball. Her odd shot is proof of that. Instead of stepping forward to let fly with a long-range shot, she slides her left foot back just before she shoots. “We joke about my footwork,” she said. “It’s kind of my trademark. I can’t explain it.”

The recruiters evidently couldn’t find Montrose, so Eye sent videos to Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri. MU coach Robin Pingeton saw a kid who “maybe didn’t quite have the athleticism we were looking for,” but “she could absolutely knock the bottom out of it.” At the time, Pingeton said, “We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean.” She offered Eye a scholarship.

What she got was a star who set a school and SEC record as a sophomore in 2012-13 with 112 three-pointers. By the end of her junior season, she had nailed 283 treys, already a school record.

Morgan Eye, the sharpshooter from the middle of nowhere, put Montrose on the map.

Ever been fishing in Tunas? Met the girls in Hilda or just down the road in Ava? Made progress in Advance? They are among the many small communities, some of them nothing more than crossroads, that dot the Missouri countryside. They seem to be in the middle of nowhere, the type of place where Morgan Eye could be found in her backyard shooting a basketball. They’re just hamlets we zip through on our way to somewhere important.

But don’t be misled; those villages are special and wonderful places. That’s because God is in Plato and Lemons just as he is in Columbia, downtown St. Louis, and Springfield. Even when you are far off the roads well traveled, you are with God.

As Jacob discovered to his dismay on one rather astounding morning, the middle of nowhere is, in fact, holy ground – because God is there.

She’s a sweet-talking country girl who was raised on a bean farm in a town that has no traffic lights and one restaurant. — Sportswriter Ross Dellenger on Morgan Eye

No matter how far off the beaten path you travel, you are still on holy ground because God is there.

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