Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Senior to Watch: Charles Rhodes – Mississippi State

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 18, 2008

Charles Rhodes – F/C
Mississippi State University
6’8″ – 245
16.9 PPG, 7.7 REB, 55.5 FG%

Background
Charles Rhodes hails from the famed Jackson Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi where was Clarion-Ledger first team all-state and won the MVP of the Mississippi-Alabama HS all-star game in 2004. Rhodes sat out his high school junior year as he was ruled ineligible after transferring from Forest High School, where he was declared academically ineligible.1

In his four year career at Mississippi State University, Rhodes has amassed more than 1,400 points, more than 670 rebounds and 105 blocks, twice finishing on the all-SEC 2nd team and making the conference 1st team this year. During his span as a Bulldog, he’s also averaged a hair above 55% from the field and a hair below 70% from the FT line. In 2005 after his freshman year, Charles Rhodes announced that he was going to transfer from Mississippi State. Bulldog fans are glad he didn’t, as is Charles – he drives a gold Infinity QX56 with rims of an unknown numerical value; a “gift” from his brother.1

Strengths
Charles Rhodes has promising, yet incomplete, inside-outside offensive skills. He often displays smooth footwork in the post and has the ability to go through contact on his way to the hoop. With improved decision making, his offensive game has the potential to be one you would call truly polished. Rhodes is very effective when he is able to face up his defender, large or small, from mid-range. Depending on who’s guarding him, he can go quick or strong. Just beware if Rhodes attempts to drive from too far out. He has the tendency to get ahead of himself and in the position to make a foolish turnover. Don’t be surprised if you see Rhodes pull the trigger from deep. He’s 9-25 from 3-point land in his career and believes that he has the occasional green light, or for Coach Rick Stansbury, the perpetual yellowish-orange light.

Weaknesses
Mississippi State fans have long wanted Charles Rhodes to be a better rebounder. After averaging 7.1 per game in his sophomore year, he went down almost a rebound last year to 6.2. He averaged just over 26 minutes per game in each of those seasons. This year, in over 31 minutes per contest, Rhodes is pulling down 7.7 rebounds a game. The numbers aren’t paltry, but when you consider his athleticism, you can only hope for better work on the glass. Here lies the rub: Rhodes is a small 6’8″ and while he will and can dunk on people with some authority, he’s not going to win a lot of jumping contests. Some say rebounding is also about toughness and heart.

Importance to Team
Most call Jamont Gordon the “go-to-guy” for Mississippi State. However, this title might be the de facto result of Gordon’s position in charge of ball handling duties. Charles Rhodes is the key factor to Mississippi State’s ability to advance in the 2008 NCAA tournament. If the Bulldogs want to move past round 1, they must work inside-out instead of settling for outside jumpers. This work starts and ends with Charles Rhodes in the paint.

Prime Time Experience
Charles Rhodes averaged 13.9 points per game in his first 8 games of the SEC schedule. He missed the January 9th conference opener, a Bulldogs home win against LSU. In his next 9 SEC games (including 2 in the SEC tournament), Rhodes came on strong averaging 21.3 points in those contests. In contrast, Jamont Gordon played in all MSU SEC games, averaging 18.4 in the first eight. In Jamont’s last 10 games, also factoring in the two SEC tournament games, Gordon put up 16.3 points per game, including outings of 9, 9, 4, and 7. The first 3 of these were wins, the last effort of 7 points came when it should have mattered most, against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC tournament.

What to Expect
Clearly, down the stretch of the Bulldog’s schedule, the play of Charles Rhodes became strong while the play of Jamont Gordon proved to be inconsistent. As far as the NCAA tournament is concerned, as goes Charles, so go the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Outside of 6’9″ senior Maarty Leunen, the Oregon Ducks do not have much down low. In addition to Leunen, Oregon starts three guards along with a 6’6″ “three” man, sophomore Joevan Catron. I’m not sure how the Ducks will match-up with the Bulldogs or if they will change their starting line-up. I could easily see Catron guarding the offensively challenged 6’9″ Jarvis “Swat” Varnado from Mississippi State. That would leave Leunen on Rhodes. Problem is, Maarty Leunen cannot afford to pick up fouls and Charles Rhodes outweighs him by about 25 pounds.

If the Bulldogs get the rock to Rhodes in the paint early and often, while avoiding an insanely hot shooting night from the Oregon Ducks, look for Mississippi State to advance to the second round.

Good Reads: “Mississippi State star Rhodes faces end of career,” Kyle Veazy, The Clarion-Ledger

Also See: Jamont Gordon – Junior to Watch | Profiling the Field: Mississippi State Bulldogs

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One Response to “Senior to Watch: Charles Rhodes – Mississippi State”

  1. […] [Bulldog Maroon & White Archive: Senior to Watch: Charles Rhodes – March 18, 2007] […]

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