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Archive for the ‘rick stansbury’ Category

Rick Stansbury At It Again

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 19, 2009

Good ol’ Rick Stansbury, stumping for the support of Oregonians who despise the state of Washington and everything about it, including the UW Huskies.

Ok, despise may be a little harsh, but Coach Stans is trying to rally local support for his team and not the one about 150 miles away.

“We know all the Oregon people are behind us here. If you’re not, get behind us!” Stansbury said Wednesday at a news conference.

Stansbury then called out a reporter from the Portland daily newspaper in the bowels of the 19,980-seat Rose Garden, which is sold out through the weekend.

“I expect to see the headline, ‘Bulldogs love Ducks!’ It’s all on you,” the folksy coach and native of Kentucky deadpanned with a straight face. “I understand Oregon folks don’t like you Washington folks.

Uh….coach? Don’t you remember beating the Oregon Ducks in the first round of the 2008 NCAA tournament?

I don’t think people in Oregon will exactly be lining up to support the Bulldogs from Starkville. But hell, it’s worth a try, right?

Sports memories aren’t nearly as enduring as rivalries.

Coach Stansbury was also asked if he’d ever sought support in such a manner before, “No, but hey, there’s a first time for everything. I’m not afraid to do it,” he said.

Again, uh…coach?

I can’t remember if Stansbury publicly stumped in 2005, but he sure didn’t turn away the hoards of UNC Tar Heel fans who feverishly rooted for Mississippi State against the hate Duke Blue Devils when all teams played in Charlotte in the ’05 NCAA Tournament.

No matter, this is year is not past years…but Stansbury might make a helluva politician nonetheless.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!

[side note] – Everyone thinks this Brockman cat will destroy Varnado on this inside because he’s thick and Jarvis is skinny. Really?

Please…Varnado has faced plenty of big bodies in his career, and this guy is no different.

Suggested Reading:

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ncaa tournament, oregon ducks, rick stansbury, sec basketball | Leave a Comment »

Does Rick Stansbury have a shot at Keith “Tiny” Gallon?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 31, 2008

It’s well known that the Mississippi State Bulldogs are on the radar of Keith “Tiny” Gallon. It should be made clear that the “Tiny” part is ironic, but not the “Gallon,” as this 6’9″ center prospect, ranked 21st overall (3rd among centers) by ESPN.com/Scouts Inc., weighs in at around 300 pounds.

In his assessment of superlatives among high school big men, Scout Inc.’s Bob Gibbons admits that Gallon is one of only three centers ranking in the overall top 25, but does not rank Gallon within the top three in areas such as rebounding, shot blocking, low-post scoring, and high-post scoring.

More recently, Gibbons had this to say about Gallon after observing a mid-October scrimmage of his high school team, Oak Hill Academy: “Gallon powered for 10 points and 9 rebounds in the first period of Tuesday’s scrimmage. However, he did not score in the second period. He is still overweight and not in good playing condition. He wore down during the night and when fatigued he has a tendency to bring the ball down in the post and lose it or get tied up.”

Other profiles on Gallon, such as the one on Draft Express, continue to relay the message that the kid is out of shape. But go check some YouTube videos of Gallon, and he is clearly abnormally agile for a guy his size. What the big man can do with a ball is almost unprecedented…..even for his common comparison, Robert “Tractor” Traylor.

So what gives? Well, obviously the AAU/High School system is less about developing and teaching players and more about ‘what can I do for myself lately?’ on all levels.

The question is, if Rick Stansbury gets Gallon to Starkville, can he prod the big man into living up to his potential? Stansbury isn’t exactly known for being able to motivate those who lack the full desire to be motivated…..just ask Robert Jackson and Marcus Campbell. Stansbury expects his players to be self-motivated. Not all coaches do it the same way, that’s just Stansbury’s style. Now, it might behoove him to be more like, say, Roy Williams, but with the difficult work it takes to produce a winner at Mississippi State, I can’t exactly blame Stansbury for not taking the time to be a hand-holding nurturer.

Right now, the latest reports indicate that the Bulldogs, California, and Oklahoma are at the top of Gallon’s list, with Arizona, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Georgetown being somewhat in the picture. I’ve heard rumors that Stansbury is losing out on Gallon, but I wouldn’t count Slick Rick out of a recruiting battle, ever. At this point, even Gallon’s coach is unsure about his decision.

Will “Tiny” one day squeeze into maroon & white? Stay tuned…..

Posted in basketball recruiting, Bulldog Basketball, keith gallon, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, rick stansbury, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

3:45 PM Madness! The Mississippi State Bulldogs Commence Basketball Practice

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 19, 2008

At 3:45 pm last Friday afternoon, the Mississippi State Bulldogs began a quest for another basketball championship. And so coach Rick Stansbury puts a decade at the helm of the program behind him and begins a new one with his 11th year. For the utmost time, Stansbury is selling his team as young and inexperienced. As the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey implies, Stansbury’s media quotes are….manufactured, if you will……and the factory seemingly went out of business awhile ago (damn economy), so Rick is forced to blow the dust of the same ol’ quote handbook year after year.

Can you blame him? There’s a term for the same song and dance, it’s called “coach-speak” and it’s a standard around the country from college to the pros. Coaches aren’t necessarily straight-shooting mavericks, they’re teachers of the game (and let’s be honest, businessmen). But in any case, I’m looking forward to the basketball season and I’m anxious to see just how this young Bulldog team, and the coaching of Rick Stansbury, develops.

Recently, there have been several great articles from media outlets covering the onset of practice, such as from The Commercial Dispatch, the NE Mississippi Daily Journal, College Hoops Net, and Inside Mississippi State Sports (Daily Journal Blog).  Here’s a summation of what I’ve learned from those articles:

  • Stansbury essentially claims the team to be an unknown entity to him….however, that doesn’t mean he’s not aware of the individual strengths and weaknesses observed from the NCAA sanctioned individual workouts, which have been going on almost since the start of school.
  • Stansbury knew well enough to ride the talent of Jamont Gordon like butter on warm bread…..put the ball in the guy’s hands and get out of his way. Sure, many times this laissez-faire method worked to the detriment of the team, but would the Bulldogs have won an SEC West Championship without Gordon? I doubt it.
  • However, Coach is not exactly shedding tears over the early departure of Jamont, and looks forward to working with two new point guards, Dee Bost and Twany Beckham, who are more towards the pure end of the spectrum, yet whose games are different enough to give Stansbury diverse options.
  • Speaking of Beckham, he claims himself to be a leader….I like that.
  • But Barry Stewart is expected to be the leader of the team…..I’m not sure how vocal Stewart is, but in terms of his on-court presence, hopefully he leads by example.
  • Brian Johnson, and his new-found leg strength, could be the pleasant surprise that the rest of the SEC isn’t ready for.
  • The man-child who will garner the most attention is obviously Jarvis Varnado….but one of those “unknowns” Stansbury was speaking about would surely be Varnado’s offensive game. Jarvis had a very active summer, from going up against the likes of Chris Paul and LeBron James, to unveiling some offensive skills at the renowned Adidas Nations camp. So, there’s no reason to think that Varnado’s scoring abilty hasn’t improved by leaps and bounds, and thus, Stansbury will be able to feed him the ball with confidence.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, rick stansbury, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Football Is On, But I’m Still Thinking About Mississippi State Basketball

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 13, 2008

About three weeks back, I had a post covering a couple MSU basketball predictions: collegehoopsnet ranking the Bulldogs #96 and Dick Vitale putting MSU at #36 in his preseason top 40.

Well, I failed to mention that ESPN’s Joe Lunardi still has the Bulldogs predicted to make the Big Dance (his Bracketology was last updated way back on June 18th). MSU is a falling #7 seed and would play #10 seed UNLV in Portland, Oregon (West Regional). Of course, that was before Jamont Gordon went undrafted by the NBA on June 26th, but a couple days after it was pretty much official that Gordon would not be returning to Starkville.

Also, on June 17th, ESPN’s Andy Katz had Mississippi State in his 16 others under consideration outside of his preseason top 25.

We still have a way to go before college basketball talk gets seriously serious…so I’ll reserve any predictions on my part until further down the road, not to mention that the Mississippi State basketball schedule has yet to be released. It seems like MSU is always one of the last in the conference to release.

Other Previews to Check:

Where Does Rick Stansbury Rank?

Seth Stogsdill of UK Wildcat Country has ranked all SEC basketball coaches on two scales: recruiting and actual coaching. Stansbury comes in as the #3 recruiter in the league. Stogsdill gives the same ol’ song and dance, insinuating that Stansbury’s success derives from him being the most habitual rule bender. I certainly have my own thoughts on the subject (see Is Mississippi State Basketball a “No-Win” Situation?).

I can’t bemoan the fact that this point about Stansbury is driven home over and over again, I suppose it will always come with the territory of anyone who produces a winning team out of lil’ ol’ Starkville. But c’mon, most “dirty” connotations about Rick Stansbury seem to act as if the fecal matter of other college coaches fails to emit a stench.

In any case, here’s what Stogsdill had to say:

I’ll be blunt here: Nobody knows how to cheat and not get caught better than Rick Stansbury. I haven’t been to Starkville, MS, but from what I’ve been told, there’s a Kroger, a Pizza Hut, a couple of stoplights and an SEC university. The basketball team has next to no tradition, yet Stansbury has pulled in some unbelevable classes, mainly by using the AAU circuits, which are ruining the game. In the original recruiting ploy to secure a commitment from Scotty Hopson, I’m pretty sure that Stansbury signed several of his AAU teammates. Some call it conquering the recruiting machine, I call it shady, but except for the Hopson situation, it’s worked to perfection for State.

Stogsdill ranks Stansbury #6 in the conference at coaching, which sounds about right.

Rick Stansbury has been at Mississippi State since 2000 and has had a team full of his own recruits since 2002. That was the year of the infamous Mario Austin game. Since that year, I have never felt like Kentucky was going to win convincingly against the Bulldogs. It’s no coincidence that State has made the Big Dance in five of those seven seasons. Last year, they played Memphis tougher than any team besides Tennessee and Kansas. They typically hold onto leads, unless they have to shoot a lot of FTs. They have had guys who create mismatches in every one of Stansbury’s seasons since 2002. Their players develop nicely, and I reference Austin and Jamont Gordon as the best examples. He’s the reason why State has been the most consistent team in the West this decade.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, rick stansbury, sec basketball, SEC Sports | 1 Comment »

Stansbury Gets A New Contract, But Where’s The Love?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on July 9, 2008

For success during 10 seasons as men’s head basketball coach at Mississippi State University, Rick Stansbury has been awarded a raise and a contract extension through 2011-2012. Stansbury’s new $1.2 million salary is composed of a $225,000 base salary and a supplement from the Bulldog Foundation, making him the 4th highest paid basketball coach in the SEC. So why are many Bulldog fans showing Rick Stansbury no love?

Here are some of the initial opinions expressed in the comments section of the Clarion-Ledger’s July 3rd story on Stansbury’s new contract:

“Waste of money”

“Earn your money Stainsberry and make some noise in the NCAA tourney. We’ve had enough of your 2nd round defeats!!!”

“Good recruiter.. Bad coach”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Guaranteed to be a pretty decent, better than average team through 2011-2012. Damn Scamsbury.”

Sure there were positive comments to follow, but from experience, the above opinions are indicative of the general negativity emitted from many Mississippi State fans. A great job is not good enough. Have people been spoiled by success, or are they justifiably unsatisfied from lack of achievement?

Simply put, Stansbury has brought consistency to a program with, at best, sporadic tradition, essentially spawning winning out of a purported “no-win” situation. Sure Coach Stansbury has had difficulties with advancing in post season play, never making it past the 2nd round of the big dance. Of course, I’ve been frustrated with poor free-throw coaching, lack of offensive X and O prowess, and the inability to coax maturity out of some players. And perhaps Rick’s interest in the academic success of his players has the MSU basketball program tippy-toeing along the sanction line, a single point over the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) threshold of 900. After all, Stansbury was quoted, “We don’t talk to teachers when we’re recruiting kids, everyone does it differently,” in a New York Times article investigating Philadelphia’s Lutheran Christian Academy, a ‘diploma mill’ attended by Jamont Gordon and former Bulldog, Vernon Goodridge, which has since been put on an NCAA ‘unacceptable’ list.

But hey, what’s the price of relevancy? Shall we live in a fatalistic world where “everybody’s doing it” allows us to root with a clear conscience? Large corporations consistently teeter between black and white, always looking for a loophole to give them a competitive edge. That’s business, and until the NCAA changes it’s rules otherwise, it’s member organizations will continue to act as such. In that SI.com article outlining ‘no-win’ situations in college basketball, an anonymous coach is quoted in admitting that “coaching in the SEC requires ‘a moral flexibility.'” What that coach forgot to admit is that lax moral values transcend conferences, sports, players, and even fans. I don’t proclaim to have any solutions, but I do know that the NCAA is ultimately responsible.

I’m digressing from the matter at hand. Point is, Rick Stansbury is not unlike many other college basketball coaches, especially those in the SEC……except for the fact that he gets big time players to come play in Starkville, Mississippi. How soon we forget the days when the best players in Mississippi were consistently heading out of state. When is the last time you heard that complaint?

It’s natural to desire that success be built on top of success. Bulldog fans want their basketball team to live up to its potential, I have the same hopes. But my mantra is that things could always be worse; Bulldogs fans don’t know how good they have it. Congratulations to Coach Stansbury on receiving a well deserved new contract, his track record speaks for itself. With recent defections, next season ain’t gonna be easy. Sure we will hear rhetoric from Rick about having a young team, but the task will be daunting nonetheless. Here’s to program building, getting through the rough patches, and the high capability for success.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Why The Mavericks May Be Charles Rhodes’ Best Shot

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 30, 2008

Rhodes will try his ten-gallon hat in Big D

It’s been reported in the Dallas Morning News that Charles Rhodes will join the Dallas Mavericks summer league team in Las Vegas. Bulldog Killer….Vanderbilt’s Shan Foster, taken 51st overall in the draft, will be among others vying for a spot.

Why a potential good fit for Rhodes.

Assuming that Eddie Jones does not opt-out of the final year of his contract, he must do so by Tuesday, the Mavs are left with only seven players signed for next season. Just two of those players are big men in former Bulldog, Erick Dampier, and Hasselhoff fan, Dirk Nowitzki. It looks like the Mavericks will attempt to use their full MLE (mid-level exception) on DeSagana Diop (whom Dallas traded to New Jersey to get Jason Kidd). Diop would serve as a two headed monster along with Big Damp at the five spot.

The Mavs will still need a post player with scoring ability as Diop and Dampier are often estranged from the hoop. Rhodes has the capability to provide buckets in a variety of ways, given he doesn’t force the issue and learns to distribute as a team player. Rhodes’ biggest competition among other post players in Vegas will be Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Pape Sow, and Marcus Slaughter.

New Dallas coach, Rick Carlisle, is known to be demanding of players. But his appreciation of offense and defense should allow Rhodes to show his diverse skills, as long as he works his butt off.

Ideal Big Man Camp?

The Clarion-Ledger had a feature on Jarvis Varnado in Sunday’s edition. Varnado recently participated in one of Nike’s invitation only Skills Academies. Steve Nash has a point guard camp, Kobe Bryant has a shooting guard camp, Vince Carter has a wing forward camp, and Amare Stoudamire has a big man camp.

These Nike camps serve as a pseudo grassroots campaign initiated to instill fundamentals back in USA basketball. Varnado was one of around a dozen or so players at his position invited to participate in Stoudamire’s exclusive camp. The college participants in turn acted as instructors to top high school prospects, also invited to improve skills for their respective position.

MSU coach Rick Stansbury should be ecstatic about Varnado’s participation. He had an excellent chance to go against elite college bigs such as UConn senior Jeff Adrien, Pitt sophomore DeJuan Blair, Notre Dame junior Luke Harangody, and Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin. Amare Stoudamire is a great talent. But between you and me, I’d rather hear that the camp be led by the likes of Bill Russell, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett, or Tim Duncan….much better examples to headline where the American big man game should be going.

Free Throw Conditioning

Every time clips of last second March Madness heroics are shown, should missed free-throws be responsible for setting the scene, they should be prerequisite viewing along with the buzzer beater. The importance of FT shooting needs to be further indoctrinated somehow.

Case in point: I was flipping around the tube on Saturday afternoon and came across the last two minutes of the 1998 tourney match-up between Ole Miss and Valparaiso…you know, the Bryce Drew game. With 4.1 seconds left and Ole Miss up 69-67, Ansu Sesay had a chance to ice the match at the charity stripe. Clang. Timeout. Clang. Rebound tipped out of bounds by Ole Miss with 2.5 seconds left and the distance of the court to go. The rest is history.

The latest and greatest example for the Mississippi State Bulldogs? Try the three-point buzzer beater West Virginia hit to win the March 2007 NIT semifinal game in Madison Square Garden. Live Angle. Game Highlights. And then the video showing Jamont Gordon missing the second of two FTs which would have put the Bulldogs up three, 63-60.

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, ole miss rebels, rick stansbury, sec basketball, vanderbilt commodores | 2 Comments »

Is Mississippi State Basketball a “No-Win” Situation?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 5, 2008

Mississippi State head basketball coach Rick Stansbury has certainly had his share of detractors. I’ve been critical of the guy at times myself. But I maintain that Stansbury is the right man for the job. In my opinion, no other coach could get the big time recruits into Starkville as Stansbury has proven capable of doing time and time again.

Recently, Coach Stansbury has come under fire as a result of the transfer of ‘great white hype’ Ben Hansbrough to Notre Dame. Message board aficionados cited a recent trend of non-NBA related premature departures from the MSU basketball program. A more in depth article on Bulldog basketball transfers will be forthcoming, but essentially, these occurrences are no biggie. Just look at what’s going on at heralded and beloved programs such as Georgetown.

Sports Illustrated recently polled college basketball coaches on their opinion of the most difficult jobs in each of the six BCS conferences. Evidently, the ACC was deemed to be exempt as every head coaching job is seemingly an ideal situation. Either that’s a complete crock, or a drastic statement on the inability of some ACC coaches to win at certain programs…..but that’s neither here nor there. I will respite from analyzing ACC basketball history.

As you can predict, Mississippi State came up as the most difficult place to win in the SEC. Here is the excerpt from No-Win Situations? by George Dohrmann of SI.com:

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Coaching in the SEC requires “a moral flexibility,” as one coach terms it. “Most of the schools are willing to bend the rules to help get the recruits you need to win.” Another coach says, “It’s not easy to get a recruit to go to Starkville,” but the Bulldogs’ Rick Stansbury has “proven it can be done.”

The following schools from the other four BCS conferences were mentioned: Oregon State (Pac-10), Penn State (Big 10/11), Nebraska (Big 12), and Seton Hall (Big East).

Now, I’m not necessarily offended…..wait, I am offended. Coaches are saying that Mississippi State is more difficult than Ole Miss? C’mon folks, the Rebels play at the decrepit “Tad Pad” and have 22 less wins that the Bulldogs in the past ten years…..that’s pretty much an entire season.

In comparison to the rest of the league, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are perpetually the bottom two in terms of athletic department budget. According to 2007 numbers, the Bulldogs are an SEC worst at $28 million while the Rebels come in at $33 million. The University of Florida has the highest budget at $76 million and is followed by seven schools, (Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, and South Carolina), all whose budgets more than double that of Mississippi State. So yes, athletic budget would be the most glaring factor in determining the difficulty of success.

What does this all mean? It means that Rick Stansbury is doing a helluva job. During his ten seasons as head coach of the Mississippi State basketball program, Rick Stansbury has only amassed 208 wins (the most in school history), a .647 winning percentage, 5 NCAA Tournament appearances (3 NIT), 4 SEC West titles, 1 regular season SEC championship, and 1 SEC Tournament title. During this time, only two SEC programs have more wins that Mississippi State, Florida and Kentucky.

As of April 10 of 2008, Rivals.com listed Rick Stansbury at #23 of its college basketball head coach power rankings, behind other SEC coaches Bruce Pearl (#7 – Tennessee), Trent Johnson (#15 and new at LSU), Billy Donovan (#16 – Florida), and Kevin Stalling (#20 – Vanderbilt).

Stansbury is also willing to recruit 8th graders…or “cats” (hasn’t happened to date), and probably has more flexibility than a yoga instructor in Sports Illustrated’s aforementioned prerequisite for SEC coaches.

You know what I say…..keep on keepin’ on. Now if Stansbury can only find a way to get to the Sweet Sixteen.

Posted in florida gators, kentucky wildcats, mississippi state bulldogs, ole miss rebels, rick stansbury, sec basketball | 4 Comments »

O Brother Ben Hansbrough, Where Art Thou?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 16, 2008

So you’re is going to transfer from Mississippi State, huh kid? As a avid Bulldog fan, I want to disapprove of such a maneuver. Is this really what it comes down to? One of the winningest programs in recent SEC history and you just wants to jet? Why not stick with something? Sorry if I’m asking a lot of questions, but a transfer like this deserves an answer.

Let’s just put this “Big Brother Tyler” thing behind us right now and concentrate on Ben. Because it would be completely unfair for anyone to compare the both; same heart, but two separate players with obvious physical differences. Getting to the point, did the younger Hansbrough brother simply feel inefficient at Mississippi State? Or perhaps this situation actually resonates with Ben’s father. After all, Gene Hansbrough’s comments to the St. Louis Dispatch have turned this whole ordeal into a “he said, she said” battle royale. Let’s take a look at those comments from Gene:

“Ben loves Missouri, I think he wants to play in a competitive program and be able to excel as a team. It depends on what opportunities present itself in Missouri and even outside of Missouri. He doesn’t have his mind made up about anything except that he doesn’t want to play at Mississippi State next year.”

Wow, if that’s not a gauntlet thrown down, then I don’t know what is. Overtly, those are harsh words towards Rick Stansbury and his basketball program. What does that say about Mississippi State?

Well, what say you Ben? Here’s the exact words that young Hansbrough told Gregg Ellis of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal:

“I’m not going to beat anyone on talent alone,” he said. “I have to outwork people. And to do that, I need to be in the gym. Right now, I can’t get into the Hump, and I won’t be able to for another couple of months. I know it sounds petty, but without a practice facility, I can’t get better as a player.”

Oh wait, there’s no practice facility? Shame on Mississippi State. Because in the time that pre-dates the short history of exclusive college basketball practice facilities, no self-proclaimed “gym rat” has ever made them self a better player, right? Especially none of those hard workers such as Timmy Bowers and Derrick Zimmerman who led the Bulldogs to SEC titles and post-season play, huh?

I agree, to keep up with top programs, Mississippi State could use a practice facility to be shared by both the men and women’s programs. But to say that you can’t be a better player without one would be the definition of a cop-out. In fact, such a facility is actually in the works (of course, the MSU athletic department is in the “quiet” phase of raising funds for a basketball practice facility). Regardless, Ben Hansbrough and his father knew of the situation coming in.

Aside from issues with a place to improve skills, or perceived lack thereof, the honesty is refreshing, but the absence of confidence is concerning. In the game of basketball I know, you’re not going to get far without a minimal chip on your shoulder. Oh, by the way, Ben’s comments (which occurred about a day before his father’s) are a far cry from what Gene Hansbrough said. I suppose Ben can play the diplomat and Gene can take the bullet.

Ben Hansbrough to the Clarion-Ledger on if his decision had anything to do with the coaching staff or teammates: “It had nothing to do with that,” he said. “Had nothing to do with playing time. I was playing a lot.”

Coach Rick Stansbury’s comments were predictably stoic: “Ben is a good kid and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.” — kinda reminds me of that time when, Rasheed Wallace said “both teams played hard, it was a good game,” over and over again after a loss.

Many people are starting to worry about the recent trend of transfers from the Mississippi State basketball program. As his quote from a Clarion-Ledger blog entry conveys, Coach Rick Stansbury is not worried, and you should not be either. (A reflection of Mississippi State transfers will be covered in a future entry here at Bulldog Maroon & White.)

“Some of them, No. 1, want to play bigger roles than are available on the team,” he said. “No. 2, some of them don’t have a choice, they’re just not good enough and don’t have a choice for other reasons. And No. 3, I’ve always got to make decisions that are best for the team.”

Look, part of this blog is speculation, part of it is getting something off my chest. I don’t claim to know Ben Hansbrough, or his family. I would like to wish him the best of luck on his future basketball path. I will certainly follow his career and hope that he succeeds to the best of his potential. What’s done is done and the Mississippi State basketball program will move on. Although I can be critical at times, (it’s in my nature), Rick Stansbury has my full support because I don’t think anyone can do a better job at Mississippi State University.

Do you read message boards, or comments on blogs? Well, good for you. I really don’t care for reading them, but they do provide for interesting fodder. Here are some of the more interesting quotes in regard to the Ben Hansbrough transfer:

From the Reflector Online – John posted 4/08/08 @ 1:25 AM CST
It is because he [Rick Stansbury] pays great players to come here and then does not punish them and let’s them do whatever they please, and the average players (Ben) he has to discipline. Stans has NO control over our program.

Kosciusko Star-Herald (actually a column by Austin Bishop)
There had been some talk that Hansbrough’s father had some dissatisfaction with MSU coach Rick Stansbury for one reason or the other, but that is unsubstantiated at this point.

2thdoc on Inside Mississippi State Sports with Gregg Ellis
I am positive that Psycho Dad helped come up with that excuse [of a practice facility]…priceless. We also don’t have another basketball goal in the city of Starkville. Everyone knows we need a practice facility but I did not know the time table evolved around Little Ben. Gregg [Ellis], I’m sure you can’t practice your typing speed on your laptop either unless you are in the first class seat of an airplane.

roastbeef1 on Inside Mississippi State Sports with Gregg Ellis
Does Ben Hansbrough think he is some stud or something? Look at his old profiles. Who were his final four on his list? State, Southern Illinois, Dayton, and Florida State. Sure, Dayton was solid this year and SIU is usually solid, but Mississippi State is the only legit BCS school to offer him.

TTDAWG on Kyle Veazey’s Clarion-Ledger MSU Blog
Ben will be missed. I think there is much more to the story. Could it me any truth to the rumors that Ben’s mom has been caught with ex-teamate Dietric Slater? and Dietric recently got caught with prescription medication belonging to his mom. Hope this is all untrue but would be enough to make him want to get far away from Starkville.

GoState04 on Kyle Veazey’s Clarion-Ledger MSU Blog
The practice facility is a lame excuse. If I were Ben, I’d be embarrassed to even say it was. There is something else going on. Remember this time last year there were rumors floating that Ben was going to leave then–rumor it had to do with parents divorce– he stayed. Now, a year later, rumors floated again, and now they are true. I believe Stans needs to make a statement to the fan base regarding the defections made during the last few years. I believe Ben leaving could have to do with personal issues and not with coaches/program.

Posted in basketball recruiting, ben hansbrough, mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, sec basketball | Leave a Comment »

Get Your Tape Recorders: Scotty Hopson Jumps Into Bruce Pearl’s Pocket

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 7, 2008

You’re probably wondering what the hell that headline means. Let me explain.

Scotty Hopson, a top-10 ranked high school basketball player by Rivals.com (#1 SF overall) from the University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, made a non-binding oral commitment to the Mississippi State Bulldogs on October 23, 2006 before the onset of his junior year. Seemingly great news for Rick Stansbury and the Mississippi State men’s basketball program. Along with Romero Osby and Dee Bost (who both subsequently signed with Mississippi State during the early signing period on November 16, 2007), Scotty Hopson would give the Bulldogs a potential top-10 recruiting class for 2008.

But then it gets typical…..of the recruitment of a high school basketball superstar.

Flashback to the late 80s: Iowa and Illinois were engaged in a heated battle for Deon Thomas, a hardwood blue-chipper from the City of Wind, Chicago my friend. Thomas ultimately chose to play for the Illini and would go on to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. However, Bruce Pearl, then an assistant in charge of recruiting at Iowa, wasn’t “down” with Thomas’ decision.

Pearl, who had already cultivated a recruiter-recruitee relationship with Deon Thomas, began contacting the high school kid in an attempt to extort information, and possibly change his mind. Suspicious of Illinois and intent on retribution, Pearl recorded subsequent conversations with Thomas. And in a moment where there would be a court room objection for leading the witness, Bruce Pearl essentially got Deon Thomas to admit to being offered cash and a whip (whip=vehicle=Chevy Blazer) by Jimmy Collins, an assistant with Illinois at the time. After multiple conversations, Pearl penned his TPS Report, threw it in an envelope along with the tapes, and shipped them off to the NCAA.

The NCAA investigated and found no wrong-doing when it came to Illinois and Deon Thomas. Pearl’s taped conversations with Thomas were questionable at best, omitting the scent of being edited to the detriment of Illinois. Deon Thomas even took, and passed a lie detector test.

However, upon combing through records, NCAA investigators found a rack of other illegal transgressions by the Illinois. “Lack of institutional control,” as they call it, led to a 1-year post-season ban among other penalties. If you have time, go ahead a give yourself a full dose of the Bruce Pearl/Deon Thomas incident run-down.

As a result, Bruce Pearl would go on to serve several years in college basketball coaching purgatory.

ruce’s TPS Report (okay, really his memo to the NCAA) is definitely an interesting read if you have the chance to skim it. It’s a cross between Blue Chips and He Got Game. Funny thing is, I believe Pearl’s memo….but that doesn’t make him any less of a rat. Whistle-blowers walk a fine line, don’t they?

Deon Thomas went so far as to call Pearl a “snake” in Chicago papers — if you’re going with the greater of two evils, it’s recording someone when they are unaware. Let’s be honest: big time college D1 athletic programs at times do things to “get by” — We live in a capitalistic society where it’s only natural for someone to get compensated for an added value, whatever value that may be. The value some college athletes bring to the table, in most cases, exceeds the value of a free education. [Wow? Did I just type that?….sad state of affairs. For the record: I’m for increasing academic oversight of college athletic academics and I’m in favor of increasing the NBA age limit by one year] Essentially, it’s no secret that the NCAA and it’s member programs make a lot of money from athletics and the players are left with little.

In my opinion, there might be two major college basketball programs in the whole country which can get by without succumbing to “money ball”: North Carolina and Duke – my apologies to Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA. I believe I’m digressing….another greater of two evils: hypocrisy. Watch out Bruce Pearl, the account of Scotty Hopson’s recruitment reads eerily similar to your late-80s memo….if only we were privy to the words exchanged between college coaches and player entourages (including the player himself, friends, family, shady uncles, AAU coaches, high school coaches, and any other hanger-ons, etc.). Look, I know this is a borderline accusatory blog entry of Bruce Pearl — that isn’t my intention. Being self-aware of his own past, I’m sure Bruce is playing by the book, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t selling something to Hopson. You don’t always have to break the rules to be a shyster, you just have to bend them.

Flash forward to today where Mississippi State’s loss of Scotty Hopson is Tennessee’s gain. Am I bitter that Hopson recently chose to commit to Tennessee instead of honoring his original commitment to the Bulldogs? Perhaps….especially since Rick Stansbury has lost McDonald’s All-American commits such as Jonathan Bender, Travis Outlaw, and Monta Ellis to the NBA.  But what goes around, comes around….and in a world where Alabama faithful feel that Rick Stansbury “stole” Mario Austin (the only McDonald’s All-American who has played for Stansbury during his head coaching tenure at MSU), Timmy Bowers and Derrick Zimmerman from them, I suppose something like this was coming.

On a positive note, no one can question the exuberance and energy conveyed by Bruce Pearl. His passion has a direct influence on making his kids better players, and men. And that type of attitude is more than welcome in the SEC, much less the entire college basketball landscape.

But just in case, does anyone have Scotty Hopson’s phone number and a tape recorder?

The Recruitment of Scotty Hopson: A Timeline

Link Info:

BTW…if you’re a Bulldog fan and want the lack of Scotty to really hurt, then watch this YouTube of his highlights.

Are you interested in high school photos of Bruce Pearl? What about seeing Bruce in a dress? I didn’t think so….but just in case, you can go to TheDirty.com.

In his initial season in Knoxville, only two players on the Tennessee men’s basketball team could out-lift Bruce Pearl in the weight room. Perhaps Adam Sandler will give Pearl a shot-out in his next Hanukkah Song. [Pearl Has Converted The Faithful in Tennessee – Sally Jenkins, Washington Post]

Posted in basketball recruiting, bruce pearl, mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, scotty hopson, sec basketball, tennessee volunteers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Recruitment of Scotty Hopson: A Timeline

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 4, 2008

On October 23, 2006, Scotty Hopson, a 6’5″, 185 pound SG/SF from the University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky committed to play basketball for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Of course, the commitment was “oral” and “non-binding” but great news nonetheless! Scotty would join 4-star PF Romero Osby and 3-star PG Dee Bost to form a great 2008 MSU Bulldog basketball recruiting class. However, earlier this week, on April Fools Day, Scotty Hopson opted to commit to Bruce Pearl and the University of Tennessee Volunteers instead. Bruce Pearl makes it his job to dole out hi-fives.

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I present the most comprehensive time-line of the Scotty Hopson recruitment process:

August 2006 – Before beginning his junior season, Scotty Hopson has offers from Ole Miss, Clemson and Mississippi State on the table. Several other schools have shown interest including: Arkansas, Memphis, Ohio State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Cincinnati.

9.9.06 – After a visit to UT, Scotty says the Volunteers are recruiting him pretty hard, rounding out the top 5 (in no order) is Ohio State, Memphis, Louisville and Mississippi State.

10.13.06 – Scotty Hopson visits Kentucky for Midnight Madness, UK makes an offer.

10.23.06 – Scotty Hopson commits to the Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have been with him the longest, and that evidently means something.

Months pass……

7.5.07 – Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis lists Hopson as “One to Know” saying that he really improved his status at the USA Basketball Festival.

7.6.07 – Mississippi State Basketball bloggers start coming up with nicknames for Hopson.

7.9.07 – Scotty refers to his commitment to Mississippi State as “pretty solid” according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Kentucky has been calling.

7.10.07 – Scotty Hop gets some props in Slam Magazine for impressive play at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Hopson also comes in at #19 on the Slam Fresh 50 – listing the top H.S. players from the class of ’08.

7.14.07 – Hopson tells Dawgbites.com: “Nothing has changed. I am looking forward to playing for Mississippi State.”

7.17.07 – When asked if Hopson would back out of his commitment to Miss. State, Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier Journal said this: “I honestly don’t believe he will. I think Scotty will sign in the fall with Mississippi State. I know several of his quotes have sounded iffy but after spending some time with him last week, I fully expect him to be playing in Starkville.”

7.24.07 – Quote collected by Arliss from UK message board: “He was booed at his own school, his mother has been approached about his poor decision making, and generally he has had to explain himself to everyone.”

8.2.07 – Rob Harrington of USA Today Ranks Hopson #18 in the country.

8.7.07 – Scotty Hopson is bumped up to the #9 H.S. prospect in the country by Rivals.com.

8.12.07 Hopson to Kentucky rumors increase….prep school at Oak Hill Academy is also a possibility.

8.14.07 – Hopson tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that he’s down with Mississippi State because, as he puts it, “I want to make it all the way to the pros. Mississippi State tells me they’re going to prepare me for that.”

8.15.07 – Van Coleman’s of CSTV ranks Hopson #13.

8.31.07Hopson remains #19 on Slam Fresh 50.

9.15.07 – Scotty Hopson wins the “most explosive leaper” contest on Rivals.com.

10.6.07 – Scotty Hopson visits Mississippi State.

10.27.07 – Scotty still intends on going to Mississippi State, but Kentucky is evidently making a strong push.

11.13.07 (early) – Hopson confirms with two different reporters that he will sign with the Bulldogs on the early period signing day, Friday November 16th.

11.13.07 (late) – Scotty changes his mind like a pregnant woman and tells two sources that he won’t sign early with anyone.

11.14.07 – Scotty is bumped up to #17 in the Slam rankings.

11.14.07 – Hopson blames family issues for being wishy-washy on the subject, but doesn’t rule out signing early.

11.15.07 – Louisville’s Rick Pitino says this: “There’s a young man that alledgedly decommited to a school yesterday and until I hear it from his mouth I won’t do anything. But when someone decommits and they are open for recruiting and he makes it public, then he is like any other recruit. But if someone is committed, we stay away from them.”

11.15.07 – Momma Hopson informs the media that Scotty will indeed sign on Friday despite what her son says. Evidently, the family decision was made unbeknownst to Lil’ Scotty.

11.16.07 – Momma Hopson turns a 180 and decides herself that her son will not sign early. Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Louisville start licking their chops.

11.17.07 – Bewildered Mississippi State fans keep hope alive for the spring signing period.

11.18.07 – Hopson plays a “passive” game at the Fast Lane Tip-Off Classic (17 points, seven rebounds, 4 blocks, an assist and 5 turnovers) and refuses to talk about college afterwards.

11.19.07 – Scotty Hopson is still “focused” on Mississippi State despite ever increasing pushing from Kentucky.

11.27.07 – Hopson drops 33 points, 10 boards, and 5 blocks in his regular season opener. Bruce Pearl was supposed to be at the game, but had to cancel because of the weather. Hopson had this to say about his recruitment: “I let my mom take care a lot of it because it does take a toll on me. I am just going to lay back and focus on basketball.” Uh.Oh.

11.30.07 – After dropping 32 points in a win, the Lexington Herald-Ledger reports from Hopson: “I’m still committed to Mississippi State,” Hopson said. “It’s firm. It’s firm enough.” Hopson’s Coach, Randy McCoy: “I still think there’s a chance he’ll go to Mississippi State, I think there’s a big chance he’ll go to Mississippi State.” Hopson’s mother, Jeannette Hopson: “We like Mississippi State. There’s nothing wrong with Mississippi State. We just want to make sure.” Billy Gillispie and assistants from Cincinnati and Louisville were in attendance.

12.26.07 – “After the game, Hopson tried to sneak away from a horde of media in the smaller gymnasium at Fairdale but was questioned by about 10 members of the media.”

1.11.08 – A video of Scotty Hopson’s skills – Louisville Courier-Journal. Kansas has also evidently entered into the Scotty Hopson sweepstakes, slightly.

1.16.08 – Scotty Hopson is bumped to #11 in the Slam Fresh 50.

1.18.08 – “Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati are still actively recruiting Hopson and Texas has also gotten involved. Rick Barnes coached former University Heights star Greg Buckner and is trying to use that connection to get into the Hopson sweepstakes. Mississippi State still can’t be totally discounted, but it’s unlikely he’ll end up in Starkville.” [Jody Demling]

1.31.08 – Jody Demling, Louisville Courier-Journal: “As best as I can tell, Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati are three schools that appear to be near the front of the pack. According to multiple sources around the situation, Hopson still hasn’t heard from the University of Kentucky in a while.”

2.1.08 – Mississippi State, Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati are at the top of Scotty’s list. Kentucky is suspiciously absent. Cincinnati Inquirer.

2.1.08 – “Scotty Hop” as he has dubbed himself tells the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey that Mississippi State is #1 while getting down to some music on the way to a game. Later that night, Scotty Hop scores 28 points and snags 8 rebounds in another win. After the game, he informs the world that he’s on the “market.”

2.2.08 – Mississippi State plays Tennessee in Starkville. UT led by 17 with just under 8 minutes left in the game. The Bulldogs made a furious comeback, but fell short in the end 76-71. Dig yourself a hole, and……

2.4.08 – Billy Gillispie, the head coach of Kentucky, watches Scotty Hop score 20.

2.11.08 – Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier-Journal: “All I’m saying is that Scotty Hopson has been open for some time. In fact, I haven’t heard a beep about or even heard about any Mississippi State sightings at any of his games.”

2.14.08 – Rumors are flying — Hopson’s mother denies that Billy Gillispie has come calling, but she has spoken with a UK assistant. From her comments to the Louisville Courier-Journal, it doesn’t seem like Gillispie is too interested in Hopson: “The bottom line is on Monday night an assistant called me and said Gillispie was going to call me on Tuesday, but there was no call,” the mother said. “Another coach called (Tuesday) afternoon and said he would call before the game and there was no call. Then they called and said he was going to show up at school on Wednesday on way back from the game. But I guess after they got beat so bad, (by Vanderbilt) he wanted to get back home. I have seen him three times (this season) and not one time has he come up and said anything. We haven’t had any contact with him.”

2.19.08 – Hopson is named to the McDonald’s All-American team.

2.21.08 – Scotty Hopson is named to the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star game, to be played at Madison Square Garden in NYC on April 19th.

2.22.08 – Hopson tears up the court in his final home game, scoring 37 points in front of the entire Mississippi State coaching staff, UK’s Billy Gillispie and assistants from Tennessee and Cincinnati.

2.26.08 – Scotty Hopson opens post-season play with 35 points in a win, 31 coming in the 2nd half.

3.4.08 – Hopson is one of 10 players named to the USA Basketball Junior National team.

3.6.08 – Scotty Hop sinks 22 points, 8 boards and 5 blocks in front of a Billy Gillispie and Bruce Pearl, an assistant from Texas is also in attendance.

3.11.08 – Rick Stansbury and Bruce Pearl watch Hopson score 31 points and nab 10 rebounds in a University Heights win over Henderson County. Hopson’s team, University Heights, moves into the Kentucky Second Region final.

3.12.08 – Mississippi State coaches travel to Madisonville, Kentucky to watch Scotty play live.

3.14.08 – Rumors say that Kentucky and Cincinnati are not in Scotty Hopson’s picture. [Courier-Journal]

3.17.08 – “The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches released the Player of the Year winners for the 16 regions across the state on Monday. The state’s first McDonald’s All-American to finish his career in Kentucky since 1993 (when Male’s Jason Osborne won) is not on the list. Yes, University Heights All-American Scotty Hopson wasn’t picked as the Second Region’s top senior.” [Jody Demling – Louisville Courier-Journal]

3.19.08 – Scotty Hopson’s team loses in the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, the last high school game of his career.

3.24.08 – Scotty Hop finishes 3rd in the Powerade JamFest Slam Dunk contest at the McDonald’s All-American Game in Milwaukee.

3.26.08 – Scotty Hopson tells Kyle Veazey that he will take more visits, but is still high on Mississippi State.

3.26.08 – Hopson scores 10 points in the McDonald’s All-American game, impressing with 8 in the first half. The leaders for Hopson seem to be Miss. State and Tennessee with Kentucky and Texas trailing closely and Louisville, possibly Georgia in the mix. (Courier-Journal)

3.28.08 – Slam’s Report on Hopson in the McDonald’s Game: “Another monster athlete, who happens to be the best player in the nation who hasn’t chosen what school he’ll attend next year, Hopson excels in these types of environments. He didn’t disappoint Wednesday, using his smooth moves to get to the rack with ease.”

4.1.08 – April Fools? Shortly after a visit to Knoxville, Scotty makes that “non-binding oral” commitment to the University of Tennessee before UK’s Billy Gillispie can visit him. “My momma gave me her consent (to commit),” said Hopson. “I really wasn’t sure before I went on the visit,” Hopson said. “But I had always had a good feeling about Tennessee.”

“I felt there were two (frontrunners) in Mississippi State and Tennessee,” said Hopson’s high school coach, Randy McCoy. “But it came down to distance and it came down to him wanting to play right now.” [Louisville Courier Journal]

4.1.08 – Kyle Veazey speaks with Scotty Hop: “Why not Tennessee? There’s a big tradition here, plus I know coming in here at the program I’ve got a good chance of coming in at the starting two-guard because Chris Lofton’s leaving.”“It just seemed like I could have more success here,” said Hopson, who wants to be a one-and-done. “We’re going to have the top RPI next year in schedule play so I know we’re going to have a lot of ESPN games, CBS games, things like that.”“I don’t just commit to a school without signing,” he said. “I’m going to sign.”

4.2.08 – Scotty Hopson was named to the Parade All-American 2nd team.

4.4.08 – To be continued…..


Posted in basketball recruiting, bruce pearl, mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, scotty hopson, sec basketball, tennessee volunteers | 1 Comment »

Will he stay or will he go? Jamont Gordon and Mississippi State

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 29, 2008

After completing his junior year with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the question at hand is will Jamont Gordon enter the NBA draft? Gordon flirted with the NBA draft last year, declaring on April 27th before withdrawing his name 3 days later.

His quick accolades: 1st Team All-SEC (unanimous selection along with Vanderbilt’s Shan Foster); 2nd Team All-American, Rivals.com.

As expected, Gordon was asked the question on the podium immediately after MSU’s 2nd round loss to the Memphis Tigers. His response: “I’m not sure yet. I’m going to look into it and look at everything and see how everything goes for me and then I’ll make my decision.” [Kyle Veazey’s Blog – Clarion-Ledger]

Gregg Ellis, who covers Mississippi State for the NE Miss. Daily Journal is split down the middle, giving Gordon’s return a 50/50 chance.

Should he stay or should he go? [blog post by Gregg Ellis, Inside Miss. State Sports] Most commentors thought that Jamont should return to college, here are a couple interesting thoughts:

buzzardroostus: I don’t think he’s ready, but I hope he goes. With Gordon it’s been feast or famine for the bulldogs. He’s so out of control at times and totally inconsistent in all aspects of the game. He’ll never be a point guard in the NBA, and probably wouldn’t be at any other NCAA school.

dawgbones: Stansbury will tell an agent that Jamont is not going to get better in college than he is now. What you see now is what you will get next spring. In my opinion Jamont will be playing elsewhere next year, probably in an European league.

Bulldog Coach Rick Stansbury had this to say immediately after the Memphis game: “If you can be a first-rounder, it’s best to take that jump” [MSU-Memphis notebook, NE Miss. Daily Journal]

Ok, so before we can answer the main question, let’s answer this precursory inquiry…..IS Jamont Gordon a 1st round NBA draft pick? Well, let’s see how the internet answers that question (much info thanks to the DC Pro Sports Report NBA Mock Draft Database).

  • Right now, ESPN.com has Jamont as “second round to undrafted”
  • DraftExpress.comJamont Gordon, pick #44, 2nd round (to Seattle where he would replicate Damien Wilkins); Charles Rhodes not listed.
  • TheSportsBank.com – Jamont Gordon to New Orleans with 1st round pick #28 — Jamont is compared to Ronald “Flip” Murray.
  • HoopsWorld.com – Jamont Gordon, pick #40, 2nd round (to Sacramento to learn from Ron Artest); Charles Rhodes not listed.
  • RealGM.com – Gordon is listed going in the 2nd round at #35 to the Knicks (poor Jamont!); Rhodes is not listed and get this, Jarvis Varnado is listed at #57 to the Spurs — don’t think he’s entering the draft this year folks.
  • BestProPicks.com – Wow! Jamont Gordon again listed in the first round, pick #23 to play with Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets. (*note, if the draft was today, New Orleans would not have the 23rd pick) Of course, I’m not sure I trust this assessment: “Give Chris Paulanother weapon. Hornets would be get fit for Gordon, who can light it up from anywhere on the court. Undersized frame might prevent someone from taking him in first round.”
  • CollegeHoops.net – Jamont listed in the 2nd round at #37 overall (to the Bucks); Charles Rhodes is not listed among the next 25 (top 85).
  • NBADraftPress.com – Jamont can’t avoid the Knicks at pick #35 in the 2nd round. No Rhodes.
  • NBADraft.net – Lists Jamont Gordon as a 2nd round pick, #41 to New Jersey……in 2009. So, evidently, going back to school won’t help Jamont. Rhodes is MIA.
  • HoopsAddict.com – Lists Jamont Gordon as an “on the cusp” first rounder.

Round 1 Only Mock Drafts Where Neither Gordon Nor Rhodes Appear:

The Final Word (for now):
What we know is that we don’t know. I welcome Jamont Gordon to go through the “process” as does Rick Stansbury. Since Jamont removed his name before the deadline last year, he can officially enter the draft and truly test the waters this year. Of course, most agents will be in Gordon’s ear offering him money and telling him that he can’t really show his stuff to pro scouts unless he has representation.

I really don’t think Jamont Gordon, in pre-draft workouts, will put on a display which will “wow” scouts into changing their opinion about his game. All the mock draft composers are far from experts, but they sure are good for forecasting. Bulldog fans in Starkville and around the country can only hope that Jamont doesn’t hire an agent, or at least doesn’t get caught with illegally contacting one.

You have to ask two questions:
Will Jamont hurt his draft status by returning to school? I highly doubt it. Gordon has unquestionable talent, it’s only a matter of refining his skills and fundamentals. Yes, it would be great for him to do so while riding an NBA bench and learning a system, the ropes. Unfortunately, at this point, Jamont would not be receiving guaranteed money and would likely be toiling around the NBDL or Europe for his next chance at the league.

The other question, will Jamont Gordon help his status by returning to Mississippi State? I say yes. He already has the physicality to compete in the NBA. However, Gordon would greatly benefit from improving point guard skills and jump shooting on the college level. Plus, if the Bulldogs are once again a good team, Jamont will receive even more media attention which could propel him into a higher NBA salary bracket. A Mississippi State NCAA Tournament run in 2009 would be the icing on the bank account.

Back to school it is!….here goes nuthin’

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, rick stansbury, sec basketball | 2 Comments »

Total Game Preview: Mississippi State vs. Oregon

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 21, 2008

Everyone is worried about a bunch of quacks, including myself. Oregon can fire the rock…to the tune of 40.1% from 3-point territory on the year, knocking down 8.7 per game. Big man center, Maarty Leunen, who hoisted 114 threes this season, making 50.9%, is on the chalk-talk from Eugene to Starkville. The remaining Duck starters combined to shoot 38.8% from long distance. The Bulldogs as a team only mustered up 34.1% from beyond the arc, yet they only attempted 7.2% less three-pointers than this gunning Oregon squad.

The point is, 39% of Oregon’s shot attempts are 3 pointers. Can you guess what that percentage is for Mississippi State, a team with an interior offensive presence which is described as being “rough and tumble,” especially when it comes to defense and rebounding? 36.8%. More than a third of the Bulldogs’ shots are 3 pointers. Why does the difference between these two teams seem so little? I’m certainly baffled, but the conclusion is simple: Mississippi State can’t afford to get in a shooting contest against the Oregon Ducks, because……well, the Bulldogs can’t really shoot.

Meet the Press:

OK, so how does one go about predicting this game?

I almost spit up my [insert what you might be drinking here] when I read the Dawgs-Ducks game preview on the Sporting News:

Defense usually prevails in postseason, and that would lead one to pick Mississippi State. But the Ducks played in the nation’s toughest conference this season and are more tested. Don’t expect Oregon to get the score into the 90s, but it should be able to impose its will.

The Crap-10 is the nation’s toughest conference? Are you kidding me? First of all, the Pac-10 is #2 in conference RPI, ACC is 1, SEC is 4. Another fact: those are just numbers. I know it’s a down year for the SEC, but the Pac-10 will never, repeat, never be “tougher” than the SEC, much less the best in the nation. That’s why I never read the Sporting News anyway.


Joe Lunardi, Bracketologist, M.D., ranks the tourney participants 1-64. Mississippi State is #30, Oregon is #45.

Accuscore on ESPN gives Mississippi State a 53% and Oregon a 47%, and predicts the score: 71.9 to 70.6 in favor of the Bulldogs.

Pat Forde says the “best case scenario” for the Bulldogs is to beat Oregon and push Memphis to the limit before losing. The worst? Stans catches heat for another early exit and Jamont Gordon hires an agent, gets a new car, and never makes it back to Starkvegas (a paraphrase).

CBS Sportsline “Expert” Picks:

Gary Parrish, Senior Writer – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Gregg Doyel, National Columnist – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Michael Freeman, National Columnist – Oregon Wins.
Dennis Dodd, Senior Writer – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Brian De Los Santos, College Producer – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Pete Gillen, CBS College Sports Analyst – Oregon Wins.
Steve Lappas, CBS College Sports Analyst – Oregon Wins.

But most importantly, Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D.) picked the Dawgs to beat the Ducks. Aren’t you excited?

The Rivals.com experts have picked Mississippi State across the board.

However, both Bill Simmons and his wife are picking Oregon.

ESPN.com Bracket Caster

Back to ESPN……no joke, my first and only run at the ESPN Bracket Caster for the South Region produced this result (click thumbnail to the right to see the results):



What worries me the most about this game is not en fuego Oregon 3-point shooting; it’s the Bulldogs themselves. One can only hope that they don’t shoot themselves in the foot (no pun intended) with careless turnovers and missed free-throws. Mississippi State averaged 15.5 turnovers per game and shot 63.5% from the line this season. But it’s not like Oregon takes care of the ball and their business at the charity stripe either. They committed about 12.7 tos per and shot 68.9% on freebies.

The Oregon Ducks are small, and they are not known to be a good defensive team. I certainly see them packing in a zone against the Dawgs, usually not a good sign for MSU. But this game will be won on the boards and the vertically challenged Ducks will have a hard time keeping Mississippi State away from the offensive glass in their zone defense.

In contrast, the gritty Bulldog D will be able to extend their man defense out to the 3-point line as Jarvis “Swat” Varnado will allow them to do so. The guy Varnado will probably guard is Joevan Catron, the 4 that’s really a 3 in Oregon’s three guard offense. Catron is only 6’6″, but is not known to knock down the trey as he’s only 5-13 from deep this year.

So, as the cliché goes: defensive teams are set-up to do well in the NCAA tournament. This game will be no exception. Oregon will not get hot because they will not get many open looks or second chances. The Bulldogs will overcome their own mistakes to move on to the second round.

Mississippi State 76 – Oregon 68

Other News Items:

Posted in jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa tournament, oregon ducks, rick stansbury, sec basketball | 1 Comment »