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Archive for the ‘sec basketball’ 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.
seattlepi.com

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:

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

Looking Back at Arkansas, Getting Ready for Bama

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 14, 2009

Great opening SEC for the Dawgs against Arkansas last Saturday. MSU still got beat on the boards by the Razorbacks, 42-38, but that’s far from getting dominated….although, 17 Arkansas offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points doesn’t thrill.

However, as long as Mississippi State is shooting 11-27 from deep (40.7%) and running with four quick guards, outscoring the Hogs 15-0 in fast break points, I suppose they can more than compensate for getting beat on the glass (I bet it still irks Stansbury though…him being a big rebounding guy).

I didn’t get a chance to watch the game, (I was attending a Wizards game in Washington, DC and following game updates on my blackberry), but my father did, and he provided me with a couple bullet points on the game:

  • Some people say you can’t live on 3-pointers but Kentucky won a national title shooting the three.
  • Kodi Augustus and Elgin Bailey got some decent minutes, but Brian Johnson was a DNP after going into the stands in the final minute against WKU.
  • Low turnovers – maybe the small line-up will work and is coming together although it goes against the grain for SEC play – let’s hope they are growing up.

Good luck to the Dawgs tonight against the Tide.

MSU-Arkansas Links

[Inside Mississippi State Sports]
The buzz word after Mississippi State’s 70-56 win at Arkansas was “poise,” because the young Bulldogs showed plenty of it. For a team so lacking in senior leadership, it was mildly surprising to see them not get rattled at Bud Walton Arena. Dee Bost, the freshman point guard, was indeed calm and collected en route to his 17-point performance, and his improved play has been key in MSU’s recent surge.

[Clarion-Ledger “The Blog”]
Dee Bost’s performance tonight at point guard was spectacular. The guy scored 17, including 13 in the second half. He had three 3-pointers. He played tight defense on Courtney Fortson — even following him over to John Pelphrey when the Arkansas coach called his guard over during a free throw.

“I’ve brought a lot more experienced teams up here than this team, a lot bigger teams. But I don’t think I’ve ever brought a team up in here that played in this building and kept their composure for 40 minutes like this team did.” -Rick Stansbury

[Razorback Central]
Bud Walton Arena started to empty out with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left on the clock Saturday night. A few seconds later, the scene on the Arkansas bench revealed how truly devastating the Razorbacks’ 70-56 loss to Mississippi State felt. Michael Washington sulked in his chair, a towel hanging from his mouth. Courtney Fortson buried his head in his hands. Michael Sanchez stood in shock, his hands propped on top of his head.

From Alabama

[TimesDaily.com]
Wednesday’s matchup (7 p.m.) in Humphrey Coliseum features two teams with contrasting styles. In the past, Mississippi State has been an inside, power-type team but coach Rick Stansbury is now using a four-guard offense bolstered by Jarvis Varnardo in the paint. Alabama features one of the strongest front courts in the league with freshman JaMychael Green, sophomore Justin Knox and juniors Yamene Coleman and Michael Jemison, all of whom are 6-foot-7 or taller.

[montgomeryadvertiser.com]
Perceptions are often reached based on predictions or expectations and Stansbury remains fearful that his four-guard attack will be exposed in tonight’s meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs.

On Dee Bost

[NE Miss. Daily Journal]
When Bost came to an MSU camp in June of 2007, Stansbury immediately put the ball in his hands and told him to run the point. Bost inwardly questioned the wisdom of such a move. At Concord, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder played the four position.  His brother ran the point, and Bost had no ambitions of assuming that role at the next level. However, he quickly took to the role.

[Clarion-Ledger]
Bost, now Mississippi State’s starting point guard, was named the Southeastern Conference’s freshman of the week……..The award for Bost, now known as just “Dee,” came on the heels of his 35 points in State’s two games last week, wins over Western Kentucky and Arkansas. But in that 80-minute span, his greatest contribution was in the final 20 minutes at Arkansas. He scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, including three momentum-changing 3-pointers and lock-down defense on Arkansas guard Courtney Fortson, to help cement his cause as one of the league’s emerging young guards.

“I was surprised because I wasn’t thinking about getting an award. I just went out there and played. More importantly, we got the win, and that’s all that matters.” –Dee Bost

Posted in alabama crimson tide, arkansas razorbacks, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

MSU Bulldogs Dominate WKU Hilltoppers With The Long Ball

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 6, 2009

Well, live and die by the three it is…..and the Mississippi State Bulldogs are riding a crest in the 3-point economy.

How much so? Well, the Bulldogs set a team record last night against Western Kentucky for most three-pointers made in a game with 14.

So long to the Hilltoppers and their falling RPI (now at 54), and hello to the momentum building Mississippi State Bulldogs whose RPI has “risen” to 142. That Strength of Schedule is still at 171…..yikes!….I knew that despite the politicking of Rick Stansbury, this year’s schedule was way below par.

[All of this RPI stuff according to this site: RealTimeRPI.com]

Key Game Stats [Box Score]:

  • Offensive Rebounds: WKU 16 – MSU 5
  • 2nd Chance Points: WKU 16 – MSU 4
  • Fast Break Points: WKU 10 – MSU 6

Look, I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but this Bulldog team will NOT fare well come SEC time being deficient in the categories above, especially the first two. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, second chance points are a killer. Living and dying by the trey ball is one thing, but once you depend on the land beyond the arc, a flat-line will be inevitable at some point.

Game Stories:

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

Bulldogs Rebound for Solid Win Against Houston Cougars

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 3, 2009

First of all, apologies to anyone out there who has been a reader of this blog and has wondered why there has been no posting in over a month. I’m obviously not dead and I’m definitely not abandoning Bulldog Maroon & White. Busy turned into procrastination turned into neglect. But I still love Mississippi State basketball and that passion will keep me writing about the program in whatever capacity I can manage. So, with a nice win for the Bulldogs today, one that I got to watch with my father, there couldn’t be a better time to pick things back up.

So admittedly, with the lack of posting, I’ve only kept up with the Bulldog basketball team in passing recently…..something I hope to change in the ’09.

Losses to Washington State and Texas Tech were understandable, a loss to Charlotte at home was unacceptable, a loss to Cincinnati was embarrassing, and an overtime loss at home to San Diego was a disgrace. But overall, even with a weak schedule, Bulldog fans should not be all that surprised at the current 9-5 record, but should be allowed to be disappointed.

What’s done is done, we all knew we had a young team coming into the season; Stansbury sold us this fact like a desperate Willy Loman. But from here on out, it’s all about how this team grows together, and the framework for potential is evident.

As I understand it, this new four guard lineup has expanded scoring opportunities for Jarvis Varnado, but has left me a skeptic as to how the Bulldogs will fare with the gimmick come SEC time.

For one, many times it forces all five Bulldogs on the court to go for defensive rebounds, and understandably so…..allowing the opponent second chances can be a game killer. However, with all that quickness on the court, MSU cannot get out and run as much with everyone hitting the glass. Trouble with four guards and rebounding was especially evident in the first half against Houston. The game plan of Tom Penders was obviously to have his Cougars to be aggressive on the offensive boards, and it worked. Houston killed Mississippi State to the tune of 16-6 in the first half alone.

However, with Houston missing so many shots, there will clearly be more chances for them to secure offensive rebounds. By my count, the Cougars went 4-24 from the field in the last 10 minutes of the first half.

But in the second half, the Bulldogs did a much better job at securing defensive boards, as Houston continued to be ice cold from the field. Long rebounds allowed the Bulldog guards to run. In the process, the played relatively under control, shared the ball, and did a great job at getting the ball into the post within the first look of the offensive set.

Sharing is caring and 18 assists on 30 Bulldog field goals meant a day of Bulldog domination and reconciliation from a loss to the San Diego Toreros.

Romero Osby

Before all is said and done, Romero Osby will be considered the best player on the court for the Bulldogs (if this isn’t already the case). He can obviously step out and hit the three, but rarely neglects to mix it up in the paint. He rebounds, he takes charges, and he’s down to run (definitely more than Jarvis Varnado). Obsy could stand to work on his left hand a bit, but when conference play begins, he will surely make the case for Rick Stansbury to shy away from the 4-guard lineup as Osby is the perfect PF.

Living & Dying by the Three

Overall, this may be the best outside shooting team that Rick Stansbury has had in his tenure as head honcho…..perhaps more of a reason to set up shop and do some livin’ from long distance. However, for consistent winning efforts in the future, that living needs to be worked from the inside out and not the opposite.

In the first half, the Dawgs did a lot of gunning, and luckily, they were on, hitting 7 of 17 threes attempted (41.2%). The pace slowed down in the second half as the Dawgs only went 4-8 from deep. In addition to Osby, Elgin Bailey and Brian Johnson both did a great job of taking up space down low. Let’s hope they keep on their painter’s cap and maintain the tough work under the rim.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, romero osby, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Better Bulldog Shot-Blocker: Jarvis Varnado or Erick Dampier? A Statistical Analysis

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 25, 2008


At face value, the answer is simple. Having surpassed Erick Dampier’s all-time Mississippi State record of 249 career blocked shots this past Saturday, Jarvis Varnado is clearly more prolific at sending the ball back from where it came. Even more amazing is that Varnado needed 20 less games than Dampier to amass his current career total of 255 blocks.

But totals are one thing, is Jarvis Varnado a better shot blocker than Erick Dampier? The stats point to yes.

Per game statistics don’t tell the whole story as they don’t always indicate how a player performs with the minutes he is given. Dampier averaged 2.7 blocks per game for his career. So far, Varnado is swatting 3.5 per game.

Part of the deeper tale is how many blocks a player is getting in his minutes on the court. For his career, Dampier averaged 28.4 minutes per game. So far, Varnado is clocking in at 21.1 per. To even the playing field, let’s compare how many blocks each player swatted per 25 minutes on the court in each of their first three years.

Full Raw Data Spreadsheet

As you can see, while Dampier remained a consistent shot blocker throughout his three-year career (a 2.36 blocks per 25 minutes average), Varnado is improving his rate. Of course, the 08-09 sample is small as Varnado has only played four games against inferior competition. However, Jarvis’ rate increased 14.5% between his freshman and sophomore years, while Dampier’s went down 4.6%.

What percentage of opponent shots are blocked?

If the opponent is shooting more shots, then there are more opportunities for blocks. Part of assessing the shot blocking prowess of Dampier and Varnado is looking at what percentage of opponent field-goal attempts end up being blocked by those individual players. However, it’s hard to directly compare because Varnado only averaged 13.5 minutes per game his freshman year while Dampier averaged 23.4 minutes per game in his first season at Mississippi State.

I don’t have a way of measuring exactly how many shots were taken while Varnado and Dampier were on the court. I’m sure those in-depth statistics are kept by someone, but they are not available to me. So, for each respective season, I’ll adjust total opponent field goal attempts to match the ratio of each player’s average minutes to the full 40 minutes of a college basketball game. It’s an imperfect statistic, but it better compares the percentage of opponent attempts blocked when the players are averaging different amounts of minutes per game.

If you want to better understand, you can check the full data here. Similar to blocks per 25 minutes, Dampier’s numbers remain relatively flat throughout his career. I won’t necessarily discuss this current year for Varnado since, as mentioned, the sample size is so small. Dampier blocked about 6% of opponent shot attempts adjusted to his time on the court (6.13% career average). Varnado, in contrast, has sent back more than one out of every 10 opponent field-goal attempts adjusted for his time on the court (10.67% career average).

Block, but don’t foul.

Blocking shots is an art. A player must have discipline and cannot go after every shot that comes his way or he’ll be spending time on the bench, unavailable to help his team. So, an obvious comparison would be to look at how many shots a player blocks against how many fouls he is committing.

Raw Spreadsheet Data

Both players have similar blocks-per-foul ratios for their first seasons (Dampier – 0.79, Varnado – 0.91). However, in year two, when both players averaged similar minutes per game (Dampier 28.4, Varnado – 28.5), and when both players committed 99 fouls on the season, Varnado swatted 79 more shots than Big Damp.

SEC Record Book

Last year, Jarvis Varnado tied Shaquille O’Neal for most blocks by an SEC player in a season with 157, albeit O’Neal accomplished that number in four less games.

SEC Record Book [PDF]

Currently, with 255, Varnado ranks 9th on the SEC’s list for most career blocks:

  1. Shaquille O’Neal, LSU (90-92) – 412
  2. Kyle Davis, Auburn (01-04) – 360
  3. Lavon Mercer, Georgia (77-80) – 327
  4. Steven Hill, Arkansas (05-08) – 318
  5. Robert Horry, Alabama (89-92) – 285
  6. Dwayne Schintzius, Florida (86-90) – 272
  7. Jamaal Magloire, Kentucky (97-00) – 268
  8. Roy Rogers, Alabama (93-96) – 266

Will Varnado finish his career as the SEC’s all-time leader in shots blocked? Undoubtedly. For one, I simply cannot see Varnado jumping to the NBA after this season. If he were three inches taller, maybe. But the kid is still skinny and his offensive game has a long way to go. Of course, that’s not to say he can’t be in the league as a hustling, defending big who runs the floor like a gazelle, yet with not much offensive game to speak of. However, NBA players have the strength and know-how to avoid getting their shot blocked, so Varnado would be much better prepared for the next level with four full years of college seasoning.

If Varnado repeats his sophomore block amount of 157 in each of these next two seasons (which would total 538 career blocks), he’d not only shatter the SEC career record, but would also break the NCAA Division I career shots blocked record. (The list: Wojciech Mydra, Louisiana Monroe: 1998-2002 – 535; Adonal Foyle, Colgate: 1994-97 – 492; Tim Duncan, Wake Forest: 1993-97 – 481; Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown: 1988-92 – 453; Ken Johnson, Ohio State: 1997-2001 – 444).

With 19.7% of last year’s total through only four games, Varnado is well on his way to breaking more records. No, he won’t continue to face the North Alabamas and Fairleigh Dickinsons of the world, but I imagine that Varnado’s minutes, currently 24.5 per game (down 4 minutes from last year), will increase as the competition increases.

Either way, don’t blink Mississippi State fans, you may be watching the best shot blocker in college basketball history, much less Mississippi State school history.

Other Notes:

Varnado was also named the SEC player of the week, here are the media coverage links:

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, erick dampier, jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Recruiting Good News: A Shot of Shaunessy

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 20, 2008

Following the bad recruiting news…..

In state product, Shaunessy Smith, has made good on his verbal commitment to Mississippi State and signed binding scholarship papers to play for the Bulldogs on Wednesday. Rick Stansbury’s recruiting prowess beat out the likes of Clemson, Baylor, and Southern Cal for the services of Smith.

Well….not so fast my friend. Former Bulldog basketballer, T.J. “Brown” Billups, is Shaunessy’s coach at Noxubee County. Former Bulldog great (coach and player), Greg Carter, already let Travis Outlaw get away to the NBA (Carter coached Outlaw at Starkville High). I would have had to let T.J. know if he let Shaunessy get away from playing at The Hump. Just kidding, T.J. and I go back from our college days. He was one of the nicest guys to ever pick up a basketball for the Bulldogs.

You can read more on Shaunessy in a previous Bulldog Maroon & White post, MSU Bulldog Basketball Gets A Commit From Shaunessy Smith.

Other Suggested Reading:

Posted in basketball recruiting, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, shaunessy smith, starkville | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Recruiting Bad News: Tiny Gallon Boomer Sooner

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 20, 2008

About three weeks ago, I wondered if Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury had a chance at the 21st rated prospect in the nation (3rd among centers), Keith “Tiny” Gallon. For a while, the Bulldogs seemed to be high on Gallon’s final list of schools with Stansbury supposedly having the inside track on signing the kid to suit up in Maroon & White. However, rumors circulating within the past couple of months indicated that Coach Stans was losing out on a prized recruit. Today, those rumors were confirmed.

The Oklahoman reported that yesterday, Gallon officially became an Oklahoma Sooner. There are a variety of reasons as to why the Bulldogs lost out: Gallon’s high school teammate has already signed with the Sooners, current sooner big man, Blake Griffin, will probably be departing for the NBA after this season, and the Bulldogs, aside from Brian Johnson, should have three big men returning next season with significant roles, Jarvis Varnado, Elgin Bailey and Romero Osby. But none of that matters now. Mississippi State has lost out on recruits before, and the Bulldogs have caused other schools to lose out on recruits in turn. All the program can do is move on.

But there is good news……

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

MSU Bulldogs Not Very Courteous To Gents, Down Centenary 77-55

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 16, 2008

Yesterday’s season opener against the Centenary Gents went just about as expected for Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury. The Bulldogs led from start to finish, blowing out their Summit League opponent by 22 points.

Coach Stansbury got to empty his bench, see his team play aggressive defense against an inferior opponent, and  was able to observe the Bulldogs against the 1-3-1 zone defense that Centenary often plays. Stansbury’s teams have traditionally struggled with zone offense, but with shooters like Dee Bost, Barry Stewart, and Ravern Johnson, who were a combined 9-16 from deep, the rest is elementary.

Hopefully the win against Centenary will help the Bulldogs forget about a close-call against Oklahoma City, the defending NAIA champion, a week earlier. OKC hit a shot to go up 60-48 with 5:58 left in the 2nd half, after which the Bulldogs went on a 19-5 run to win the game, 67-65. Jamarcus Ellis, who led Oklahoma City with 26 points, had a chance to win at the buzzer, but came up short.

The Bulldogs still must overcome an injury to big man Brian Johnson, who severely sprained his ankle in practice on Tuesday, November 11th and is scheduled to be out 2-4 weeks.  Next up for the Bulldogs, three home games in the next six days: Louisiana-Monroe on Monday, North Alabama on Wednesday, and Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday.

Stat Analysis [Box Score]

  • Barry Stewart negated his four steals with four turnovers.
  • First Game Jitters: The two teams combined to shoot 18-61 from the field in the 1st half. In the second half, they combined for 29-62.
  • In 16 minutes off the bench, Elgin Bailey took a team leading 11 shots, making four and finishing with 10 points.
  • The 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the Bulldogs is not ideal (17 in both categories), but I suppose when you consider that MSU finished with 448 assists to 509 turnovers in 07-08, you can call it progress.
  • Even though Mississippi State out-rebounded Centenary 46-38, they allowed the Gents to get 14 offensive boards — for a team the size of Centenary, that’s way too much.

Did You Know? – Centenary Facts

  • The College of Louisiana, located in Jackson, LA, and Centenary College, located in Clinton, Mississippi, merged to form the Centenary College of Louisiana in 1845.
  • The campus moved from Jackson, LA to its present day location of Shreveport, LA in 1908.
  • Newsweek named Centenary the “Hottest Liberal Arts School You Never Heard Of” in 2007.
  • Centenary is the smallest D1 school in the U.S.
  • You should know the most famous Centenary basketball alum, NBA Hall-of-Famer, Robert Parish. In his four years as a Gent, Parish played in 108 games, scored 2,334 points (21.6 per game), and grabbed 1,820 rebounds (16.9 per game). Parish still holds Centenary basketball records for most points in a game (50), most rebounds in a game (33), in a season (505), and in a career (1820), among other records. During Parish’s four years in Shreveport, the Gents posted a record of 87-21.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldogs Hold Strong in Opening Exhibition Basketball Game

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 2, 2008

TCOB….“Taking Care of Business”….that’s what the Mississippi State Bulldogs did in their opening exhibition match against the DII Montevallo Falcons. In 2007, the Falcons were champions of the Gulf South Conference, and made it to the DII Elite Eight. On Saturday, the Bulldogs held the Falcons to 32.4% shooting en route to an 88-59 win.

Didn’t see the game, but here’s what I learned from the boxscore:

  • The Bulldog offense started out slow shooting 36.1% in the first half, and ideally, you’d like MSU to put up more than 88 points against a DII opponent……but all that’s okay. With a mix of fresh faces, and a new PG trying to get acclimated to running the offense, the development won’t be instant gratification.
  • Speaking of that point guard, Dee Bost couldn’t find the range from outside, going 1-5 from deep, but I’d much rather see that 7 assists to only 3 turnovers in his stat line. Bost played a team high 32 minutes.
  • Ravern Johnson led the Dawgs in scoring with 19, and took the most shots, 14 attempts, making 8. It’s looking more and more like he will be the safe bet to be Mississippi State’s leading scorer this year.
  • Barry Stewart filled up the stat sheet in good ways (10 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds, a block and a steal), and bad (3 turnovers, 4 fouls). I believe that if Barry Stewart accepts the role of Robin to Ravern Johnson’s Batman, the two will form one of the more dangerous scoring duos in the SEC. I hope to see Stewart hitting a lot of spot up jumpers created by Bost and Johnson.
  • Jarvis Varnado had a very strong game — 17 points (7-9 shooting), 12 boards, 8 blocks, 4 assists, 1 turnover — those last two categories being the most remarkable.
  • Perhaps freshman big man, Romero Osby, was just as impressive with a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) in only 13 minutes on the court.

News Quotables:

[MSU rolls past Montevallo for hoops win – NE Mississippi Daily Journal]

Stansbury was especially pleased with his team’s unselfish play. The Bulldogs had assists on 23 of their 32 field goals. “I think the thing that was most pleasing to me was, we shared that basketball,” he said. “I thought that basketball flowed through a lot of people.”

[Rick Stansbury Post Game Quotes MStateAthletics.com]

  • “[Jarvis Varnado] is special in his ability to pass out of the paint. If people double team him it is okay to throw it in there. It is not like a black hole, once it goes in it does not go out.”
    In other words, Varnado is not like Robert Jackson….or Mario Austin….or Lawrence Roberts….or Charles Rhodes. Nothing against those guys, but a big man more willing to pass is refreshing.
  • “Number one [Romero Osby] plays hard and he is very active. He goes after the boards every time a shot goes up.”
  • In reference to Dee Bost: “If I were a player I would be smiling, because all you have to do is run if you want to score. I should never as a coach, tell you to sprint, because if you want that basketball all you got to do is run hard.”
  • “I like our ability to share the basketball and the chemistry we are working with. Brian Johnson did a good job establishing his presence tonight as well.”

For other thoughts, check out the comment section on this post at bullybasketball.blogspot.

Next up: Exhibition #2 against Oklahoma City in Starkville on Saturday, November 8th.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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 »

Bulldog Basketball Roundup: Intrasquad Scrimmage

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 31, 2008

Ok, work has been crazy, the NBA season has started, my Washington Redskins are garnering a lot of attention, etc., etc….I just haven’t had the chance to keep up with MSU basketball this week. So, it’s time for an exercise……an exercise in Bulldog-related internet postings.

The topic: last Saturday’s scrimmage. It’s always hard to judge the stats put out after a scrimmage. Coach Rick Stansbury has traditionally run a lot of situational scenarios. But we must remember, the scrimmage is more for team development and not the fans….they’re just allowed to watch.

So, while the official MStateAthletics.com story relates that there were two 20-minute scrimmages followed by an 8-minute game, you’ll surely be curious as to how Dee Bost, when looking at the “official” box score, played 55 minutes for the white team.

So, the sensible thing to do would be to check out coverage of those who actually attended the scrimmage…..the highlights:

The MSM mavens of the Clarion-Ledger and NE Miss. Daily Journal could not stay the whole time as preparations for the football game took precedent The consensus seems to be that Ravern Johnson has a diverse offensive game…..not only can he slash to the basket, but the kid has three-point range too.

“What he did is what we need him to do, and that is to shoot the ball,” said Coach Stansbury about Johnson.

Big man soph, Elgin Bailey, threw around his weight in the paint. Remember, both Johnson and Bailey honed their games in the Dominican Republic this past summer.

Signs indicate that Dee Bost will be the starting point guard, although a competitor for the spot, Twany Beckham, could not play due to injury. Bost impressed with his passing (even though the stats indicate four assists to five turnovers), but more importantly showed he can score, dropping 34 points and going 5-8 from long distance.

A more extended recap of the scrimmage can be found at bullybasketball.blogspot.com.

In other news:

Dee Bost made the CollegeHoopsNet freshman honorable mention team. Scotty Hopson (who’s that guy?) made the first team and Alabama’s JaMychal Green made the third team. Here’s what CollegeHoopsNet’s Shawn Siegel had to say about Bost, “If you’re looking for a smaller name player from the HM list who might break out in a big way, I’d look at Dee Bost, David Loubeau, Chris Singleton, and the Kentucky pair of Liggins & Miller.”

Mark Cuban‘s HDNet will be broadcasting the semis and finals of the Legends Classic live….but I’m not sure what that means for your local cable or satellite provider.

The first scrimmage kicks off tomorrow against the Montavello Falcons.

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Gearing Up For Basketball: The Mississippi State Bulldogs

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 24, 2008

Media days have come and gone. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are entrenched in preparations for a scrimmage this Saturday, and the first preseason game on Saturday, November 1st. There has been a lot of media coverage surrounding the Bulldogs, especially Jarvis Varnado. Below are the best excepts……the added commentary comes at no charge.

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Mark Gottfried’s eyes widened a bit when asked about Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado becoming an offensive threat this season………Varnado said he can hit a jump shot as far out as 15 feet.
[“Bulldogs’ Varnado broadens his game,” NE Mississippi Daily Journal – Brad Locke]

Still…..teams are going to give Varnado space, he needs to be ready to take advantage from the get-go.

“[Jarvis Varnado] leads by example for the most part with his effort every day,” [Rick] Stansbury said. “He’s not a guy we have to prod very often to get him to play hard. We just have to get him to play hard for more minutes…..He’s a good person and a good kid. Those kind of people you don’t have to worry about much. You don’t have to go to that whip very often with Jarvis.”
[“Varnado wants to be bigger offensive threat,” The Commercial Dispatch – Danny P. Smith]

Uhhh….coach? I know you consider the kids you coach horses….but I still don’t think you wanna talk about whipping black kids in the South….I’m just saying.

Varnado still seems to have that shot-swatting body – he’s still thin as a rail, maybe having gained five pounds in the off-season…..On the 20-minute flight to Birmingham on Wednesday from Starkville’s Bryan Field, he couldn’t even finish a sandwich from Arby’s……”I can eat two of them,” Stansbury said. “He can’t even eat one of them.”
[“A defensive threat, Varnado goes to work on his offensive game,” Clarion-Ledger – Kyle Veazey]

Wait, is Arby’s good for you? No matter…..just reading about Arby’s had my mouth salivating like Pavlov’s dog at the sound of a bell.

“I think the real strength is my creativity,” [Barry Stewart] he said. “You have to find a way to get your shot sometimes. If a (defensive) guy is playing me tight, I might use the big guys as a pick or to run plays off of. You also have to move without the ball.”
[“Stewart, Bulldogs shoot for SEC crown,” The Mississippi Press – Tommy Hicks]

Boy….if Stewart can become a Reggie Miller/Richard Hamilton type (on the college level), then this Mississippi State team can be scary….then again, Rick Stansbury coached teams have been offensively challenged in the past, and the Bulldogs haven’t had a knock-em-down shooter worthy of constantly running ball screens for in a long time.

“I love Dee Bost,” Stansbury said. “He’s got a chance to be as good as we’ve had and that’s a big statement. There’s not many holes in his game right now except he’s a freshman and he’s about 163 pounds. Besides that, he possesses everything that I want a guy to have right now. He’s got a toughness about him. He can defend that ball. He can score it. He’s a terrific passer. But he can defend that basketball, and I love that about him. He’s just young and new.”
[“SEC basketball: Blame the economy for sluggish ticket sales,” Memphis Commercial Appeal – Marlon Morgan]

Hey, I already like this kid better than Gary Ervin.


Suggested Reading:

Zebra Talk – Inside Mississippi State Sports with Brad Locke

Talk about getting grown….the college three point line has been extended a full foot.

“Donovan center of discussion over SEC’s best coach,” Orlando Sentinel – Jeremy Fowler

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