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Posts Tagged ‘dee bost’

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 »

Going Back On My Words: The Bonnies Are Not A Cream-Puff

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 26, 2008

Before last night’s game against St. Bonaventure, I wrote this:

“….the Mississippi State Bulldogs will head to Olean, NY for another cream-puff game against St. Bonaventure on Tuesday before facing the big boys (Washington State on Friday the 28th and possibly Pittsburgh on Saturday the 29th) in the Legends Classic in Newark…”

Well, let’s just say that some on the Bonnies Bandwagon message board did not take too kindly to those remarks. Admittedly, I did a minimal amount of research on St. Bonaventure before the season, and posted the blurb below about them in an analysis of the MSU basketball schedule.

St. Bonaventure finished at the bottom of the A-10 with an 8-22 (2-14) record, and lost four seniors who ranked 1-4 on the team in minutes played. They’ll try to stop the bleeding with three incoming JUCO transfers, the headliner being SG, Jonathan Hall. Look for the Bonnies to be an easy win for the Bulldogs, even if it is a road game in Olean, NY.

After Mississippi State squeaked out a 76-71 win on Tuesday night, St. Bonaventure certainly proved that they are no pushover. Some Bulldog fans may still feel that the score was too close, nor will many admire the Jack Bauer the Dawgs dropped in the turnover department, that’d be 24, but there are some positives to be taken from the game:

  • Winning in a hostile environment – No, it’s not exactly like going on the road in the SEC, but 5,111 fans packed into the 5,780 capacity Reilly Center can feel just as hostile and just as loud as a much larger crowd, if not more because of the closeness of the environment.
  • Pulling through, even after failing the seal the deal the first time – At the 9:31 mark, Jarvis Varnado got a dunk, And 1, to put the Dawgs up 63-48. Over the next 3+ minutes, the Bonnies would go on an 13-4 run, assisted by three Dee Bost turnovers, who was playing with a sprained ankle that occurred in the 1st half, to put the score at 67-61 Bulldogs with 6:12 left. The Bonnies would continue to claw their way back, tying the game at 71 with 1:52 left. For the rest of the game, the Bulldogs would not allow St. Bonaventure to score. One can be justifiably disappointed that the Bulldogs could not put the Bonnies away, but be happy that this young team came through when it mattered most.
  • Ravern Johnson, rising star – Johnson was second on the team in scoring with 18 points and also pulled down seven rebounds. But Johnson is a rising star because in the final 22 seconds, he grabbed an offensive rebound, hit a big 2-pointer, snatched a defensive rebound, and sealed the game by making two free-throws with one second on the clock…..ice water may be in the kid’s veins.
  • Jarvis Varnado can score – Big players provide big stat lines, and they don’t come much bigger than 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks from Varnado.
  • Arrival of Twany Beckham – Here’s what Rick Stansbury said about Beckham via the Inside Miss. State Sports blog: “We were very fortunate that Twany came and rescued us. He played with a lot of poise, played with a lot of toughness, played a lot more minutes that he was ready to play.”

Up Next:

The Bulldogs will play Washington State on Friday at 5:30 pm eastern time in the Legends Classic. Unfortunately, right now it looks like Dee Bost is “very questionable” to play in the game. Beckham stepped up when Bost hurt his ankle the other night, hope he is ready for round two.

Game Stories:

Other Links:

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

MSU Bulldogs Head to Brick City After Undefeated Start Against Unimpressive Competition

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 24, 2008

Miss. State v. Fairleigh Dickenson

Opening Tip: Miss. State v. Fairleigh Dickenson

Actually, the Mississippi State Bulldogs will head to Olean, NY for another cream-puff game against St. Bonaventure on Tuesday before facing the big boys (Washington State on Friday the 28th and possibly Pittsburgh on Saturday the 29th) in the Legends Classic in Newark, New Jersey aka “Brick City.”

But on Saturday, after witnessing the MSU footballers squeak out a win versus Arkansas, I had the privilege of catching the MSU basketballers live after a short walk from Davis-Wade to The Hump.

I’d heard the stories about the ball movement of Rick Stansbury’s team having vastly improved from the days of the domineering Jamont Gordon Point Guard Experience. Now, I can attest that those theories are true. Sure, the ultimate differentiator between Mississippi State and Fairleigh Dickinson was athleticism, but this version of the Bulldogs can rest assured that the future looks bright with PG Dee Bost at the helm and a company of soldiers willing to go to war.

Game Observations:

  • Dee Bost is the selfless pass first point guard, who also has the threat of a jumper, that the Bulldogs have craved for years. His 27 assists to 13 turnovers on the year is most impressive.
  • Elgin Bailey is a big dude. He’s seemingly turned old baby fat into brute strength.
  • Kodi Augustus has significantly improved since his freshman year to the point where he is a key factor in the team’s future success….plus, he’s stepping up nicely in the abscence of Brian Johnson, out with an ankle injury.
  • Ravern Johnson is a great scorer, but he should to avoid the habit of prowling around the 3-point line. To truly help the team, Johnson needs to develop a mid-range game. Getting into the paint for buckets will open up the offense for the entire team. On the other hand, his stroke is so pretty, I can’t blame him for wanting to fire long-range bombs.
  • Romero Osby has diverse, raw talent. He should become a multi-faceted threat on both ends of the floor.
  • The perimeter defense is stiffling, but it’s the presence of Jarvis “Swat” Varnado that allows the Bulldogs backcourt to get up into opposing guards.
  • Both Elgin Bailey and Kodi Augustus fouled out. Avoiding cheap fouls may be the hardest aspect to learn in playing aggressive defense.
  • Rebounding Fundamentals: The Bulldogs were out-rebounded 50-45 by the FDU Knights. When the level of competition increases, the dependence on athleticism in rebounding must be trumped by proper blocking-out technique.
  • Silly Moment: Out of a timeout, with the Bulldogs set to full-court press the Knights, Romero Osby and Jacquiese Holcombe got into a slight shoving match argument about who would be covering the baseline out of bounds passer for Fairleigh Dickinson. They kissed and made up on a dead ball down the court.

Game Story Links:

Fairleigh Dickinson Trivia:

Other Web Quotables:

“As much as I miss Charles Rhodes and Jamont Gordon, when they were here, they were our team. It was Charles and Jamont and three other people. However, this team is five guys working together.”
[Nails In The Road]

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa 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 »

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.

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

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.

—————————

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

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

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.


B
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 »