Bulldog Maroon & White

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Posts Tagged ‘jamont gordon’

Charles Rhodes Cut by Dallas Mavericks

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 20, 2008

Judging by his meager playing time with the Mavs in the preseason, the writing was already on the wall for former Mississippi State Bulldog, Charles Rhodes.

On Tuesday evening, the Dallas Morning News reported that Rhodes was the first player to be waived by the Mavericks before the upcoming 08-09 NBA season.

In late September, Rhodes was being considered by a top professional team in Spain. However, as previously reported blogged, most European leagues are already entrenched in season play. The Spanish league started in the first week of October, and Jamont Gordon obviously already has several games for his Italian team under his belt.

Rhodes’ best bet might be trying to make a name for himself in the NBDL. The 2008 D-League draft will take place on Friday November 7th and will be broadcast live on NBA TV.  Should Rhodes hold the NBDL as an option, keep an eye on the blog Ridiculous Upside, which provides excellent coverage of the NBA’s Developmental League.

Stay tuned…..

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Posted in Bulldog Basketball, bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, mississippi state bulldogs, nba | 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 »

Update: Jamont Gordon in Italy (not Greece)

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 26, 2008

The difference between Jamont Gordon, a basketball player who attended Mississippi State University, and Jamon Gordon, a basketball player who attended Virginia Tech, may be as evident as the letter ‘T’ to you and I, but not to everyone.

Recently, a hubbub was created on international professional basketball scene when JaMON Gordon signed with AS Trikala 2000 BC, a team based in Greece. Confusion ensued and popular international basketball site, EuroBasket.com, reported that JamonT Gordon was leaving his team in Italy, Fortitudo Bologna, to head to Greece, when actually, it was the other Gordon.

This whole issue was cleared up today in a story from BasketNet.it, the title google translates to: Case of names, Jamont Gordon will not move from Bologna. (EuroBasket still has Jamont Gordon playing in Greece on his profile, so I sent an email requesting a correction to an otherwise stellar site – they changed it to no team, but I ensure you that Jamont is playing for Fortitudo Bologna.)

So now that I’ve cleared up an issue you probably weren’t even aware of, how is Jamont Gordon doing in Italy?

First, you can go check out a video of Jamont’s Italian press conference, which was posted on the Mississippi State Sports Blog.

Jamont Gordon, Earl Barron, Joe Forte and Qyntel Woods enjoy the Italian countryside - www.fortitudo.it

Jamont Gordon, Earl Barron, Joe Forte and Qyntel Woods enjoy the Italian countryside - http://www.fortitudo.it

August 30: The Fortitudo coaches hosted their new players, along with the rest of the team and staff, to a retreat in the Italian countryside, featuring a “mega-barbecue,” sandwiches, art history, and the general lay-of-the-land.

September 7: In their first preseason game, Fortitudo beat Trenkwalder Reggio Emilia 83-75. Reggio Emilia features former Auburn Tiger, Bryant Smith. In his debut, Jamont Gordon scored 18 points. Unfortunately for Fortitudo, American center, Earl Barron, who spent time with the Miami Heat last season, went down with an ankle injury.

September 10: In their second preseason game, Fortitudo defeated Benetton Treviso 101-97. Qyntel Woods, recovering from back problems, scored 23 points. In a tight game, Jamont Gordon impressed fans and staff alike by scoring a team-high 25 points, 17 coming in the 4th quarter.

September 13: Fortitudo was defeated by Pallacanestro Cantù (featuring former Georgia Bulldog, Sundiata Gaines) 86-78. Joe Forte led Fortitudo Bologna with 25 points, Jamont Gordon netted 23.

September 14: Faced with injuries and having to integrate new American players, Fortitudo lost to Upea Capo d’Orlando 103-95. Translated articles cite defense as the problem. Jamont Gordon scored 25 points.

Jamont Gordon Slams It Home for Fortitudo

Jamont Gordon Slams It Home for Fortitudo - http://www.fortitudo.it

Fortitudo traveled to play in the preseason Memorial Pirazzi Tournament in Verbania, Italy

September 20: In a game against Cimberio Varese (which features former Wake Forest guard, Randolph Childress), where the translation of the description of Gordon includes, “physical and mental strength that does not stop to amaze,” and, “terrifying,” Jamont scored 33 points en route to a 106-76 win for Fortitudo. Evidently, Jamont closed out the game by scoring 16 consecutive points and igniting the crowd with a variety of dunks and ‘and 1’ baskets.

September 21: Fortitudo defeated Pallacanestro Cantù 100-78. Jamont only scored 9 points, Qyntel Woods impressed with 30, and Joe Forte was dubbed the “assist man.”

After those two victories in the Memorial Pirazzi Tournament in Verbania, Foritudo returned home for some two-a-day workouts before they head to Athens, Greece to participate in Varikas, and international tournament sponsored by Panionios F.C., which features former Maryland Terp, Lonny Baxter, and former Kansas Jayhawk, Aaron Miles.

Stay tuned for more updates on Jamont Gordon’s Italian job.

[UPDATE] For a rundown on the Italian League in general, head over to Ball in Europe.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, bulldogs overseas, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Ranked #96 in the Country, or #36

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 21, 2008

Well, the former ranking in the title of this post is according to collegehoopsnet, where they are previewing the top 144 NCAA basketball teams in the nation at the rate of one per day in descending order. More on the latter ranking, later.

Yesterday, the preview for the Mississippi State Bulldogs basketball team came out, ranking them 96th in the nation and 9th in the SEC. The author, Joel Welser, has a well educated breakdown of the Bulldogs. However, as you can tell by his ranking, Welser doesn’t think MSU will do much in the upcoming season. I can’t blame his assessment.

With the departures of Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes, leaving the “playing” squad with one senior (a transfer from Louisville who first played for MSU last year), three juniors (one of whom is a Juco transfer), five sophomores (one redshirted his first year), and three freshmen (two attended prep school), Coach Rick Stansbury will spend a lot of time blindly sticking his arm into a mixed bag of tricks during the 08-09 season.

Nothing could better illustrate that Bulldog fans will not know what to expect from their basketball team than the fact that, in contrast to collegehoopsnet, ESPN’s Dick Vitale has ranked Mississippi State #36 in his preseason top 40. Dickie V claims that the Dawgs would be in the top 20 if Gordon had stayed in school.

There’s no doubt that the Bulldogs will be guard/wing heavy and will not be able to survive a significant injury to the nation’s leading shot blocker, Jarvis Varnado, lone senior Brian Johnson, sophomore big Elgin Bailey, or even 6’8″ freshman Romero Osby. Which begs the question, with Charles Rhodes being a senior this past season, and thus, his departure was impending, why is the Bulldog front court set up to be so thin? I suppose the 6’8″, 220 pound Kobi Augustus could play some at the four spot. However, no Bulldog is taller than 6’9″.

There will be plenty of time in the future for preseason analysis and breakdowns, but I just wanted to get down some quick thoughts on how the returning leading scorer for the Bulldogs needs to improve.

Barry Stewart
Personally, I think MSU will be in trouble if Stewart has to play a lot of point, a possibility mentioned in the collegehoopsnet breakdown. But when the other main options are Dee Bost, a freshman, and Riley Bennock, a soph who I’m not sure has the moxie to be an SEC PG (hopefully he proves me wrong), I’m not sure Stansbury will always have much of a choice.

The Bulldogs need Stewart to be a Timmy Bowers type shooter……who did actually backup Derrick Zimmerman at the point at times during his tenure, and started at PG during his 03-04 senior year, when he was supplanted by Gary Ervin off the bench.

Between his freshman and sophomore years, Stewart’s minutes increased by 47.5% to 35.7 per game. He took 12 more 3-pointers, but made six less, dropping his 3P% by 5.8 points to 33.3%. Sure as a frosh, Stewart mostly had to worry about coming off the bench and hovering around the perimeter….evidenced by the fact that 59.6% of his points came from treys in year one versus 47.5% in year two. But why did his sophomore year seem to fall short of expectations? Many theorists would pin blame on the point guard skills of Jamont Gordon. I’ll only say that as great of a player he was, Gordon was not the ideal PG, rather one with whom Stansbury made due.

In terms of Stewart, I’m not as concerned that turnovers per game increased from 0.8 to 2.3, because not only did his minutes go up as mentioned, but he shared a greater responsibility in ball-handling duties as well, resulting from the absence of the Delk twins.

The greatest hope is for Barry to get back the shooting touch which built so many expectations after his All-SEC Freshman 06-07 Bulldog debut. If Stewart can extend defenses, look for opposing zones to become befuddled and those such as Ravern Johnson to have a field day. Hopefully, Barry will be able to improve the consistency of his shooting stroke while rehabilitating the broken ankle which occurred during a pick-up game earlier in the summer.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Run-Down

Posted by Kyle Weidie on July 17, 2008

Barry Stewart Injury

The MSU junior recently experienced a stress fracture in his ankle from playing pickup ball and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks (he’s evidently in his second week of rehab now). Ankle injuries are never a joke, as I’ve experienced many myself. I’ve always been told that a bad sprain (with ligament issues) is worse than breaking an ankle, but I’m not sure how a stress fracture compares. Of course, Stewart’s injury required surgery, most ankle injuries don’t. Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson had the same injury at the end of last February and missed the rest of the season, including the Wildcat’s first round NCAA tournament loss to six seed Marquette.

This is a pretty significant setback for Barry Stewart, who experienced a down sophomore campaign, especially shooting wise (Stewart’s true shooting % went down eight points from his freshman year). If anything, Stewart will just miss out on pick-up games, but will still be able to hit the weights to increase upper body strength. He’s expected to make a full recovery before practice starts in mid-October, but hopefully he’ll be ready much earlier to go through sanctioned individual workouts preceding official team practices.

To Wear or Not To Wear

Rick Stansbury wants to make sure potential recruits know who the heck he is….or at least who he coaches for, Mississippi State…you damn right. From a recent SI.com college basketball recruiting update:

This year’s winner for best use of a garment as a billboard is Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, who outfitted himself and his assistants in white shirts with the school’s name written in huge maroon letters. The shirts eschewed school initials — MSU also could be Michigan State, Murray State or Morgan State — and logos — a Bulldog could represent Georgia or Gonzaga — to eliminate any confusion. That may seem like a little thing, but not every prospect knows the difference between a Georgia Bulldog and a Mississippi State Bulldog.

Gotta make Mississippi State known and distinguished….we all know about Richard Williams getting upset over ‘Mississippi’ hats when the Bulldogs made it to the Final Four in 1996.

You can also check out what a couple MSM blogs have on Stansbury and summer talk.

Clarion-Ledger MSU Blog – Kyle Veazey
Inside Miss. State Sports – Gregg Ellis

Basketball Schedule?

It’s still being developed…..but word is that the Bulldogs will be taking part in the Legends Classic, which will be played in Newark, New Jersey. Evidently, the top four participants, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Washington State, and the MSU Bulldogs, will host the first two rounds of games on each of their respective campuses from November 20-23. The finals will be played at the Prudential Center in Newark on November 28-29.

The Bulldogs will also play South Alabama in Starkville on December 13th and Centenary will be coming to the Hump to open their season on November 15th.

What Exactly is a “Fearless” Prediction?

Luke Winn of SI.com is making some “fearless” predictions for the upcoming college basketball season. Mississippi State factors into prediction #19:

If Jamont Gordon can get Raycom on his TV in Europe (or some NBDL outpost), he’ll tune in and realize he could have made Mississippi State the champs of the SEC West … but now, no one in the entire league will really challenge Tennessee.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports, south alabama jaguars, starkville | Tagged: , , | Leave a 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 »

Big Surprise: NBA Hopeful Receives Bad Advice

Posted by Kyle Weidie on May 28, 2008

I wasn’t exactly sure how to convey the sarcasm intended by the first two words in this post’s title. I could’ve gone with the oft-used quotes, but I’m inexperienced in using them within titles, usually opting to place abundantly within the body of text. The resolution? This cumbersome paragraph.

Back to the matter at hand……How many years will this story rehash itself? Perpetually I suppose. No matter how many barriers to entry David Stern instills to safeguard basketball talents from being horse-blinded by dollar signs, similar mistakes are doomed to historically repeat themselves on an annual basis.

The 2008 NBA draft is no exception as there is not one, but two “eyebrow-raisers” (in this case, the quotes serve their natural intention), and one of them is Mississippi State’s Jamont Gordon.

Draft Express, in their Day 1 NBA Pre-Draft coverage, has denoted Jamont Gordon, along with Kyle Weaver (a G/F out of Washington State) as their “eyebrow-raisers” for pulling out of the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando. I can’t speak for Kyle Weaver, but if you know Gordon’s game like I do, his move is a lot more brow furrowing and head shaking than eyebrow raising and head scratching. The big difference between the two seems to be that Weaver, being a senior, cannot return to school, while Gordon has one year of eligibility left at Mississippi State. However, signs point to Bulldog head coach Rick Stansbury already moving past the Jamont Gordon era.

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s Bulldog Maroon & White post about Jamont Gordon pulling out of the NBA pre-draft camp, where I speculated that the reasoning behind the decision was either an injury, or that Gordon received a “promise” from a team (in the second round I assumed).

Not so fast……Gordon spoke to the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey late Tuesday and the word on Jamont’s street is that his stock has been rising, so much that he might be considered a late first-rounder. Wow, such acceleration without even formally working out in front of NBA scouts. As it’s been reported, Gordon has been training in Houston, Texas with John Lucas II. Now, the name Jerry Meyer has surfaced as being tied to Jamont’s NBA interests.

From Kyle Veazey’s blog entry:

Jerry Meyer, who described himself as Gordon’s trainer and is also a Rivals.com scout, said there was little to gain in the trip.

“He’s been down in Houston working out with coach John Lucas, been doing extremely well, playing well against some guys projected ahead of him,” Meyer said. “The feeling was, really, going to Orlando could only hurt him and we feel confident he’s a first-round pick.”

Meyer said about 10 teams have contacted Gordon about setting up workouts.

Gordon said Tuesday he didn’t know what the chances of a return to MSU might be, but Meyer offered a more stark prediction.

“He’s almost 100 percent set on staying in the draft,” Meyer said.

Talk about an eyebrow raiser which begs a lot of questions.

1. Who exactly is this Jerry Meyer cat?
Well, we know that Jerry is the son of Don Meyer, the current head basketball coach at Northern State University in South Dakota. Don Meyer is also the former coach of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. Not only did Jerry play basketball at David Lipscomb High School, but he also attended the University to play for his father in 89-90. Jerry Meyer broke Lipscomb and NCAA assist records, but ended his college basketball career playing his senior season at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (D2). During his time at Lipscomb, Jerry was once named an NAIA All-American (Lipscomb U has since become an NCAA DI school).

Don and Jerry Meyer also penned a book together in 1999, Basketball Skills and Drills, which was edited by former Chicago Bulls GM, Jerry Krause. Jerry Meyer is, as mentioned by Veazy, a national recruiting analyst/scout for Rivals.com (which was acquired by Yahoo in June ’07). Meyer’s input and expert opinion is constantly sought out by national and local media outlets.

2. Ok, so Meyer sounds more than credible, but who exactly has Jamont Gordon been boosting his rankings against in Houston?
Wouldn’t you like to know? Well, the world wide web gives us some hints.
This article from CSTV tells us that Gary Forbes of UMass and DJ Augustin of Texas have been working out with Lucas II, along with NBAers Sean Williams, T.J. Ford, Cuttino Mobley, and Jeremy Richardson.

3. That sounds fine, but wait…..Jerry Meyer’s job is to be an unbiased scout of pro-prospects, but he proclaimed himself as Jamont Gordon’s trainer…..isn’t that a conflict of interests?
Hmmm….that’s an interesting question. It seems like a gray area…..but what’s not a gray area in the money game of amateur pro basketball?

On one hand, Jerry Meyer has seen Jamont Gordon up close and personal for however long they’ve been working together….while most pro scouts probably only have Gordon’s performances at Mississippi State as their basis for assessment.

On the other hand, those in the know, such as the aforementioned Draft Express and Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline, including an NBA assistant with whom Gary recently spoke about Jamont Gordon, seem to be under the impression that Gordon has been the recipient of bad advice.

You make the call. My considerations are that Jerry Meyer is probably not training Jamont Gordon pro bono. Maybe he’s not getting paid, as footballer Randy Moss would say, ‘straight cash homey,’ but I bet Meyer is getting something out of it…..if not exposure to prospects for his Rivals.com reports.

I will also consider the implication, by Meyer himself, that he is actually training Jamont Gordon. It would seemingly behove Jerry Meyer that a certain buzz about Gordon sneaking into the first round would be generated. Perhaps one way or the other, Meyer’s reputation as a trainer, or a scout, may be affected. And that’s where my perception of conflicting interests comes into play……you can’t necessarily be the former while being unbiased as the latter.

Either way, the fact that Gordon may be receiving bad advice is not necessarily a knock on his skills. Rather, it’s a numbers game. There are too many other prospects vying to get into the first round, not to mention those who are already virtual locks to be selected among the first 30 picks. Which all makes Gordon’s move to pull out of the NBA pre-draft camp even more curious. If Gordon and his handlers are truly confident in his skills and rising stock, then they would want to prove it to the world by matching up against more than what’s in Houston…..as opposed to creating negative speculation among NBA draft insiders. Stay tuned.

Posted in jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Jamont Gordon Pulls Out NBA Pre-Draft Camp

Posted by Kyle Weidie on May 27, 2008

In a surprise move, dubbed as a “what in the world are you thinking” act by Draft Express, Mississippi State junior Jamont Gordon has pulled out of the NBA Pre-Draft Camp which is scheduled to jump off today, May 27th, at the Walt Disney Sports Complex outside of Orlando, Florida.

Generally, top NBA draft prospects do not participate in the pre-draft camp, rather they attend as ‘physical only’ invitees. Most feel that these top 15-20 prospects need not stack themselves up against the competition in a pick-up game style atmosphere, as many elect to participate in individual team workouts, which are now only allowed to take place after the conclusion of the Orlando camp. Many agents also feel that their bread-winning players have a greater chance of getting injured or exposed if they play against a field which is desperate to improve their draft standing. The 64 invitees scheduled to actually play must compete for 40-45 open NBA draft slots.

Jamont Gordon’s move comes as a surprise because many still expect him to remain in the draft, while most mock drafts list him as being selected in the second round, if all all. The general consensus has been that while Gordon may not be NBA-ready, his game doesn’t necessarily stand to benefit from returning to college for one more year.

Jamont Gordon has yet to “officially” hire an agent. The Clarion-Ledger reported on May 22 that Gordon had been working out with John Lucas II twice daily in Houston, and would leave for Orlando on May 27th. Lucas II, who is a former NBA player and coach, has become well known for helping players with addiction problems, something he himself dealt with as a member of the Houston Rockets in the late 1980s. Lucas II has also been a basketball mentor, assisting many players with training for the NBA. John Lucas II has close ties with former Mississippi State basketball player, Lawrence Roberts, who played with his son, John Lucas III, at Baylor before both players transferred from the tumultuous Bears program; Lucas III ended up at Oklahoma State.

Another hurdle to a possible return to Mississippi State for Jamont Gordon is his grades. Since the conclusion of the season, Jamont missed several classes at the beginning of April, and I’m sure countless more while he has been preparing for a chance to earn a salary from playing basketball.

One could speculate all day as to why Gordon has pulled out of the NBA pre-draft camp. An injury is certainly a valid possibility. Through the years, many NBA teams have purportedly made promises to select certain players if they are still on the board when said team is on the clock. In many cases, promises are the fodder of agents trying to increase buzz around their players.

However, rumors of promises have dwindled in recent years as teams have discovered by trail-and-error (Shelden Williams supposedly had one from the Atlanta Hawks in the 2006 NBA Draft) that promises to unproven players are foolish, especially considering the unpredictable nature of the selection process. Aside from the dying practice of first round guarantees, second round promises are more of a rarity.

Gordon, who has been speculated many times over from being drafted in the mid-to-late second round to not at all, couldn’t have circumvented the pre-draft camp because of a second round promise…..could he? First of all, second round contracts are not guaranteed. Second, even if Gordon has received a 2nd round promise, it would be a horrible mistake for him to forgo the chance to either miraculously play himself into the first round, or at least get more exposure in front general managers and scouts, from domestic and abroad.

Like I said, one could wonder about Gordon’s curious move from morning to night. Only time will tell how his pursuit of the NBA will play out.

Continued Reading

From Bulldog Maroon & White:

Posted in jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba, nba draft | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

To Upset Calipari’s Tigers, Jamont Gordon Must Have Best Game Ever

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 23, 2008

And I’m talking a LeBron James-like 27 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 3-6 from three, 48% from the field with only 3 turnovers. There is it, plain and simple. Oh yea, find a way to “contain” Derrick Rose as well. Charles Rhodes and early paint intentions are still the key. But to overcome a #1 seed, there is more than one lock so you need more than one key.

This is a quick post….no numbers and no analysis, just a prediction (by the way, Sheridan is giving Mississippi State 9.5 points in USA Today): The Bulldogs pull off the upset 76-75. And I’m off to watch the game….

Check these links:

Charles Rhodes on Joey Dorsey:I really think he’s got to get the better of me in this matchup. He’s a great offensive rebounder. He’s not really an offensive player.” [Kyle Veazey’s Blog]

“Help for Rhodes finally arrives in marksman Stewart” [Rick Cleveland, Clarion-Ledger] – I’m also predicting that the momentum continues for Barry Stewart on offense, sparking even better defense from the sophomore.

Stansbury on Tests: “No one has played close enough to them to see how they play in a pressure situation,” he said in regards to Memphis. “I think that’s our challenge. Can we keep the game close enough that it becomes a close game in the last five minutes? There’s no question we’ve been tested there a lot more than Memphis has.” [Gregg Ellis, NE Miss. Daily Journal]

Mississippi State and Memphis last met on the hardwood in December of 1984.

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

Another bag of Charles Rhodes please – Miss. State looks to continue NCAA survival

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 23, 2008

But to beat the Memphis Tigers, Rick Stansbury will want much more from the supporting cast. Against the Oregon Ducks, Jamont Gordon made a lot happen, but his scoring needs to be sweet for the Bulldogs to reach the round of 16.

But first, speaking of Oregon, here’s the game run-down:

Half Number One

First 5 Minutes: Jamont Gordon started out physical in guarding Malik Hairston while Charles Rhodes set his personal tone early getting a dunk for the game’s first points at the 18:30 mark. Three turnovers came for the Bulldogs in the first three and a quarter minutes, two coming from Ben Hansbrough. Crisp passing wasn’t on the agenda to start, chalk it up to nerves. Oregon shot more threes than I expected, 3-7 in this first segment. Rhodes started off on Oregon’s Maary Leunen, but when Jarvis Varnado was on the Ducks three point wizard, the lane was wide open for a Bryce Taylor layup which gave the Ducks an early 13-6 lead.

The Next 10 Minutes: “Play until you hear the whistle.” Ben Hansbrough is learned in the game of basketball as he got a steal off a near Oregon backcourt violation and sprinted the length of the court for a layup. Meanwhile, Rhodes wasn’t disciplined on defense. In a three possession sequence, Charles fell bad for a Leunen pump fake in the paint – layup; Rhodes got an offensive rebound and put-back off a Barry Stewart miss; and back down the court, Leunen got Charles to bite again with a fake three dribbling into a mid-range jumper, 21-17 Oregon.

Overall, Mississippi State ball movement was slow; Oregon was able to easily react and get in the right position. Abundant Bulldog misses gave the Oregon offense a head start. With a lightening quick 5’6″ point guard in Tajuan Porter, the Ducks pushed the rock to the tune of a 28-20 lead with seven minutes left.

Persistent work in the paint was still the key. Going to Rhodes down low led to a 2nd foul on Maarty Leunen. Having to sit with seven minutes left in the 1st half went towards disrupting his rhythm. On defense, the Bulldogs finally returned to man after a failed experiment with the zone – the result of a minor panic after Oregon hit some long distance buckets early in the game. Varnado’s work in the interior was of utmost importance, one block to this point, but he changed a lot of waddling duck shots. The Dogs did limit their mistakes during this stretch by committing only 2 turnovers – 5 total to Oregon’s 2.

Last Five: Heading into the final five minutes of the first half, Oregon had a 30-23 lead. Rhodes was dominating with 13 points while his teammates totaled 10. Even though the Bulldogs were shooting 38% from the field, I never felt like they were losing control. But Jamont Gordon didn’t help the cause of good vibrations with forcing the issue at times while Ben Hansbrough was doing a bad impression of a catch-and-shoot ball player. Ben, along with Barry Stewart, was added to the amber alert list. The Ducks ended the half with a Porter triple with five seconds left to take a 38-28 lead.

Half Number Two

First 5 Minutes: Jamont Gordon got a charge called against him in the early going, my dad is glad the refs blew the whistle on something that blatant. Oregon stayed firing with the threes, going 1-7 in this first segment. The game announcers relayed to the viewers that Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury said that if the Ducks shot 40% from long distance, the Bulldogs would not win. This struck me as odd as 40% is Oregon’s 3-point average for the season. You’re telling me if Oregon plays their “average” they can’t be beat? Rhodes continued to push with 22 points while his teammates had 12. Despite a sub-par shooting game, Hansbrough provided constant hustle with another steal converted to a layup. The Oregon Ducks were up 43-36 after the first five.

The Next 10 Minutes: The Bulldogs started out this segment like this: A forced Gordon layup miss, a Barry Stewart offensive rebound, a Jamont Gordon ill-advised 3 miss, a Charles Rhodes offensive rebound, and a Barry Stewart 3 miss. The Bulldogs were 0-12 from the 3-point line as Gordon was 2-12 from the field. Something had to give, and it just might be Jamont’s NBA chances if he leaves after this year.

Finally, at the 13 minute mark, Barry Stewart broke the cold long distance ice with a three (assisted by Gordon). The Dawgs were hanging around only down 6, 47-41. On a subsequent play, Jamont Gordon failed to contest a mid-range baseline jumper by Hairston. But Gordon was making the game happen in other areas: picking up 6 assists in a stretch from just under the 14 minute mark to just under the 9 minute mark. Mississippi State continued their push despite a couple calls not going their way leading to a 4th foul on Jarvis Varnado. The frigid shooting of the Ducks became the biggest help, with about 7.5 minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs were shooting 69% for the 2nd half while the Ducks faltered with 28%. Mississippi State would head into the last 5 minutes with a 61-58 lead.

Last Five:
Once Oregon’s threes slowed down, they didn’t have much else in the offensive repertoire. Meanwhile, the plan for the Bulldogs was coming to fruition. Double Charles Rhodes? No problem, that just left Barry Stewart open for a three – he found the right time to rediscover his stroke. Even Jarvis Varnado kept himself in the offensive mix with a great cut to the basket which led to a composed and balanced layup – a nice display of basketball I.Q. – to give MSU a 68-61 lead with 2:15 left.

Overall, Mississippi State had more in their tank down the stretch. With more perseverance, the Dawgs outlasted the Ducks. It also didn’t hurt that Oregon made a 3 at the 19:21 mark of the 2nd half, proceeded to miss 17 in a row, then made one with 14 seconds left when the game was in the bag. In the 2nd half, the Bulldogs weren’t giving up many open looks from long distance. The final tally would have Mississippi State advancing to the 2nd round of the Big Dance with 76, sending the Ducks back to Oregon with 69 – only 1 point off of my 76-68 prediction.

Stat Check:

  • Oregon was close to their season average of 8.7 3s per game with 9 against MSU. However, their season average of attempts was 21.7, they hoisted up 38 threes on this night – 2-21 from deep in the 2nd half after going 7-17 in the1st.
  • Charles Rhodes dominated with 34 and 9.
  • Jamont Gordon finished 2-14 from the field and 4-8 from the FT line, but contributed with 9 assists, 11 rebounds and the “usual” 6 turnovers.
  • Barry Stewart picked up the slack with 16 points on 4-8 from three point land.

Full Box Score

Other Reading:

  • “Rhodes leads MSU past Oregon” [NE Mississippi Daily Journal]
  • With four media timeouts per half, the starters can withstand a lot of minutes: [Bulldog Notebook – NE Mississippi Daily Journal]
  • “Rhodes loudest with a career game” [Clarion-Ledger]
  • “State sticks with starters in 2nd half” [Clarion-Ledger] – On the end of Alltel Arena’s floor closest to the Mississippi State bench, teams were 11-of-24 from the 3-point line. On the end in front of the Oregon bench, teams were 2-of-31. One observer who had watched games all day said the shooting was a trend. The hot-shooting end doesn’t have an upper deck; the cold one does. “We need to play on the one end where it goes in better,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said, laughing.

Posted in charles rhodes, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ncaa tournament, oregon ducks, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Senior to Watch: Charles Rhodes – Mississippi State

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 18, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in charles rhodes, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

In One Night, Miss. State Survives Buzzer Beater, Tornado and Free Throw Demons

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 15, 2008

Last night’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide started well enough for the Mississippi State Bulldogs: an alley-oop to Jamont Gordon on the very first play. The Bulldogs having their way in the paint against the non-existent Alabama defense led to a Mark Gottfried timeout 48 seconds into the match. The Bulldogs eventually got a 10-0 lead within the first three minutes.

But when MSU started getting sloppy, resulting from a couple undisciplined efforts on defense and several ill-advised shots, the Crimson Tide would go on a run to tie the game at 27. Bama’s streak would continue until they had a nine point lead at 36-27. During that stretch, Mississippi State put down their brushes and halted work in the paint. Instead, they opted to launch nine three pointers, missing all except one. Who made the one? Big man Charles Rhodes of course.

The Bulldog zone aided the most in Alabama’s foray into the game. Alternatively, the Tide went 8-14 from long distance as the Bulldogs waited until around the five minute mark to test their man defense. Oh, and don’t forget points off turnovers, Alabama had 15 in the first half as they led 36-29 at intermission. The only thing that didn’t really hamper the Bulldogs was free throw shooting; they went 8-10 from the line.

The beginning of the second half did not show much promise as the Miss. State scored four points, committed three turnovers and missed five shots (including three 3-pointers) in the first six minutes. It was hard to imagine that the same team which scored 10 points in the first 2:23 would only score 23 points in the next 23:48. The Mississippi State zone offense has long been one of the weaker points of Coach Stansbury’s repertoire. It usually involves dribbling and passing the ball around the horn as the shot clock runs down, the end result being the chance of a long distance shot.

But someone, something, cracked open the door of emotion for the Bulldogs….if just a little bit. The M-State team fought their way back to a three point deficit, down 46-43 with 11 minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, I’m one who focuses more on the negative……such as Jamont Gordon’s pocket defense (I know that Rick Stansbury teaches his kids to hand-carry the ball and to do away with hands in holsters); the abundance of Alabama offensive rebounds (they had nine in the second half); and the zero confidence of Barry Stewart. I’ve issued another amber alert on the sophomore, a previous member of the SEC All-Freshman team.

And then, Jamont Gordon does something so amazing on offense, that we have no choice but to gasp and put aside his transgressions. With about 1:20 left in the game, Gordon, aka The Ice Cream Man, charged up the court, gave a nasty cross-over (looked like the defender was leaning in the wrong direction) and did his impersonation of a train going down the lane with a huge left-handed dunk, which put Mississippi State up 58-56.

But those holsters then got stuck as the Bulldogs shot themselves in the foot at the O.K. Corral. If Barry Stewart, the team’s starting 2-guard who is supposed to be a shooter, makes both of his free-throws with 7 seconds left, you could forget all about the text below. Barry didn’t. He missed his second attempt from the charity stripe leaving MSU with only a 3 point lead.

Ultimately, Alabama was left taking the ball out of bounds on their end with two seconds left in the game. Mistake #1: Arguable. Mississippi State did not put a man on the inbounds passer. Yes, I understand wanting to avoid a lob pass with an extra rover, but two seconds is a lot of time. I’d rather prevent the “easy” pass. Mistake #2: Huge. Mississippi State, at least two fouls away from putting Alabama in the double bonus, did not foul the man on the floor. Thank you Ben Hansbrough. You’ve no doubt seen the highlights of the Mykal Riley 3-pointer, sending the game into overtime. And perhaps you’ve seen the footage of an incensed Stansbury who told his team to foul.

Surprise! A tornado. With 2:11 left in the overtime period, Mississippi State held onto a three point lead as they fouled Alabama’s Alonzo Gee on the floor; the winds in the Georgia Dome began to blow. At first, I thought the players were looking up at the jumbotron to see a replay of the foul. As the cameras panned to the swaying suspended metal structures, I knew the situation was a scary one. The players, the coaches, and their families cleared the court as those in attendance were advised to stay inside the Georgia Dome to safely wait out the storm. Read the report from Kyle Veazy’s blog on the Clarion-Ledger.

A lengthy delay made everyone wonder about the next course of action. The final 2:11 resumed well past 10:30 pm est. Remember that foul on Alonzo Gee? Must’ve been the hardest front end of a 1-and-1 ever…..after a 63 minute delay and a 10 minute warm-up, he missed.

The play of the game came when Ben Hansbrough missed a 3-pointer. Jamont Gordon, who had impressed me with his muscle on the offensive glass, got the strong rebound and put-back, giving MSU a five point lead, 66-61 with 52 seconds left. A resilient Bama hung around. Richard Hendrix was allowed to get not one, but two offensive put-back dunks. Gordon simply neglected to box him out on one occasion. In the end, fate was in the hands of the younger Hansbrough brother.

Poor Ben Hansbrough. One Shining Moment wasn’t playing in the locker room for him last night. He played a gutty game with 8 points, 2 assists, 6 rebounds and only 1 turnover; a great stat line. Unfortunately, he was cold from the field, taking all eight of his shots from beyond the arc and making only two. He failed to commit the foul at the end of regulation, but not forgetting Stewart’s missed FT.

Seven seconds left, Mississippi State up by a deuce and Ben Hansbrough at the line with a chance for redemption. A white guy missing both free-throws? Seems like a tornado just hit the dome of my basketball mentality. With Alabama down a bucket, this gave Mykal Riley another chance to be a hero; twice in one day…that guy’s lucky. But a 3-point miss that went 20% in then 100% out, perhaps moved by dissipating winds, would swing the luck back in the Bulldogs direction.

Final Score: Mississippi State 69, Alabama 67

An Interview: with the Tornado

AP Photos: from Gregg Ellis – Inside Mississippi State Sports blog

The Game Story: Clarion-Ledger

The Tornado Story: Atlanta Journal and Constitution

Wrap-Up: Post game notes and interviews from secsports.com

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