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Posts Tagged ‘mississippi state basketball’

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

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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 »

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 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 »

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…..

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, mississippi state bulldogs, nba | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mississippi State Basketball Picked to Finish 4th in SEC West; Jarvis Varnado Named 2nd Team All-SEC

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 20, 2008

A panel of SEC and national media members was recently comprised to vote on preseason first and second All-SEC teams, and the predicted order of each division, along with an overall conference champion.

When Mississippi State’s votes were added up, the Bulldogs were predicted to finish fourth in the West Division, after Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss respectively. With 91 overall poll votes, MSU is essentially picked to be the 7th best team in the conference, having received the most votes among teams which did not receive any first place votes within their division.

Bulldog big man, Jarvis Varnado, was selected to the preseason All-SEC 2nd team. For the full press release, visit secsports.com.

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

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

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 19, 2008

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

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

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

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

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