Bulldog Maroon & White

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Posts Tagged ‘romero osby’

Bulldogs Rebound for Solid Win Against Houston Cougars

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 3, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romero Osby

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

Living & Dying by the Three

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

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

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

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 »

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 »