January 23, 2013

Ray wants to see more production in the post

It is no secret that Mississippi State's men's basketball team is limited in numbers this year.

Rick Ray's Bulldogs have just seven scholarship players and nine total bodies on the active roster. To make matters worse, MSU only has one true big man available.

True freshman Gavin Ware is the Bulldogs only inside presence at 6-foot-9, 270-pounds. Senior center Wendell Lewis fractured his right patella at practice on Dec. 12 and is out indefinitely.

Forwards Roquez Johnson (6-7, 210) and Colin Borchert (6-8, 231) have tried to help fill the void but are both fours and do not have the size to compete with the large bodied big men in the Southeastern Conference.

But if MSU wants to have any more success this season they have to get Ware some help inside. With their depth situation, Ray may have to adopt some unique ways to get his smaller players to score in the paint.

"We've got to get more people in posting opportunities than just Gavin," Ray said. "We've got to backscreen Roquez and Colin into the post. It can't just be Gavin, it's got to be other people too. We've got to get some other people cutting in there and making post plays not just Gavin."

The problem goes beyond game day as well. With Ware just getting his first taste of the physical play of the league, State does not have a way to simulate that experience at practice.

"There's nobody for Gavin to go up against at practice that's like him," Ray said. "Roquez and Colin do what they are supposed to do as far as battling with him but he's so much bigger and stronger."

Ray's limited numbers on the roster have taken their toll on how he handles preparation as well, especially during the Wednesday-Saturday turnaround wach week.

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