February 13, 2013

Bulldogs carry on with limited roster

There has not been too much too much to smile about concerning Mississippi State's basketball team over the last month.

The Bulldogs have lost eight straight games and just had to suspend their most experienced player and leading returning scorer in Jalen Steele.

Head coach Rick Ray announced Steele's indefinite suspension prior to Saturday's contest with Florida for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Steele did not make the trip to Gainesville with his teammates.

"In college basketball these days nothing surprises me anymore," Ray said. "I just think the kid made a bad decision and he has to pay the penalty for it."

It is unknown just how long Steele will remain suspended but Ray did confirm that he would not play against Missouri tonight.

Steele's absence leaves MSU with only six scholarship players and eight total players on its roster. Steele missed eight games early in the season with a fractured wrist and was the only previously experienced player the Bulldogs had available.

"We're already in a situation where we have a short rotation," Ray said. "Anything you do outside of the program that can be a distraction first and foremost is bad. Second of all, it's a selfish act. Now you're taking away a chance for guys to go out and compete and win. Now you've shortened the rotation. I think moreso than anything, you're screwing your team and your teammates when you get into trouble like that."

With senior forward Wendell Lewis being sidelined since Dec. 12 and now Steele's suspension, State's young squad consisting of five first year players are without much leadership on the team to follow.

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