February 19, 2013

Freshmen have bright future ahead

There has been a lot of turmoil concercening Mississippi State men's basketball this season.

The Bulldogs are down to five scholarship players due to attrition, injuries and suspensions. However the silver lining is MSU has a solid core of three true freshmen that have avoided trouble and gained invaluable experience on the court this year.

Guards Craig Sword and Fred Thomas along with forward Gavin Ware are averaging over 25 minutes per game and have been the Bulldogs top scoring options for most of the season.

"I think Craig Sword, Gavin Ware and Fred Thomas are going to be good players for us," said MSU head coach Rick Ray. They are just asked to do too much at this point in time in their career. It's really unfair."

Upperclassmen Jalen Steele and Roquez Johnson are both indefinitely suspended by Ray for a violation of team rules. Senior Wendell Lewis has been out since Dec. 12 with a dislocated knee leaving walk-ons Baxter Price and Tyson Cunningham as the only multi-year active players.

"There hasn't been any discipline as far as back talking or anything like that," Ray said. "Our problem is just a void of leadership. I think our young kids, our freshmen are trying to do everything they are supposed to do and haven't had any backlash at all. It's too much to ask incoming guys like Colin Borchert, Trivante Bloodman and especially the freshmen to come in and provide that instant leadership."

Ray attributes the recent suspensions to the returning players from Rick Stansbury's squad testing their limits under a new regime.

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