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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 4th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Mississippi State Bulldogs

 

Overall Rank: #101

Conference Rank: #10 SEC

 

2005-06: 15-15, 5-11, 4th West

2005-06 postseason: none

 

It will take a while for Mississippi State to regain their form they had during their Lawrence Roberts glory days, but it’s all on the up swing from here on out.  Last year’s freshmen had quality campaigns and this year’s newcomers will add some more depth to an increasingly impressive roster.

 

Who’s Out: The frontcourt takes a hit with the graduation of Wesley Morgan.  The 7-2 center averaged 4.5 points and 5.3 boards in 20 starts.  Forwards Jerrell Houston and Walter Sharpe have transferred and won’t be returning to Coach Rick Stansbury’s squad.  Wing Michael Boler averaged 1.2 points in limited playing time as senior.  The big loss on the perimeter is Jamall Edmondson.  The guard averaged 11.0 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his final campaign in Starkville. 

 

Who’s In: Jarvis Varnado highlights a decent group of newcomers.  Varnado, a 6-8 power forward, needs to bulk up a bit, but has the tools to make an impact immediately, especially in the shot blocking department.  A need at power forward could see Varnado starting sooner than later.   Small forward Travis Gabbidon could also be forced into action at the four spot.  The 6-7 Phoenix, Arizona native averaged 16.9 points and 6.7 rebounds as a sophomore at Southern Idaho College.  The perimeter will add some depth with Barry Stewart, Ben Hansbrough, Phil Turner and Billy Begley.  Stewart, a 6-3 point guard, is an excellent scorer for a point guard, averaging 23.1 points during his senior season at Shelbyville Central High School in Tennessee.  Hansbrough, the brother of North Carolina’s Tyler, and Turner are solid scoring options, but will need some time to adjust to the level of play.  Walk-on Billy Begley will be eligible to play once again after redshirting last season.

 

Who to Watch: The backcourt will depend on the Delk brothers.  Reginald Delk stepped up quickly and proved to be a major scoring threat, especially from beyond the arc.  Richard Delk didn’t see as many minutes as his brother, but by the end of the season Richard was quite effective running the point.  With that duo on the perimeter the Bulldogs have the potential to make some noise.

 

Final Projection: The Bulldogs are a little slim up front.  Dietric Slater and Jamont Gordon are solid wing players, but Gordon may need to move up to the four if the Bulldogs want their best five on the floor.  Charles Rhodes developed into a solid post player as a sophomore averaging 13.8 points and a team high 7.1 boards.  MSU is a little young and will be beaten by teams with more talent up front, but the guards have the potential to pull off some big wins.  In the end, the Bulldogs are still a year or two away from thinking about the NCAA Tournament. 

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: none

 

Projected Starting Five:

Richard Delk, Sophomore, Guard, 3.5 points per game

Reginald Delk, Sophomore, Guard, 8.9 points per game

Dietric Slater, Senior, Guard, 10.1 points per game

Jamont Gordon, Sophomore, Forward, 13.8 points per game

Charles Rhodes, Junior, Forward, 13.8 points per game

 

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