March 9, 2010

Augustus hoping to maintain postseason magic

This time last year set the stage for the resurgence of Kodi Augustus.

The Mississippi State starting power forward for the first nine games of the 2008-09 season was eanked for the rotation and spoiled away on the bench for over a month before fueling the Bulldogs postseason run.

The 6-foot-8 Augustus averaged 10 points a game off the bench during the final seven games of the season sparking MSU's Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and run to the Big Dance.

"You get more experience by playing," Augustus said. "It's simple, you go out there and get experience by playing. It helps you to know game situations and it's an easier experience. It just seems like at the end of the season you've got to pick it up and give it an extra push. It seems like I'm always doing that, always thriving at the end wanting to further in the tournament and competing to do better than I did last year."

Augustus worked his way back into the good graces of head coach Rick Stansbury during the offseason and started MSU's season opener against Rider. But after the Bulldogs disappointing loss, Augustus lashed out in a postgame interview about a lack of playing time.

He was suspended for the next two games and has been on his best behavior since. Augustus has played in 29 games this season drawing 28 starts. He is averaging 9.3 points and 5.8 rebounds and scored in double figures in four of the final six regular season games.

"I can't control the position that I'm in," Augustus said. "When I get in I just try to play and do what I've got to do to try and help this team win. That's what I've been trying to do all year. I don't know why I'm playing more right now, it just happens I guess. I'm just trying to fulfill my role even more."

State needs Augustus to step up once again as they attempt to make another postseason run to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs received a first round bye in the SEC Tournament and will take on the winner between Auburn and Florida Friday evening in Nashville.

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