February 26, 2013

Ray building for the future

Mississippi State at full strength this season was eight scholarship players.

But rarely has that even taken place. On most occasions the Bulldogs have taken the floor with only six scholarship players and two walk-ons due to various injuries and suspensions.

The results as one can imagine for first year head coach Rick Ray have not been favorable in the win-loss column. MSU is 7-19 overall and 2-12 inside the Southeastern Conference and are currently on a 12-game losing skid.

But there is plenty of hope moving forward for Ray and the Bulldogs as they creep towards full strength next season. The Bulldogs should get senior center Wendell Lewis back from injury along with freshman guards Jacoby Davis and Andre Applewhite.

State will also add signees Imara Ready, Travis Daniels and Fallou Ndoye to the fold as well.

"Next year when we've got 13 full scholarship guys and two or three walk-ons, I don't know what I'll do with myself," Ray said. "I'll be giddy."

The position who will likely receive the biggest upgrade will be at point guard. This year Trivante Bloodman has served as the Bulldogs only true point guard with Craig Sword filling in as a back-up.

Next year when Davis returns along with the addition of Ready, Mississippi State will have three point guards in the backcourt and will allow Sword to focus on his natural shooting guard spot full time.

Davis, a 6-foot-1, 191-pounder, signed with the Bulldogs last spring after averaging 21 points and five assists at St. John's Northwestern Military Academy. He has missed the entire season after tearing his ACL in summer workouts.

"Jacoby Davis is a prototypical point guard," Ray said. "I think he can dribble, pass and shoot it from that position. He's a really good shooter and understands the game of basketball really well. His dad is a long time AAU coach and he has a really good feel for the game of basketball. He'll help in that aspect."

Ready signed with the Bulldogs as a three-star prospect from Little Rock, Ark., in the fall. The 5-foot-10, 160-pounder is working on his third straight Class 6A State Championship and will bring a different set of skills to the roster next season.

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