January 19, 2009

Kirby talking LSU Tigers

With MSU head coach Rick Stansbury down in Jackson recruiting some future talent, it was assistant coach Robert Kirby who was left in charge to manage the Bulldogs on Monday.

One of Kirby's responsibilities was meeting with the media in Stansbury's absence to discuss their upcoming Southeastern Conference Western Division showdown with LSU on Wednesday.

"LSU is a very well coached basketball club," Kirby said. "Trent Johnson has done a great job of coming in and getting the guys to but in to what he is trying to accomplish. They are playing more as a unit and that's what you get when you get some seniors. They have five seniors in that top group that play a lot of minutes for them. Those guys have really come on and bought into the system of how he is doing things and how he is preparing the team to win. They are doing an outstanding job of running their offense and playing good team basketball."

Kirby's primary responsibility is working with the post players on the MSU roster including Jarvis Varnado, Elgin Bailey and Brian Johnson. While all three players play the same position, Kirby said they all bring something different to the table.

"Each one of those bigs brings a different type of atmosphere to you," Kirby said. "Jarvis is a shot block guy then Elgin comes in and he just beats you half to death. Brian gives you a mixture of both. If we can keep a good rotation with those guys and them keep the proper mentality of forgetting about themselves and doing what is good for the team then I think we can continue to win and be successful."

Under Kirby's tutelage, Varnado has become one of the most prolific shot blockers in SEC history. Varnado won National Defensive Player of the Year honors last season swatting away 157 shots in 2007-08 and leads the country again this season with 93 blocks.

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