April 15, 2009

Stansbury has plenty to work with next season

Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury can rest a little easier this offseason.

The Bulldogs only had two players returning last season with plenty of question marks on the roster. Those questions were answered late in the season when MSU went on a six game winning streak to close out the year including a four-game sweep to claim the Southeastern Conference Tournament title in Tampa en route to an NCAA Tournament bid.

"It's invaluable," Stansbury said. "I think everybody lost sight and said 'well your team got hot'. If you back up with this team over halfway through SEC play, we were playing for first place in this league. We were 6-2 and playing LSU for first place so we were pretty good in the first half of it.

"For them towards the end to do what they did, not just beating Florida and Ole Miss, it was winning the four games in a row that was kinda the difference-maker and what made it seem special. Anytime you can win a championship in this league it's invaluable and to do it with a young team and a new team makes it that much more special."

Stansbury and the Bulldogs return all five starters from that team including SEC Defensive Player of the Year in senior center Jarvis Varnado and All-SEC Freshman point guard Dee Bost.

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