May 4, 2009

Bulldogs have high hopes for next season

Coming into last season Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury had plenty of unknowns.

The Bulldogs returned only two players with any considerable playing time in Jarvis Varnado and Barry Stewart but despite that inexperience claimed the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship.

But things should be a little different for the 11-year coaching veteran next season with plenty of upperclassmen options.

"Next year we will have some experience," Stansbury said. "There will be two seniors and five juniors. That will be the most experience we've probably had consistently in several years. We've been basically a freshman, sophomore team for the last four years really. It just seems like it's been a whole run on those guys."

Stansbury reinvented his team midway through the season and going with a smaller four guard lineup that showcased not only MSU's team speed but their ability to shoot from the outside as well.

"What we were is what we were," Stansbury said. "I couldn't change that. You've got one guy over 200-pounds, you just can't change what we were. We weren't the toughest team and we weren't the most physical team but again we found ways to do some things differently that maybe hid some of those things. Well, we don't need to hide some of those things as much next year because we need to go into it not hiding them."

The Bulldogs should be able to play a traditional power forward next season with the addition of five-star signee Renardo Sidney provided Varnado pulls his name out of the NBA Draft. If not Kodi Augustus and Romero Osby will both be viable options at the No. 4 spot.

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