June 29, 2009

Same expectations for Stansbury

The expectations have been quite different this summer concerning the Mississippi State men's basketball program.

Last year the Bulldogs were thought to be inexperienced with only two starters returning but still managed to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and earn a birth in the NCAA Tournament.

But the expectations Rick Stansbury has for his team are just the same as they have been in the previous 12 years that he has been the head coach for the Bulldogs.

"I won't do anything different than I always have," said Stansbury. "But (high expectations) are good problems to have. Expectations are something outside the lines we can't control. But if you ask a coach what he would rather have, I am sure he would rather want to be a good team than to be bad."

MSU returns all five starters from last season including two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year Jarvis Varnado and fellow senior Barry Stewart. Also returning to the starting rotation from last season will be Ravern Johnson, Phil Turner and Dee Bost.

"We do understand we do have more experience back this year than we did last year, even though we only have two seniors," Stansbury said. "Last year we had two players coming back with Jarvis and Barry. But no expectations didn't mean we don't strive for championships. So we won't do anything different and it's the same every year. Our goals are always the same."

But with their postseason experience in addition to a Top 25 recruiting class, the Bulldogs players themselves understand what is expected of them. But Stansbury feels that it has caused his players to continue to work hard this summer.

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