I really think we found a gem in Coach Ray. It'll take him a few recruiting classes, but I'm excited to watch his brand of Bulldog basketball. 100% accountability - the foundation for a successful organization.
Earlier this week, new Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Ray gave the boot to two of the Bulldog players he inherited from Rick Stansbury. Shaun Smith and Kristers Zeidaks were tossed for “repeated violations of team rules.”
On the surface, it’s never good when your program makes news for ix-naying players. Unless…
ESPN.com’s basketball writer Andy Katz gave Ray and State some props this morning, allowing the coach to sell a new message of accountability to the country:
“The biggest thing is to establish a culture of accountability… The programs I’ve been at in Clemson and Purdue we’ve held guys accountable and doing things the right way. Ultimately that’s the way you win and build programs…
It’s a misconception that I’m laying down the foundation for the future. It’s not just the future. It’s for now.”
While Ray kicked Smith and Zeidaks off his team, he didn’t throw them out into the cold. Both players will remain on scholarship “and have the academic support all our student-athletes receive,” until, of course, they transfer elsewhere to resume their careers.
Talk about lemonade from lemons. Ray’s get-tough policy — think Renardo Sidney would have lasted in his program? — resulted in bad headlines initially only to give way to a national columnist giving him center stage to promote his program and his values.
Seems that Ray’s already recorded his first win at State before ever coaching an actual game. Kudos.