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Ex-MSU Assistants Talk About Exiting

When Rick Stansbury chose — cough, cough — to retire at Mississippi State, he left the lives of his assistant coaches and support staff up in the air.  The recently-hired Rick Ray chose to retain assistant George Brooks, but two other Stansbury aides have been shown the door.

Now they’re talking to The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal about that fact.

Marcus Grant told the paper’s Brad Locke that he expected to be retained when he met with Ray on Tuesday:

“Not only was I a coach here, I played here, was a standout player here.  I thought I could bring a lot to the new staff just like I did the old staff.  He thought Coach Brooks would fit in better with his staff and with his approach, so that’s the way he went.  I support that.”

Fellow ex-MSU assistant Phil Cunningham also spoke with Locke.  Cunningham had been on Stansbury’s staff since 2000 and just-departed point guard Dee Bost tweeted his support of Cunningham for the head coaching position when Stansbury stepped down.

Turns out, that was never a consideration, according to Cunningham:

“I would have loved to have had an opportunity to visit with him, and I thought I probably deserved that opportunity, but Scott (Stricklin) chose not to, and that’s his decision.  Hey, no hard feelings.  In this business, that’s the way it is.”

When he learned that he would not get a shot at the top job, Cunningham says he declined the opportunity to discuss an assistant coaching job with Ray.

Disappointed?  Clearly.  Lobbing Molotov cocktails at the program on their way out the door?  Certainly not.  Assistant coaches can’t afford to do that.  People who hire pay attention to how people handle being fired.

By making these comments to the press, Grant and Cunningham have done nothing to damage their chances of landing somewhere else in the future.

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SEC Headlines – 4/5/12

1.  It’s never too early to start projecting next year’s NCAA Tournament bracket, right?  Right?  (Congrats to Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.)

2.  The postseason football options before conference commissioners appear to be down to four (and none includes an eight-team plan as the NCAA’s president suggested earlier this week).

3.  Is Alabama’s offensive line actually too big?

4.  Auburn’s Jermaine Whitehead is making the move to safety this spring.

5.  New D-coordinator Paul Haynes wants versatile defensive ends at Arkansas.

6.  Rebel defensive back Dehendret Collins is now running on Ole Miss’ first-team defense.

7.  Mississippi State linebacker Chris Hughes is starting to come around after a troubled start to his career.

8.  New MSU hoops coach Rick Ray will retain George Brooks from Rick Stansbury’s staff.  (Phil Cunningham — nominated by Dee Bost to replace Stansbury will be looking for work.)

9.  Will Muschamp is hoping for a smoother second year at Florida.

10.  With Malcolm Mitchell working in the secondary, is Tavarres King ready to be Georgia’s #1 receiver?

11.  Kentucky hoops assistant Orlando Antigua may be the frontrunner for Duquesne’s head coaching job.

12.  John Calipari is hoping the Cats have six first-round NBA draft picks… but the players haven’t made up their minds yet.

13.  UK’s football team will draw stability from its offensive line this season.  (What?  UK football coverage?)

14.  Frank Martin is having to deal with potential transfers out of the South Carolina basketball program.

15.  Tennessee’s run game appears on the mend this spring.

16.  Aggie players like new coach Kevin Sumlin’s loud music at Texas A&M’s practices.

17.  Are we about to see the end of the Cinderella in college sports?

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Stansbury Appears To Fiddle While Starkville Burns

Scott Stricklin could have a real mess on his hands if things don’t turn around quickly in Starkville.  Mississippi State’s AD — already in the market for a new women’s basketball coach — might just have to jettison his men’s coach next month,

MSU has lost five games in a row.  While 19-10 overall, the Bulldogs’ SEC record has fallen to 6-8 and their RPI has cratered at 64.  Toss in a #61 strength of schedule rank and Rick Stansbury is on the verge of missing the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.  Making matters worse, State plays an old SEC West schedule meaning they’ve avoided doubling up with Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt the past few seasons.

On Sunday,’s Jason King had this to say about Stansbury’s lastest squad:

“Mississippi State has become the most underachieving squad in college basketball.  How a team with Dee Bost, Renardo Sidney, Arnett Moultrie and Rodney Hood can be 6-8 in a weak SEC is beyond me.”

Whether King is right or not doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that thousands of angry Bulldog fans suddenly have a national writer they can point to who shares their belief that the coach isn’t getting the most out of his players.

But it gets worse still.

Arnett Moultrie — who has led the SEC in double-doubles since transferring in from UTEP last offseason — said yesterday that he thinks he knows why the Dogs are only 6-8 in the SEC… no team unity:

“A five-game losing streak is unheard of at any level of basketball — especially when you’ve got all this talent… Everybody’s got their own agendas.”

Moultrie even said that he turns to his high school coach for advice rather than to his teammates due to the lack of camaraderie.  Asked if State could turn things around, Moultrie shockingly said, “Maybe not, probably not.” 

Meanwhile, teammate Dee Bost questioned the work ethic of his teammates:

“You have to be self-motivated.  If you’re not self-motivated then you shouldn’t be playing.  We lose five games in a row, and if you’re not willing to lay it all on the line to win right now, then something is wrong.”

Moultrie agreed with Bost on the work ethic front (so maybe some of these guys do see eye-to-eye):

“I see how (my teammates) come up here and say how bad they want to win and how bad they want to go to the Final Four, but everybody doesn’t work as hard as they say, with as bad as they want to win.”

If that weren’t bad enough, Stansbury’s statements on Monday only dug the hole deeper.  Asked about Moultrie’s “probably not” comment, the coach said:

“You wish he wouldn’t feel that way but, hey, if that’s what he said.”

Oh.  Asked if his team is becoming fractured, the 14th-year coach said:

“Ain’t no problems there… You win together and you lose together.  It’s easy when things don’t go well to separate.  The hard thing to do is to stay together and keep fighting.  And we’re still playing for a lot.”

Depending on the views of MSU’s AD and biggest boosters, the Dogs could be playing for their coach’s job. 

Now, perhaps Moultrie and Bost were simply speaking out of frustration and Stansbury is being honest when he says there are no chemistry problems in his locker room.  At least one player — a walk-on — echoes the coach’s view.

But the perception is still awfully bad:

* State is dropping game after game in a season that began with very high expectations.

* Players are squawking in the press.

* There’s been at least one player on the team with a questionable work ethic ever since Stansbury decided to chase the toxic-to-everyone-but-MSU Renardo Sidney three years ago.

* At the moment it looks like Stansbury will be stuck on four NCAA tourney wins through 14 seasons of work… unless his team can make a major run in the SEC tourney, land an at-large bid to the NCAAs, and grab a win in the Big Dance.

Stansbury — as we wrote last week — entered the season as the basketball version of Mark Richt.  Too long in one place, he needed a big year to silence his critics.

Now he can’t even silence his own players, much less angry fans.  And while State’s season goes up in flames, Stansbury provides quotes like “Ain’t no problem there” for his detractors to stew over.

It’s a little late for Christmas allusions, but to quote Charles Dickens: “If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race will find him here.”

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SEC Headlines – 1/26/12 Part One

Between doctors, vets and sales calls for my actual job, today’s going to require just a quick scan of the day’s headlines.  Here’s the first whip-around…

1.  Auburn has decided that if the oaks at Toomer’s Corner die as expected, they will be replaced by one or more new oaks.  (Kind of an obvious solution.)

2.  The Alabama basketball team is going backward.

3.  Boise State doesn’t expect to add Arkansas to its 2012 football schedule.

4.  Dee Bost had a big night for MSU last night… without scoring a lot of points.

5.  Ole Miss will look to pull the upset when #14 Florida visits the Tad Pad tonight.

6.  Rebel quarterback signee Bo Wallace was cited for underage possession of alcohol last Thursday.  Egad.

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SEC Headlines 1/15/2012

1. Will Auburn target the NFL again in its search for an offensive coordinator?

2. Will Muschamp: “The SEC is different because of the defensive lines.”

3. Was the 2011 Alabama defense the best unit in school history?

4. A new, golden age for the Crimson Tide?

5. Six Alabama players are headed to the Senior Bowl but due to injuries, only half of them may see any action.

6. With 13 starters returning, LSU looks good heading into 2012. Eight of 12 games in Tiger Stadium.  Non-conference schedule features North Texas, Washington, Idaho, and Towson.

7. Kentucky 65 -Tennessee 62.  Wildcats rally from eight-point second-half deficit.

8. Tennessee freshman Jarnell Stokes impresses in his debut. ”He looks like a Kentucky player.”

9. John Calipari:”I am so impressed with what Coach [Cuonzo] Martin has done.”

10. Auburn 69 – Ole Miss 68.  Tigers win in double-overtime.  “At least 20 of the Tigers’ 46 missed shots were either layups or uncontested looks from within five feet of the basket.”

11. Rebels just 9-for-28 from the field.

12. Mississippi State 56 – Alabama 52.  Dee Bost gets hot late and Bulldogs pull away. MSU 0-14 beyond the arc before late surge.

13. Vanderbilt 77 – Georgia 66. Difference at the free-throw line: Commodores hit 30 of 44 free throws. Georgia makes 16-of-20.

14. Arkansas 69 – LSU 60.  Freshman BJ Young scores 19 off the bench as the Razorbacks remain undefeated at home.

15. Razorbacks QB Brandon Mitchell will walk-on to the Arkansas basketball team.

16. Florida 79 – South Carolina 65.  Gators get first road win of the season as six scorers hit double-figures.

17. After half-time ceremony honoring the Gamecocks football team, Carolina falls flat in the second half.

18. Assessing Missouri and Texas A&M as potential rivals to Kentucky: “(T)he better bet from the two new SEC schools to become a genuine UK rival is Mizzou.”

19. NCAA votes down scholarship cuts but cost of living proposal goes to the next stage.


20. Tim Tebow and the Broncos need help. Tebow’s unclear future.

21. Did Cam Newton just have the best NFL rookie season ever?

22. Joe Paterno’s first interview since the Sandusky scandal hit.

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SEC Headlines – 1/6/12 Part Two

1.  Caesar’s Palace has released its future odds for the 2013 BCS Championship Game and LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia are among the top six favorites.

2.  Rob Chubb has been Auburn’s top hoopster so far this season.

3.  Mike Dyer’s exit from the Tiger football team will open the door for others.

4.  This writer believes Arkansas will need to be effective running the ball to beat Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl tonight.

5.  How will the Hogs look after their 42-day lay-off?

6.  This writer takes the Razorbacks in a 42-28 shootout.

7.  LSU will be without freshman Johnny O’Bryant (7.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg) when they open SEC play against Ole Miss tomorrow.  O’Bryant could miss a month of action with a broken bone in his hand.

8.  MSU point guard Dee Bost will look to break out of a slump against Arkansas tomorrow. 

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Bost Says MSU Not Playing With Heart

Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost has figured out what’s wrong with the Bulldogs following a 22-point loss at Georgia: they lack a certain critical organ that’s red and beats.

“Heart,” Bost said when asked what’s holding State back.  “That’s all that’s missing.  If we play with heart, and we compete, we should be in every game.  No way in the world we should keep losing by 20 or 10-plus (points).  All of our games should be close.”

So why no heart?

“Everybody practices hard, but then it seems like when the lights come on, we just go dead.”

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SEC Headlines – 1/11/11 Part Two

1.  Arkansas will be looking for some road success tomorrow at LSU.

2.  Here’s some more talk trying Garrick McGee to UConn and Tulsa.

3.  LSU’s Patrick Peterson wanted to enter the NFL draft while he’s “still young.”

4.  Throw another quarterback onto the fire at Ole Miss — Barry Brunetti is transferring in from West Virginia.

5.  Dee Bost and Mississippi State need to find their rhythm…

6.  Because things haven’t jelled yet for the SEC West Division favorite.

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MSU’s Bost Drawing Raves… Too Bad He’s Suspended

Due to an NCAA suspension and academic issues, Dee Bost will have to sit out Mississippi State’s first 14 games this season.  But that’s not preventing him from looking good in practice.

“We have a hard time guarding that one,” Rick Stansbury told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.  “I don’t want to go against too many better.  If we can guard him, we’re in pretty good shape.”

Bost averaged 34 minutes, 13 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists per game last year for the Bulldogs.  He is an All-SEC preseason selection.

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JaMychal Green named to All-SEC 1st team

Content provided by Alabama Basketball Blog.

Kind of surprised by this considering how the last 1/4 of the season turned out for him. We’ll need him to step up BIG TIME for us this season. I suspect him and Mitchell will carry the offensive load.

The rest of the 1st teamers:

Dee Bost, Mississippi State, G
JaMychal Green, Alabama, F
Scotty Hopson, Tennessee, G
Travis Leslie, Georgia, G
Chandler Parsons, Florida, F
Marshawn Powell, Arkansas, F
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt, F
Trey Thompkins, Georgia, F
Chris Warren, Mississippi, G

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