Mississippi State Basketball 2012-13 Preview: The Frontcourt

Wesley Hitt

The Bulldogs will be thin on the front line in '12-13.

I can't sugarcoat it. Mississippi State simply doesn't have much depth in the frontcourt entering the 2012-13 season. At least none that is proven. However, there are some talented guys in the bunch that could surprise Mississippi State fans.

Returning Players:

Wendell Lewis - 6'9 251 lbs. - Center - Senior.
2011-12 Stats: 33 games played, 6 starts. 3.8 ppg, 4 rpg, 62.5% fgs. 30 blocks.

Lewis is the only big on the roster with any significant experience. He looks the part physically, but how will he handle being the go-to player in the post?

Strengths: Runs the floor really well, knack for blocking shots, ability to finish at the rim in traffic

Weaknesses: Needs to develop post moves, disappears at times, effort could be better

Roquez Johnson - 6'7 210 lbs. - Forward - Sophomore
2011-12 Stats: 13 games played. 3.5 mpg, 11 rebs.

Johnson should have been redshirted last season, but injuries and Renardo Sidney's conditioning forced Roquez into the lineup a few times. He's still an unknown, but I'm interested to see how he's progressed in the off-season. High school teammate of freshman guard Craig Sword.

Strengths: Very athletic, good defender, high energy

Weaknesses: Ball skills, shooting

Newcomers:

Gavin Ware - 6'9 280 lbs. - Forward - Freshman
2011-12 Stats: (Starkville High School-MS) 17 ppg, 11 rpg, 5 bpg

Props to Rick Ray for hanging on to Ware. The Bulldogs need frontcourt help and the local product has the talent to contribute right away. Gavin was a consensus 4-star recruit out of Starkville High School. He's a big kid who can throw it down, but is also developing a mid-range game.

Strengths: Long arms, good hands, strong base

Weaknesses: Needs to continue to improve his face-up game, came to campus a little heavy (must control weight)

Colin Borchert - 6'8 231 lbs. - Forward - Junior
2011-12 Stats: (East Mississippi Junior College) 15.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 47% fgs

Borchert comes to MSU from right down the road in Scooba where he was a third-team NJCAA All-American. He's a classic stretch 4 player with the ability to play around the basket and also step out to the perimeter and make shots (41 3-pointers made last year). Borchert's ability to stretch defenses will open up scoring opportunities for Rick Ray's team.

Strengths: Skill level, shooting, decent finisher, does a little bit of everything

Weaknesses: Not a true post guy, may struggle against taller players, needs to improve strength

OVERALL ASSESSMENT: This group will be at its best when they are able to get out and run in transition. Ware's development could be the reason the Bulldogs win a few games they shouldn't.

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