State got some big help - literally - for a very thin front court this week as coach Rick Ray saw Shelton State CC small forward Travis Daniels and Mineral Area (Mo) CC PF Quantel Denson commit to play for Mississippi State in 2013.
Both Daniels (6'8") and Denson (6'9") should give State some immediate help next season on the front court, which was thinned out by the departure of Rodney Hood, Renardo Sidney, and Arnett Moultrie, among others. The current MSU roster lists four players 6 foot 7 inches or taller.
Daniels chose MSU over offers from Wichita State, Western Kentucky, and Southern Miss. He is also a former AAU teammate of current Bulldogs players Roquez Johnson and Craig Sword. Daniels said that was certainly part of the draw to come to State, along with his liking of the offense. Daniels is currently unranked by the major recruiting services, but with Rick Ray and staff zeroing in on him, I trust that he is a great fit for the offense and defense Ray wants to run. And I've already said it several times, but the height of Daniels will be an immediate help to this team.
Upon further review, Denson is a bit of a peculiar story. A seemingly talented player, Denson chose MSU over Marquette, Missouri, and Oklahoma State, among others. Quantel originally enrolled at Hutchinson CC, and had committed to Missouri before an arrest in mid 2011. The article then says he transferred to Paris Junior College, and now plays at Mineral Area JC. Paul Jones' article on Denson says that he transferred to Mineral from Hutchinson, so I'm not sure which is correct.
So, should we be worried about off-the-court issues with Denson? My take is: absolutely not. If there's one thing coach Ray has proven so far it's that players will be held accountable, unlike under the previous regime. I have to believe Ray and staff would not have taken a chance on Quantel if they didn't feel like he was past his issues.
On the court, Denson seems like a really good pickup. With offers from schools like Marquette and Missouri, he clearly has the talent that State needs down low. With junior college experience as well, he, like Daniels, could have an immediate impact next year for State, joining Wendell Lewis, Gavin Ware, and Colin Borchert on the low block.
Both Daniels and Denson join PG I.J. Ready of Little Rock, AR in the 2013 MSU recruiting class.