I am not writing this because I don't like Rick Stansbury. I"m doing it because I love Mississippi State. As an alumni of MSU, I want the best for it. And I believe a change in the basketball program would be best right now.
I'll start off by saying this: I never want to call out an individual player for their performance. As far as I am concerned, they are not professional athletes and they should not be criticized for the way they play. Now, you can criticize them for their lack of effort, but not because they did not perform to your expectations. I think it's up to the coach to take them out of the game if they are not performing. And if they aren't good enough, it's up to the coach to recruit better players.
So this post isn't about any specific player(s). It's about the collection of players that Stansbury has assembled. It's about a team of basketball players that don't seem to have any heart, that don't seem to enjoy playing at MSU, that State fans have a hard time embracing.
Basketball is a lot different than football. In football, there are 85 scholarship players who play on a field that is at a distance with a helmet and face-mask on. In basketball, there are 13 scholarship players who play on a court that is up close and you can easily see their faces. You feel like you know the basketball team. That can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing.
The problem with the 2012 Bulldog team is we don't like what we see. When you have beat writers talking about how this team has no respect for their coach things aren't good. Based off Arnett Moultrie's comments on Monday, things seem to be pretty bad. If indeed Stansbury is 'putting up' with bad attitudes, that should be a red flag right there. The next red flag is the lack of effort that seems to be on display at times.
I'm not sure there is anything worse than poor effort. I would rather watch a team of misfits play 100% than a bunch of guys with talent play uninspired. It all comes back to discipline. Why doesn't Stansbury force them to give maximum effort? If they are lolly-gagging on the court he should sit their butt on the bench. When this kind of 'I'll do what I want' attitude takes over, you can't win. Sports are emotional, if you don't have the right mindset than you can forget about it.
Right now State has two players on opposite ends of the spectrum: Rodney Hood and Renardo Sidney. I know there are good kids out there, kids that will work hard and compete; one of those two players is an example of what I'm talking about. Guys like Timmy Bowers, Shane Power, Derek Zimmerman...remember those guys Stans? Those are the guys you want. He doesn't have to take so many chances, but he does anyway. And we've seen where that gets us: transfers; and games like Saturday at Alabama where it seemed like the team could care less about the game.
Could Stansbury right the ship and start bringing back the quality, character players? Sure. But I'm going to be honest, I think he's lost his edge for recruiting. 14 years as the head coach can do that to you. You get complacent. I think Stansbury has taken too many chances and that's forced him to be busy baby-sitting when he should be focusing on basketball. For a coach of his stature I would say he has earned the right to maintain his job if he will accept this charge, but he probably won't. So this just adds to the list of reasons why it's time for him to go.