New Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Ray will address the Bulldog Nation in just a few minutes. You can watch it live, or you can keep up with interesting quotes, notes, and observations here. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions as well.
Here we go...
As we wait to get started, I have to say I am impressed by the names in attendance that Bob Carskadon has tweeted out. Glad to see broad support from the programs.
10:35--Here we go...nice applause and a rousing rendition of Hail State in The Hump
10:36--Scott Stricklin begins...fans will get to meet the coaches after a few interviews. Many people helped with the search. One person in particular--Dr. Mark Kennum.
10:37--Scott Stricklin--Our traits that we look for: Work ethic, competitive intensity, intelligence and the ability to sell Mississippi State to recruits and fans. We think that is a proven record for us. In Rick Ray, we have a man who has those traits. Rick is ready to be a head coach.
10:40--Stricklin is harping on Ray's success with recruiting at every stop in his career. Interesting that this has come about given the time.
10:40--Stricklin--Rick Ray is going to help us create great experiences in the sport of men's basketball.
10:41--Rick Ray at the podium...gives the crowd more cowbell!
10:41--Mom-in-law jokes...always a winner. From listening to this, this hire went down very quickly after he spoke with Mississippi State officials in New Orleans.
10:42--Ray likes that fans are excited, and he enjoys the anticipation about the things that will happen with the program. He said Bully takes better pictures than him.
10:43--Ray--Stansbury did an unbelievable job of building this program and laying a foundation. I want to make sure that I acknowledge him for the job he has done here...He is a guy I can learn from. He knows the ins and outs of Mississippi basketball.
10:44--Crediting all the people along the way. Starts with Royce Waltman. Talking about Indiana State--it is a tough job. We went in there and go that thing turned around. We went to back-to-back NCAA tournaments and won two Missouri Valley Conference Championships. Then I moved on to N. Illinois. NIll never won a MAC championship. We went in there and won a MAC Championship, then I went on to Purdue. Matt Painter is a guy who knows basketball, knows how to recruit, knows how to run a program. I never want to walk off of this court knowing another team played harder than us or tougher than us. We are going to fight you. I am looking forward to instilling this trait into this basketball team.
10:47--I was waiting for the right opportunity. I've been offered some jobs that I didnt think were quite right for me and my family. This job came along, and it was a no brainer.
10:49--We will be successful. I don't know how to lose. If you are coming from a winning program, you know how to win. I think the guys on the team are looking forward to that.
10:50--I believe in individual player development. The team doesn't get better unless that individual gets better. He just mentioned Rodney Hood by name.
10:51--We want the guys to have ownership of the team. We are going to win and lose based on how good of a basketball player they end up becoming.
10:52--Says system is going to be based on integrity--going out and doing things the right way. Also, his system is based on toughness. You have to have a system to overcome a bad recruiting year.
10:53--"I want to make sure I put a team on this court that you guys can support and feel good about."
10:53--Reaching out to fans, alumni, students for support of the players going forward.
10:54--"This is going to be an exciting brand of basketball offensively. I really believe in pushing the basketball on the fast break." Says players have to do it. "The key to fast breaking--rebounding. If you can't get a rebound, you can't fast break." "We are going to push the basketball and put people on their heels right away. We want to make sure we are going to run a motion offense. Motion offense does one thing. It allows guys who are good enough the freedom and opportunity to go make plays."
10:55--"I am going to put together a fantastic staff. I want guys to have the same value and core feelings about basketball that I have. I'm not going to rush this. I want a well-rounded guy." I want guys that are hungry and want to learn to be a complete coach.
10:58--"As a basketball coach, I want to go out and connect with our players." He has talked to players, parents, coaches, AAU people on the phone. He wants the players to have the best while at Mississippi State.
10:59--"All I ask you to do is throw away your doubts, and your fears. Go two feet in with Mississippi State basketball and see what happens. If it doesn't happen, then you can be judgmental, but don't be judgmental now. We are going to put a brand of basketball on the court that all of you guys can be proud of."
11:00--Question and answer time--Rodney Hood getting a bunch of mentions...coach has made sure to say that Hood is not the only guy. He is there to reach out to all of them. He said the end of the year actions of people leaving did not really impact his decision because those things happen when there are coaching changes. He said Mississippi is the most important part of his recruiting strategy.
Interesting...he would like to retain at least one guy from the current staff if they have the same philosophy, and if he can trust them.
And...we're out....thanks for dropping by!