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So...Who is Rick Ray

Reports started surfacing, and the Commercial Dispatch's Matthew Stevens confirmed that Clemson Associate Head Coach Rick Ray has been hired as the new basketball coach at Mississippi State Sunday. This prompted a common reaction from Bulldog fans, one that had them crinkle their face, shrug their shoulders, and say who?

Hope this helps.

Rick Ray (on twitter at @rickray1) spent two seasons on the Clemson bench as the associate head coach, primarily working with recruiting and guard (something we have little of) play for the Tigers. He worked with the Tiger's guards in 2010-2011, and he helped Demontez Stitt earn third team All-ACC honors. Andre Young, another guard, also led the ACC in assist-turnover ratio.

It looks like there will be a similar offense and defense run by the Bulldogs under the coach; he worked with helping install a motion offense and man-to-man defense at Clemson. My hunch is we will see less zone defense than seen at Mississippi State under Rick Stansbury. It seems a bit unlikely that Ray would switch into the zone defense at times the Bulldogs did this year (thinking Kentucky in the closing minutes).

Before going to Clemson, he served as an assistant coach for the Purdue Boilermakers, a team for which he played an important role in the recruiting process. In 2006-2007, he helped Purdue sign a class that was ranked fifth nationally by

He also has served stints at Northern Illinois, as a recruiting coordinator, and Indiana State.

Among the praises heaped upon him when hired by the Tigers were that he is an outstanding coach and recruiter.