So the Mississippi St. Bulldogs Basketball team recently began its 2017-2018 campaign in the last few weeks with practices officially starting. This past Saturday the Dawgs had their first scrimmage. After back to back embarrassing losses on the gridiron, I for one was very much into hearing about the hardwood Dawgs and reading some juicy scrimmage stats. Here is my quick breakdown from what I saw and how I feel:
- Overall Howland said the game was a success, with the offenses flowing nicely through strong guard play and active bigs. In other words, Howland wants the Dawgs to get up and down the floor this year and I cannot wait to see this. Our current roster is as deep as it has ever been with highly recruited talent almost 10 deep. Expect Howland to rotate through our depth to keep everyone fresh and the offense running on high for 40 mins (hopefully).
- Eli Wright leading all scorers with 19 points is the most Eli Wright thing ever. I am a big fan of Mr. Wright and hope that he finds his game this year. He was a role player last year on a team that had no offensive identity. This year it should be much more defined offensively, and Wright, as an athletic winger, should thrive in a get up and go mentality.
- Schnider Herard, Aric Holman, and Abdul Ado all reaching 15+ points with Ado grabbing 7 rebounds is music to my ears. A fast paced offense can be difficult to run if you do not have multiple bigs to rotate and keep fresh. Schnider and Ado are true centers while Holman is a stretch PF/C who can shoot from outside so expect him to really enjoy running. Throw in E. J. Datcher who showed promise as a rotation big man for Schnider last year and we have something good in the low post this year. Keeping fresh bigs that can impose their will on tired defenses late in games could be huge this year.
- Newcomers Keyshawn Feazell and Nick Weatherspoon both showed out as Feazell accumulated 15 points with 5 rebounds while baby Spoon dished out 10 dimes. Baby Spoon is no surprise as he is the big freshman on campus. The idea of him and Lamar Peters in the same backcourt penetrating defenses should keep SEC coaches up at night. Feazell could be a pleasant surprise on this team if he can find a way to use his athleticism for defensive and rotation purposes.
- Q. Weatherspoon did Q. Weatherspoon things putting in 13 points and we should all expect him to be the leader of this team. Xavian Stapleton will no doubt improve upon a coming out party last year and got his with 16 points on the day. Tyson Carter should embrace his role as the sharp shooting bench scorer. Which if he is paired early on with Nick coming off the bench, expect Nick to drive at will and kick it to an open Carter…FOR THREE.
If you ask me the hype around this team is somewhat small, especially since Mario Kegler decided to transfer out (no comment). This is easily the most talented team State has had in the last 8 years and with the success of the Women’s team, basketball could be back in a big way in Starkville this fall.