It is without question that star freshmen are the face of today’s college game, as those who make the decision to go one-and-done have become the majority. Year by year another High school phenom steals the headlines, selecting which hat fits best for a lone season, ultimately setting the stage for an NBA future. Typically playing for a blue - blood program while under the lights, the first year talent’s brand skyrockets, being that scouts are likely in attendance and the game is usually televised. However, there is the occasional two, three, or even four year standout whose decision to stay in school goes beyond branding and the pro game.
From the moment an athlete puts on a collegiate jersey, the transition of their play to the pros becomes the talk of the town amongst those in and around the sport. Having said that, those who decide to stay another year or even all four set a different goal, in that winning, putting a “non blue-blood” program on the map, academics, and community suddenly rise above the NBA in terms of priority. In addition, Mississippi State junior guard Quinndary “Q” Weatherspoon has added a new attitude with positive energy in Starkville on and off the floor, taking on the role of a leader while averaging 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.
Now an upperclassman, Weatherspoon has put forth an exorbitant amount of growth and leadership this season, along with mental toughness while unfazed by the moment. Though the above could also be said about Weatherspoon as an underclassman, dating back to a 24 point performance against Vanderbilt, in which he nailed the game-winning three. The Bulldogs have shown promise this year, slowly but surely putting together what could be Mississippi State’s best season in recent memory. Already a weapon, Weatherspoon is one half of a dangerous sibling tandem that now includes his younger brother Nick, a freshman point guard averaging 11.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in his first season, making up a formidable backcourt able to compete in the SEC.
Although still early, playing alongside his brother has brought out the best in Weatherspoon’s game on both ends of the floor. He has also taken better care of the ball, resulting in less turnovers, an area that cost the Bulldogs throughout both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. Year three has been a different story. Teammates are looking to Weatherspoon as a leader, not only because of experience, but his understanding of how to finish games.
Born and raised in the state of Mississippi, Weatherspoon has a set of tools fit to write a story for the win column, university, city, and state. In seasons past, Mississippi State basketball has been an afterthought and further overlooked, resulting in a lack of attendance at Humphrey Coliseum, or “The Hump”. Weatherspoon now has the opportunity to turn the tide, leading a roster of young talent, one the Bulldogs’ best.
Still with plenty to learn himself, Weatherspoon possesses the heart of a lion. While alongside Nick and under coach Ben Howland, look for an even better leader and more vocal locker room presence. The SEC is better than its been, Mississippi State is better than its been, and Q Weatherspoon will only keep getting better than he’s been. There will be losses along the way, but make no mistake that Mississippi State basketball will be back sooner rather than later, in large part due to number 11.