The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Howland preps basketball for third season

The Mississippi State University men’s basketball team will officially prepare for the upcoming season this afternoon at 2:45 p.m. with the team’s first practice of the season.

As practice begins coach Ben Howland  talked about the state of his starting five in a press conference on Wednesday. 

“Right now, everything is open,” Howland said. “That’s all going to be decided based on practice. Our players are going to have to compete and earn playing time.”

Competition is a key component of the first practices, with many returning players and all spots up for grabs. Howland said the competition will be most fierce at the backcourt positions, the group he believes is the strength of the team.

“What I am going to have to do is scheme the way we play to utilize those six guys in the best way possible to get quality minutes,” Howland said. “Which means we’re going to be playing small ball at times with four guards.”

Several players playing multiple positions will be a major storyline of the upcoming season.

“We have a lot of guys who are going to have to play multiple positions,” Howland said. 

Nick Weatherspoon, a true freshman guard, will be a major contributor coming into the season and the dynamic of him playing with his older brother and guard Quinndary Weatherspoon,  a junior, is something to watch going forward. Quinndary talked about his brother’s improvement since he last played with him.

“He’s improved his jump shot, the way he defends, just everything,” Quinndary said. “I’m excited to see what he’s ready to do on the college level.”

There is an overwhelming feeling of confidence among the players as practice is set to begin as noted by junior forward Aric Holman.

“We believe in each other, that’s the biggest thing,” Aric Holman said. “People will be ready to compete in a month for our games.”

Injuries have plagued a few of the Bulldogs throughout their careers but the team appears to be healthier than ever, which the players believe that will translate into a magical season. Xavian Stapleton, a junior guard, is among those, as he did not start playing with MSU until mid-season after tearing his ACL in the offseason.

“I haven’t been able to start a basketball season healthy in three years,” Xavian Stapleton said. “This summer I just had the chance to work on my game, get back in shape and do all the things I used to do. I’m really excited for this season; I feel great.”

As the season approaches, the college basketball world was hit with some heavy news on Tuesday evening. It was reported that multiple assistant coaches, advisors, agents and major shoe company Adidas were involved in illegal recruiting practices and are under FBI investigation. The result of which led to head basketball coach Rick Pitino being fired at the University of Louisville, a school that uses Adidas gear. 

Because MSU is also a school that uses Adidas gear, Howland was asked about the issue.

“Right now, with what happened yesterday [Tuesday] there is an ongoing investigation by the FBI with 10 indictments given out,” Howland said. “I’m going to make no comment because of the ongoing investigation by the federal bureau of investigation.”

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Howland preps basketball for third season