Archive for March, 2008

Gordon feels he has to test the NBA waters

March 31, 2008

Following Monday night’s Howell Trophy presentation in Tupelo, I asked Jamont Gordon about his future at Mississippi State and his plans to test the NBA waters.

“I love basketball, and I love college basketball,” he said. “But my dream is to play in the NBA.”

When the TV folks walked away, I then asked when he’ll make his decision. He said he’s going home this weekend to discuss the situation with his family and advisors and hopes to have an answer by Tuesday at the latest.

Then I said, “But you’ve got to test the waters, right?”

He responded by saying, “I’m definitely going to test it, but I’m not going to hire an agent.”

So I guess that means he’s definitely going to test the waters, which is what his coach, Rick Stansbury, said he should do.

And by not hiring an agent, he can come back for his senior season if he feels he won’t get drafted where he wants.

If he does test the the waters, and it appears he definitely will, he has until mid-June to take his name out of the hat.

If you feel confused, don’t worry. When I finished talking with him, I too was a little confused. But when all was said and done, I think he said he was definitely going to declare himself eligible.

Jamont Gordon wins Howell Trophy

March 31, 2008

Mississippi State’s Jamont Gordon has been named the 2008 Cellular South Howell Trophy winner.

Jennifer Rushing of Delta State won the Gillom Trophy.

Hey, it’s the real opening day

March 31, 2008

Sorry, opening day in MLB should always be a Monday. So, happy Opening Day! None of this Japan, or Sunday night stuff.

Let’s revisit favorite teams.

Most of you know I’m a huge New York Yankees fan (will be going May 15-18 for final trip at old Yankee Stadium).

What about you guys. What color glasses do you wear?

Stansbury named COY finalist

March 31, 2008

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury is one of five national finalists for the 2007-08 Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award.

The award will be presented this week at the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio. The other finalists are Mark Few of Gonzaga, Stanford’s Trent Johnson, Oregon’s Ernie Kent, and Bob McKillop from Davidson College.

The selection committee is comprised of Dan Beebe, Jay Bilas, Dave Gavitt, Bob Hammel, Bob Knight, Pete Newell, Billy Packer, Dean Smith, and Dick Vitale.

Basketball is back, at least for a night

March 31, 2008

Yes. I know. Basketball ended with the loss to Memphis. However, Mississippi State takes center stage tonight here in Tupelo with the presentation of the Howell Trophy.

The Bulldogs are represented by Charles Rhodes and Jamont Gordon, while the third finalists is Ole Miss’ Dwayne Curtis. I’ll be on hand for the evening’s festivities.

In other news, track and field athlete Annie Falor and football player Dezmond Sherrod have been nominated by Mississippi State University for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship, which is presented by the Southeastern Conference since 1986 to the league’s top male and female scholar-athletes. The winner will be announced on April 6.

As for today’s reading, Georgia takes the series with a 5-3 win against Mississippi State in 10 innings.

MSU drops series

March 30, 2008

Georgia rallied to post a 5-3 win against Mississippi State on Sunday in 10 innings as it takes two of three on the weekend.

The loss dropped MSU to 11-15 on the year, 2-7 in SEC play. Georgia improves to  15-10, 6-3.

Mississippi State travels to Kentucky next weekend seeking its first series win of the year. To get ready, the Bulldogs host Austin Peay on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Quiet at the ol’ ballpark

March 30, 2008

Maybe it’s the threat of rain, or perhaps everyone is just tired from Saturday’s festivities, but whatever the case, there’re plenty of seats at Dudy Noble Field.

And we’re just moments from first pitch.

If any of you want, we’ll chat. But only if you’ll provide basketball updates.

It should also be noted seconds prior to the umpire chat with both coaches, the entire Georgia team came out of the dugout to shake hands with Ron Polk to say good-bye. Last week, of course, Polk announced he’ll resign at the end of the year.

Rain, rain stay away

March 30, 2008

Hopefully, rain won’t ruin a good day for baseball at Dudy Noble Field.

Mississippi State needs to play and more importantly, it needs a win. The Bulldogs are 11-14 on the year, 2-6 in the SEC. MSU and UGA get at it today at 1:30 p.m.

As for that weather stuff, here’s the hour-by-hour forecast.

Today’s reading . . .
• Defense shines in spring-ending scrimmage.

And that’s a wrap

March 29, 2008

For spring football that is.

The Maroon team wins 6-0 on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Chris Relf to Co-Eric Riley in overtime. And sports fans, that was the lone offensive highlight of the day.

Unless, of course, you count all the turnovers and pre-snap penalties. However, MSU coach Sylvester Croom said not to read too much into Saturday’s production. After all, it was a bland spring game.

As for the rest of spring, he saw improvement from an offensive standpoint and is confident about what 2008 has in store.

“We’ve still got to up our tempo on offense, particularly with the change to the 40-second clock,” he said. “We’ll spend a lot of time, as many as we can with our conference officials, when we practice in the fall so we can get a true feel for what the change is going to be like in the ball games.”

He also said backup quarterback Tyson Lee, also a walk-on, will be on scholarship by the fall. Saturday, Lee was 12-of-21 passing for 127 yards and an interception.

In other news, MSU dropped a 5-1 decision to Georgia in baseball and now the series is even at 1-apiece. Sunday’s rubber match is set for 1:30 p.m.

And in case you haven’t read the Daily Journal today, here are your MSU stories:
Law & Order bites the Bulldogs again.
Ron Polk explains his decision to retire.

Were more players involved?

March 29, 2008

Noticeably missing from Saturday’s spring game were Rodney Prince, Jamon Hughes and Anthony Johnson.

I asked Sylvester Croom if their absence had anything to do with Thursday’s gunshot incident that led to felony charges and the arrest of Mike Brown and Quentin Wesley.

In response to the question, the fifth-year Mississippi State coach said, “You’ve got the rosters. Watch the film and figure it out for yourself.”

He declined further comment, saying, “Any comments on personnel, any comments that have to do with the incident the other day, I’ll make when all the dust settles.”

Now note, Anthony Johnson didn’t participate in spring drills due to the broken ankle he suffered against Ole Miss last November. However, he’s been at other practices, while all the other injured players, guys like Dominic Douglas, Josh Riddell and Christian Ducre, were all on hand Saturday.

So if I’m figuring it out on my own, as suggested by the coach, then I guess I’m to assume they were somehow involved. Who knows.

As for the game itself, not exactly an offensive highlight reel.

It went into overtime, I kid you not. At that point, it was 0-0. Finally, Chris Relf connected with Co-Eric Riley for a 26-yard touchdown to lift the Maroon team to the 6-0 victory.

Record books indicate it was the first overtime for a spring game in NCAA history. Just kidding, of course. Well, I think I am.

Life from Dudy Noble

March 28, 2008

It’s time for some baseball.

Today marks my first game since the College World Series, and I’m just not sure what to expect.

Of course, the game tonight is secondary. The news evolves around Ron Polk’s announcement on Thursday that he’s retiring. Tonight, he’ll comment for the first time on his decision to step down at year’s end. Hopefully, anyways. I’m banking on it, because that’s why my story is supposed to be on.

If you all want to chat during the game, we will. If not, oh well. That’s baseball.

How about a prediction on the weekend . . .
• How many games will MSU win against Georgia.

Two football players dismissed from team, school

March 28, 2008

Football players Mike Brown and Quinton Wesley have been dismissed from school and the football team for felony charges, according to a university-issued release.

The police report states the two student-athletes were arrested following a Thursday night campus incident involving two handguns. However, no one was injured and the weapons were recovered by university police officers.

Brown is charged with possession of a firearm and Wesley with aggravated assault, both felonies.The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Zacharias Village , a group of four resident halls at the northeast corner of campus.

Their dismissal from school is pending a campus judicial hearing.

When asked if there’s a possibility of the two players returning to school, an agitated MSU coach Sylvester Croom said, “It’s probably best I not talk right now. Plus, anything I say would be based on speculation. I’d rather wait until all the facts come out.”

A time of confusion at MSU?

March 28, 2008

I’d definitely say so.

Just look at the scrambled picture that leaves one with a migraine.

First off, there’s leadership strongly lacking at the top, as well as the bottom. Robert “Doc” Foglesong’s days as president are nearing an end. Monday, to be exact. Then, Dr. Vance Watson takes over on an interim basis. But how much power will he actually have?

Then there’s the athletic department. Talk about strange and uncomfortable.

There’s currently two athletic directors in the Bryan Building, and I’m not really sure if there’s one. Who’s calling the shots? Larry Templeton, who is on his way out? Or Greg Byrne, who is on his way in? I’m not even sure if they know. And is this a seamless transition? There’s a lot of nervousness and concern in the building right now, and rightfully so.

And of course, the balance of power, or the lack thereof, is even more magnified due to the resignation of Ron Polk on Thursday.

Who’s going to conduct a search for his replacement? Will there be a search? Polk has already publicly endorsed current assistant and former standout Tommy Raffo. Then there’s a large faction calling for the hiring of John Cohen, another former MSU great that’s now overseeing Kentucky baseball and doing a pretty good job.

But what if Cohen is hired at MSU? I mean, Polk did endorse Raffo? Talk about a more uncomfortable scene.

It’s just crazy. And no one wants to talk, which is about as ridiculous as snow in the deep south in May.

Think about it. One of the biggest names in college baseball steps down and no one in power wants to talk about his accomplishments or the legacy he leaves behind.

Are you kidding me? Sometimes, public relations as a whole at MSU leaves a little something to be desired, and this was one of those cases. But Thursday really left me shaking my head. To be honest, I’ve never seen anything like this.

But I will say, it’s time for somebody on campus to step up, take charge and show leadership. Now. Enough of this walking on eggshells stuff.

And if that means Larry Templeton, whom I have the utmost respect for and still question his removal, walking away next week rather than the end of June, then that move needs to be made. He’s in a lame duck situation complicated by the fact that the guy who fired him, Foglesong, is now mysteriously out the door himself. Gee, who will do the flyovers now?

Somebody needs to do what’s best for the university. Otherwise, it’s going to be the great Mississippi State University that suffers in the end.

OK. You get to hire the next baseball coach . . .

March 27, 2008

Who do you offer the job to?

A Tommy Raffo or John Cohen type, or someone else?

Mum is the word

March 27, 2008

Not sure why, but both Ron Polk and Larry Templeton have decided not to comment until the conclusion of Friday’s game with Georgia.

Oh well. Hopefully, some of the players will talk tonight.

Ole Miss’ Mike Bianco did talk, and wanted to talk, about Polk. He had some neat things to say, and you can read them in the newspaper in the morning.

Ron Polk announces resignation

March 27, 2008

Legendary Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk announced on Thursday afternoon he will retire at the end of the season.

The Bulldogs are currently 10-13 on the year and play host to Georgia this weekend.

“It goes without saying that we are m ost appreciative of the outstanding job Ron Polk has done for Mississippi State baseball,” Templeton said. “His decision does not come as a surprise because we had a conversation about this timeline even before the season started.”

Polk is in his 29th season at MSU and 35th as a college coach.

Templeton said one of the reasons the move was made now was to allow plenty of time to conduct a thorough search.

Polk announces pitching rotation

March 27, 2008

With Justin Pigott out again due to a shoulder injury, MSU baseball coach Ron Polk will turn to Tyler Whitney on Friday in the series opener against Georgia.

On Saturday, Lee Swindle will get the call, while Ricky Bowen will close out the three-game set on Sunday. Polk also added reliever Aaron Weatherford (shoulder) and second baseman Brandon Turner (hamstring) will not play.

It’s Super Bulldog Weekend, too, which means MSU will wrap up football practice with the annual spring game at noon on Saturday.

Chris Garrett speaks

March 26, 2008

I just got off the telephone will Chris Garrett, who talked about his decision to commit to LSU earlier today.

Here’s what the Tupelo quarterback had to say.

(Was this one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever made?)
“By far. I’m always going to love Mississippi State. The hardest thing was telling Coach Croom, because we really had a good relationship. He handled it good, I thought. He didn’t act mad about it, so I thought that was really good.”

(You’ll be going to a program that’s not in short supply of quarterbacks. Did you weigh that into your decision?)
“Yes sir. But you have to be confident in your own abilities and confident in what you can do. I just feel if I go down there, work as hard as I can, I’ll start for them one day.”

(I’m sure you’ve had a few people already express an opinion or two about your decision)
“They have. But you know, I can’t worry about what other people think or say or how they react. I have to do what’s best for me. And what’s best for me is playing at LSU.”

(Why the change of mind?)
“It was hard. But I went down there for Junior Day, and they took us around and showed us the campus, academic center and football facilities, and I was really impressed. I met most of the coaches and something about the place just stuck with me. And I loved it when I went back a few weeks ago. I sat in on a quarterback meeting and was really impressed with the direction of the offense. I came back home, prayed about it and knew it was where I wanted to be.”

And in other news today . . .

March 26, 2008

In case you missed it, here are a few news items to ponder if you need a Chris Garrett break.

• Jamont Gordon was named second-team All-American by Rivals.com.
Tennessee’s Chris Lofton has minor leg injury.

Garrett going to LSU

March 26, 2008

Standout Tupelo quarterback Chris Garrett has decided he wants to play his college football at LSU.

He informed Tigers coach Les Miles of his decision on Wednesday morning.

“He’s been praying about it for weeks, and he thinks this is what’s best for his future and career,” his father, David Garrett told me this morning. “It’s tough for him, because he’s been a Mississippi State fan his entire life. He loves Coach Croom and the staff, but just feels LSU is what’s best for his future and chance to play in the NFL.”

He went on to say how tough it’s been for the entire family, especially considering Chris’ older brother is already at Mississippi State.

Garrett committed to MSU last October and has since received five other offers, including Ole Miss, Florida State, Nebraska and Colorado. And like he originally planned to do at Mississippi State, Garrett will enroll at LSU in January of 2009.

“I just don’t want people to think he’s not a man of his word,” David Garrett said. “He really struggled with the decision. He committed to State when he was 16, but when other opportunities began to open, he realized LSU was the right fit. Again, you can’t imagine how tough it’s been.”