A Q&A With Shaun Smith

Gene's Page talks one-on-one with Mississippi State redshirt freshman basketball player Shaun Smith.

After having to sit out his true freshman season due to an injury and subsequent surgery, redshirt freshman two guard/small forward Shaun Smith is finally able to suit up for the Mississippi State Bulldog basketball team. Shaun took time out of his busy schedule to talk one-on-one with Gene's Page about the upcoming season.

I know you were injured last season. What exactly was your injury
"I had a hip injury, bone spurs. It happened in high school. And I had a surgery in high school but I guess it kind of flared back up and this year in January I went to Nashville and Dr. Byrd cleared it up for me. I got cleared (to play) in June."

Are you able to do everything 100% now?
"I'm now doing everything 100%."

What kind of player will Bulldog fans see when they see you on the court this season?
"They can expect to see a versatile player on the offensive end. And I've been working on my shot a lot during the offseason and it's improved a lot. And during the early morning workouts I've been doing ball-handling and things like that to help me get ready for the season."

What all are you doing during the early morning workouts?
"First, we do ball-handling, then we do a lot of shooting drills. Then, at the end of the workouts we play one-on-one. I go against Riley (Benock) on Mondays and Wednesdays. And it's me and Jalen (Steele) on Thursday mornings."

Why do you go against them, because you are playing the same position?
"Yeah, we are pretty much playing the same position."

What are you trying to accomplish in the one-on-ones?
"It's basically three dribbles and the game goes to eight. It's a competitive game, really."

How have you done so far?
"I've been doing pretty good (laugh)."

With Jarvis Varnado and Barry Stewart both graduated, that's a lot of defense and scoring missing from this team. With those two gone, what will your role be on this year's team?
"From what I have been hearing, my role will kind of be like an energy guy. I will play defense and get some offense going."

What position or positions will you be playing?
"Two and three."

What have the coaches told you they want you to do?
"They have told me that I can be like a good key player for the team, knowing that we are missing Barry Stewart and Phil Turner. The main thing they want me to improve is my defense and speed."

How are you trying to improve your defense?
"During conditioning, when we do defensive slides, I try to do those real fast so I can see where I am at."

What is it like knowing you will finally be able to put on the MSU uniform and play in real games?
"I'm kind of anxious to get on the court for the first time and play in an actual college game."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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