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Monday Morning Coffee Break

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As almost all of you know by now, MSU signed their first late signing period prospect, Dietric Slater (Pronounced: DI-trick). Dietric is a 6-3, 190 pound guard from Wayne County High School in Waynesboro, Mississippi.

Averaging 30.3 ppg, 14.7 rpg, 4.3 apg and 2.5 spg, he was twice selected for Class 5A first-team all-state laurels from the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC). He was also selected to The Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen Basketball Team prior to his senior season.

Slater joins previously announced Mississippi State basketball signees Travis Outlaw, a 6-9, 210-pound forward from Starkville (Miss.) High School, and Gary Ervin, a 5-11, 175-pound point guard from Notre Dame Prep School in Massachusetts by way of Brooklyn's Paul Robeson High School in New York.

MSU is still looking at other prospects including McComb High School's Jackie Butler, Damion Staple and a Polish high school player.

Butler, due to AAU problems, has to be cleared by the NCAA before MSU will be able to do anything with him. He also has a significant amount of academic work to do.

Staple, who is originally from Jamaica, is a new one for me. I hadn't heard of him until a poster on my premium site mentioned him. He is a 6-8, 235 PF/C type player who plays for junior college Southeastern Illinois College. He made the 2003 National Junior College Tournament All-Tournament Team after scoring 13.7 ppg and grabbing 7.3 rpg. He is considered a High-Major talent by at least one recruiting service.

The Polish prospect is a kid who is similar to former MSU forward Michal Ignerski, although, according to info that I have on him, he is more of a project. Hence, if he signed with MSU, it would probably be a couple of years before he would contribute.

MSU was looking at a couple of other players but one, Alexander Johnson, was on the no-no list by the SEC, so MSU had to stop recruiting him. Cincinnati, Florida State, Indiana and UConn are the schools he has narrowed his list down to. The other player, Reggie George, a PF from Notre Dame Prep School signed with Iowa State.


As Coach Polk loves to say; That's baseball!

Truer words couldn't be said about the wacky weekend that SEC baseball had the past three days.

The East came in with no team over .500 in conference play. So, what happened? Eastern Division teams South Carolina and Vanderbilt each won two of three against MSU and LSU, both of whom were among the top three in the SEC West.

Then, one of the hottest teams in the nation, Auburn, lost two at home to Arkansas. However, after looking at Auburn's home and away records, that shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise, since Auburn was 17-6 at home and 12-2 on the road prior to this weekend's series. And Arkansas was 7-2 on the road.

Lucky for MSU, no ground was lost to LSU and Auburn - the two teams that came into this weekend ahead of MSU in the SEC West - because all three won 1 and lost 2 this weekend.

However, there is a log-jam in the West, nevertheless, with the fifth and sixth place teams, Ole Miss and Alabama, 2.5 and 3.5 games behind the leader, LSU.

Next up for MSU in SEC play is the Florida Gators in Gainesville.

Florida will be a very tough challenge for State because they play extremely well at home, as evidenced by their 26-4 home record. On the road is another story since Florida is 2-8-1, which is the second worst road record of any team in the SEC. Too bad MSU is not playing them in Starkville.


Recruiting is upon us...

Yep, recruiting is upon us once again. With the college football spring evaluation period just around the corner, look for MSU's football coaches to head out on the recruiting trail in about a week.

This looks to be a very solid year in Mississippi, especially the positions of wide receiver, defensive end and defensive tackle. Even though academics could be a problem with some of the best players in the state, look for MSU coaches to be hitting the high schools in Mississippi hard and heavy. Email me if you see or hear of an SEC coach - not just MSU, but any school - visiting your part of the state.

Update on the ongoing NCAA investigation of MSU...

As some of you know, the NCAA investigation talk has surfaced again. This time, mostly fans of other schools - and a few MSU fans - are saying the NCAA is going to come down hard on MSU football.

Unless there is a smoking gun or two out there that I don't know about, I really don't see anything major being handed down by the NCAA once the investigation is completed. I'm not going to sugar coat it by saying I know for sure that MSU will not receive an official letter of inquiry or have stiff penalties handed down if they are found guilty of anything, but I can say, based on what I know at this time, it appears to not be something that will be major in nature such as what Alabama and Ole Miss received the past few years.

By the way, about the only thing that I feel could have been a smoking gun was the Tommy Kelly/Demetric Wright situation of a couple of summers ago when they both attended EMCC-Mayhew and lived at the Ramada Inn in Starkville, which is about 11 miles from the EMCC-Mayhew branch. However, based on what I have heard, that appears to have been all but cleared up.

Have a great Bulldog week!

Gene Swindoll

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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