Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Gavin Ware's New Mindset

With one of the most successful coaches in college basketball now at the helm of the Mississippi State men's basketball program in Ben Howland, senior Gavin Ware can't contain his excitement about what is in store for the upcoming basketball season.

"(Coach Howland) has made it to the Final Four three times so I have ever confidence in him," said Ware. "Sometimes it is not what he says but how he says it. He says it with so enthusiasm and so much confidence. When he is looking you straight in your eyes and talking to you you can't help but believe what he is saying. Seeing other teams (of his) make it to the Final Four, I think we can be one of those teams."

Howland feels Ware is a key component in making this year's team successful. Ware is working hard on things that Howland has told him that he needs to work on. Rebounding is one of the most important things.

"You have to have the mindset to come in there as strong as you can and get that rebound. If not, then you have to block somebody else out so that your guys can have a better chance to get the rebound," said Ware. "People grab your jersey, elbow you. It is very tough. You also have to have that little sneaky attitude that you have to get that rebound."

Howland also explained to Ware about how he he could be an even better scorer in the post.

"What he told me that I needed to improve on was sealing the post," said Ware. "I kind of let guys get around me. He told me how to have better angles and I found that to be true. If I do seal, I score. If I don't seal and let them get around, then it is a turnover."

Ware is also trying to become a better screener for guards on the team. Not only will that give them a better chance to score but it could also lead to more open shots for him.

"If you are going to set a ball screen on a wing, then more than likely if your guy has to plug and help over, then you likely have a 50% chance that you are going to get the ball back and have a better shot," said Ware.

A side benefit of having a coach like Howland is how he prepares his players for the next level of basketball.

"(Coach Howland) has a coaching mindset that is like after college basketball," said Ware. "The moves that we work on are basic moves but the stuff he adds to them is the type stuff that helps you start a foundation for when you make it overseas are even in the NBA. That way, when professional coaches see you they will see that you already know those type moves. That is what he gives to you."

While he is excited about learning skills that will help him for his future in basketball, the thing he is most excited about is what could happen this season. He believes this year's team has a chance to be very good.

"We have more experience, five seniors and we also have key guys coming in who were tops in the nation at their position," said Ware, referring to freshman Malik Newman. "And not to reflect badly on anybody but during the practices in the last years we had turnovers, guys had poorer shot selections, poor on how to look into the post, poor as far as me getting double teamed and passing the ball out and getting a turnover. Now, we have better shot selection and everybody is being unselfish setting screens."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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