Behind the scoring of sophomores Mario Austin (forward) and Timmy Bowers (two guard), the Mississippi State basketball team, before a crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 fans, showed excellent scoring potential in a scrimmage that consisted of three periods (one 20 minute and two 10 minute).

Bowers, showing significant maturity and confidence in his offensive game, scored 32 points. Not only was he the leading scorer, but he was also the high man with 6 three-pointer's. Several of his three's were scored with a hand in his face. Timmy looks like he is going to be one of those guys that has no fear taking the last shot in a tied up game. That is the type player that MSU has lacked the past few years.

Austin was a close second with 25 points. Mario, now a slimmed down 254 pounds, showed excellent moves around the basket and, like Bowers, shot the ball very, very well. Like Bowers, I feel he is another one of those players that will want the last shot in a tied game.

Junior point guard Derrick Zimmerman, seeming to have continued where he left off at the end of last year, controlled the tempo of the game. Although he still did not show a consistent outside shot, he was not afraid to drive to the basket on the offensive end, and unlike years past he consistently finished his drive with a basket. He contributed 19 points (1 three-pointer).

Senior small forward Michael Gholar, showing confidence in his shot, also had an excellent day shooting the ball after starting off a little slow. He wound up with 21 points. Included in the 21 points were 3 three's.

Of the newcomers, 6-foot-4, 175-pound, freshman combo guard/forward Winsome Frazier looked the best on offense. He scored 18 points (2 three's). Keep an eye out for this youngster. I have seen him play twice now and he played in high gear both times.

Of the three other newcomers, 6-foot-9, 225-pound, junior forward Michael Ignerski looked to be the most ready to play this season. He showed ok shooting ability (scored 13 points. 1 three-pointer), played smart on the court and showed good skill level. 7-foot-1, 257-pound, freshman center Marcus Campbell, looking like a true inside player, made 5 two-point baskets and 1 free throw (11 points). His shot consisted mostly of 10 footers and in. Showing very good mobility for a big man, he has a nice turnaround jumper that is difficult to block because of his height. I also liked how he always wanted the ball thrown into him while he was on offense and near the basket. I got the impression that he is one of those players that wants the chance to take the last shot when the score was tied. The final newcomer, 7-foot-2.5, 230-pound center Wesley Morgan, started out slow but scored 6 points in the final two periods.

Marckell Patterson played about the same as he played last year. He wound up with 11 points (1 three-pointer).

6-foot-9, 270-pound, sophomore center Lincoln Smith showed solid ability and scored 11 points.

6-foot-5, 210-pound, freshman forward Ontario Harper showed good ability and shot the ball a little better than I was expecting him too. He scored 11 points (1 three-pointer).

Guy Gardner, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound, senior point guard, played with excellent effort and scored 10 points (2 three-pointers). Guy has been put on scholarship this season.

Sophomore Roy Goffer, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard, also got into game action but did not score.

Although the team showed excellent scoring ability, Coach Stansbury told me that his team has a ways to go on defense and that will be something that he and his coaches put a lot of effort into at practice. He feels the skill level is very good on this team and they are all hard workers. Newcomer Michael Ignerski has particularly impressed him with his skill level. He is also impressed with the overall quickness of the team.

Just my opinion but I feel that they have the potential to be an excellent transition team due to the quickness and ball handling of players like Zimmerman, Patterson, Bowers, Frazier, Harper, Gholar and even Austin to an extent. I also like how this team talks to each other while on the court.

The next time the team has a scrimmage open to the public make plans on being there. I think you are going to like what you see.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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