MSU Men's Basketball's Best Recruiting Class Ever?

Today is the beginning of the always important spring signing period. The telephones and internet message boards will be busier than Christmas Eve at Wal-Mart. In fact, within the next few days, Bulldog fans everywhere may believe that Christmas has come early. And for good reason. Mississippi State's coaching staff is expected to sign at least two players, Jamont Gordon and Bernard Rimmer, that could help make this recruiting class something special.

According to Scout.com's National Recruiting Director Dave Telep, the signing of those two players should make this the best recruiting haul that Mississippi State basketball has ever had.

"This class is the kind you can build a foundation from," said Telep. "Mississippi State's recruiting class was already ranked sixth after the fall signing period. With the signing of Gordon and Rimmer, Mississippi State's class should move into the elite group of the top 5 in the nation."

While those words will excite any Bulldog fan, what Telep said next is even more cause for celebration in the world of the Maroon and White.

"In the nine years I have been doing this, this class is probably the best that Mississippi State has ever signed and they have signed some unbelievable classes in the past," said Telep, one of the most respected men in the business.

When you consider the recruiting success Rick Stansbury and company has had with past classes, that is a big statement, but one Telep easily explains.

"The group that Mississippi State will sign is a very diverse class," said Telep. "They all can do something different. You have guards who can do different things and aren't the same type players. You have a big man inside and an athletic forward. It is a group that all have the talent to play on the level of the SEC."

It starts with the big man and Mississippi State signed a good one last fall in Vernon Goodridge (6-9, 220, Lutheran Christian), Scout.com's 3rd rated center and 21st best player in the nation. While no one's ready to say he's the next Erick Dampier, a player who helped lead State to the Final Four, he's got some characteristics that Erick had while playing for Mississippi State.

"I think the strengths of Vernon's game lie in the fact that he can run, rebound and block shots," said Telep. "He is an excellent athlete, especially on the defensive end where he uses his athleticism to impact games. I think he will come into college, strong enough, athletic enough and ready to help out on that end of the floor."

You also have a solid forward, Bernard Rimmer (6-6, 190, Bridgton Academy), who is the spark plug type player that Mississippi State seems to always come up with. You need energy off the bench, well, according to Telep, Rimmer fills the bill.

"Bernard Rimmer, who is an SEC caliber athlete, is the kind of player who should be able to give you a good 10 minutes of energy coming off the bench," said Telep, who has seen Rimmer play several times.

An excellent defensive big man and a solid forward are both great starts, but the guards are what sets this class apart.

While the entire Mississippi State fanbase knows about Lanier High School guard Monta Ellis, the 2nd ranked player in the nation according to Scout.com and a player who can play either point guard or two-guard, Mississippi State also signed three other guards who bring a different style of play than Ellis.

"Reginald Delk (Scout.com's 59th best player) is a true shooting guard who is also athletic," said Telep. "Jamont (ranked 32nd in the nation by Scout.com), who can play on the wing, is very powerful and is a man out there. He is already very physically strong and can do so many things."

And you have Reginald's brother, Richard, a guard who has the ability to play point guard on the SEC level.

So, you have your big man, an athletic forward, a combo guard who can play both point guard and two guard, a true shooting guard, a powerful type player who can play guard or on the wing and an SEC caliber point guard. What else would you want? How about a 6-6 forward out of Mississippi who was selected Mississippi's Most Valuable Player in the recent all-star game that pitted Mississippi and Alabama against each other? It very well could happen.

Roderick Ollie, a 6-6 forward from Indianola-Gentry, has publicly indicated that he has strong interest in Mississippi State. Will he wind up wearing the Maroon and White next year? Time will tell.

Even if a player or two among the current group of players on the MSU basketball roster decide to move on, when you add this class to any group of returning players, you have the makings of another great year for Bulldog basketball. But then what would you expect when you have a coach like Rick Stansbury, a man who has put Mississippi State on the college basketball map in a big way?


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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