"It is athletic ability. When you talk about your athletes, you look at that back line and you have Charles (Rhodes), Walt (Sharpe) and Vernon (Goodridge). All of whom can run. That's what I mean when I say athletes. I also like the ability of my young kids. The (Delk) twins can really run and have good skill level. Jamont Gordon is the same way. And Bernard Rimmer is a big-time athlete who can really run and jump and rebound that basketball. So, when you are talking about talent, you aren't just talking about them being fine basketball players. That means you have a mixture of athleticism and skill level. Neither one is defined yet, but I like the mixture of the players that we have.
"Charles Rhodes has some offensive ability. Walter Sharpe has a high skill level. Vernon Goodridge can run and block shots as well as anybody that we have ever had. Jamont Gordon is a great passer. He is a much better passer than I anticipated. He is 6-4, 230 and is a point guard and has the physical toughness to go with it."
So, you have all the pieces you need to develop a very good basketball team?
"You always want to add pieces to it. You would love to have the player we lost (Monta Ellis), but we don't have him. But I like the pieces that we have. We're just young. It'll be a learning experience for us everyday as we learn this basketball team. We'll find out about the strengths and weaknesses of each player. It's not about taking players and putting them in the same system every year. It's about taking the system and working it around the players."
Is Bernard Rimmer the kind of player who can be your next Branden Vincent?
"Absolutely. As I've said all along, in recruiting you have to be right more than you are wrong. Bernard Rimmer was one of those kids that a lot of people questioned and questioned, but we weren't wrong about him. Number 1, he is a high character kid. He is also a great student who listens and learns. And he is a big-time athlete. And he gets better everyday. He is going to be one of those guys in this program that, before he leaves, has a chance to be a special player. When you see him rebound that basketball, you will see what I'm talking about because he can go up and get it."
So, you are saying with the likes of Goodridge and Rimmer on your team, this will once again be a good rebounding team?
"Rebounding is not (just) about ability. It's half ability and half mentality. We have the ability, but we have to get the mentality right. And that's about toughness. We are nowhere near where that has to be. And to be a great rebounding team, you have to be able to rebound from your guard spots. There is no question that Dietric Slater is a heck of a rebounder. Jamont Gordon can be a rebounder. So, I feel good about the wing spots. Richard Delk, from the point, can be a good rebounder. But we have to get our 4s and 5s with the mentality that it takes to be a good rebounding basketball team. Like I asked them, are you going to be the first (MSU) team to be remembered as not leading this league in rebounding? That's a challenge for them, don't be the first team. That's something we take a lot of pride in."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.