In-depth with Richard Delk

Mississippi State sophomore small forward Richard Delk has not only seen improvement in his individual play, but also in the overall play of this year's team.

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"I think this year I'm getting a little bit more playing time," said Richard, who played 20 minutes per game last year and has increased that to almost 26 per game as an everyday starter. "Last year, I didn't really play that much because I was injured and I was kind of out of shape.

"I weighed about 155 when I first got here. Now I weigh about 174. I didn't know at the beginning of my freshman year how much strength I would need. Now I know."

He explained how he gained the additional 19 pounds.

"I was here the entire summer. We ran and lifted weights," said Richard. "I was basically trying to get stronger and get more stamina."

He also worked on his mind as well as his body.

"I learned that I have to stay positive all the time. Last year, I kind of got down on myself," noted Richard.

As did the team in general as evidenced by the overall 15-15 record and 5-11 record in SEC play. He doesn't want to go through that again.

"Last year we weren't together as a team. Everybody had their own mindset," said Richard, who is scoring 7.3 points per game this year after averaging 3.5 last season. "Last year, when we were losing, we knew we didn't want to lose anymore."

And, so far, he's seeing a different team.

"This year we are playing together as a team," said Richard. "We all play hard every game. We know we are young, but we know if we play hard every game we will win some games."

Eleven victories so far, against 6 losses, three of which have been by 4 points or less and two by 8 points. In contrast, last year's team only had three losses in the single digits ... for the entire season.

He attributes part of the success to the outstanding play of the three true freshmen, Jarvis Varnado, Barry Stewart and Ben Hansbrough, none of whom were highly recruited.

"They are kind of a different breed of freshmen," Richard said of the threesome. "They really know what to do on the court and they are going to do the right thing off the court because they are good people."

He's seen the progress of Stewart first-hand. And Barry's also helped Richard and his brother, Reginald.

"Barry helps us because he's a little quicker than us," reported Richard. "As for how we help him, when he first came in we were kind of blocking his shot, so he learned how to get it off a little quicker."

And as they and the rest of the players continue to improve their overall game, the wins should also come a little quicker.

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

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