Bulldog Basketball Future Bright

Fresh off another SEC Western division title and an appearance in the N.I.T. semifinals, the basketball Bulldogs' sights will be a little higher this season. The freshest crop of Bulldogs are already talking championships.

Highly rated signees are no stranger to Starkville, so the fact that Mississippi's Gatorade Player of the Year, Ravern Johnson, will wear Maroon and White should come as no surprise.

Ravern joins several other Bulldog signees to recieve the honor through the years. Johnson was excited about the announcement.

"It feels good to know that people look at the whole season," explained Ravern. "Even though I didn't make it back to the championship this year, I put it in a lot of work and it's great to receive this award. It makes me feel good that all of my hard work paid off for me and my high school."

Johnson picked up some post-season hardware after his junior season when the Clarion-Ledger named him Mississippi's Mr. Basketball.

Ravern spent a lot of time this year attending or watching Mississippi State basketball games.

"I kept up with them," said Ravern. "If I had a game my mom would tape their games for me so I could watch them later. I watched all of the games they played all the way to the last game they played."

Johnson liked what he saw and he sees where he can fit into the Bulldogs system.

"I like their offense a lot," said Ravern. "They set a lot of screens and use their big guys. That should help me out a lot. I am just looking to fit in. I am sure they could use another shooter or rebounder, so I want to go be an impact player my first year."

Ravern reports that he and fellow signees Kodi Augustus and Elgin Bailey are already beginning to get to know each other.

"Kodi Augustus and I got to know each other on our official visit," said Ravern. "He and I know each other real well now. I like his all around game. He is a good post man. I got to meet Elgin (Bailey) when Mississippi State played Florida. He is a nice guy and he is real big. We're just ready to get there and win a national championship."

Fellow signee Kodi Augustus shares in Ravern's aspirations.

"I am looking forward to playing for Coach Stansbury and playing in his system," said Kodi. "I am going there looking to win championships."

Despite being 1,300 miles away, Kodi was able to see his future teammates on television.

"I watched a few of the national games, but I couldn't catch too many games up here in Maine," said Kodi. "I got to see the West Virginia and the Florida State games. It was a tough loss on that last second shot to West Virginia."

Augustus is not one to rest on his Laurels. He has a laundry list of skills he wants to improve at the next level.

"I am working on getting stronger and I need to make better decisions," said Kodi. "Everything could always be better. I just want to be a more complete player."

Kodi reports that while he and Ravern have never shared the floor together, they are already getting to know each other.

"Ravern was at ABCD camp when I was, but I never got to see him play," said Augustus. "From a personal stand point, I think he is a really cool dude."

There will be no A.A.U. or summer ball this season for the Bulldog signees. Ravern Johnson will trade his cap and gown in for some official property of Mississippi State gear and get right to work in June. Kodi will also be around on move in day for the first summer session.

"Our graduation ceremony is in June, but I am not staying for that," said Kodi. "School lets out for me May 25th, so I am going to be moving down to Mississippi then. I am supposed to be there for summer school."

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