STARKVILLE, Miss. - Tipping off the school's 96th season of collegiate basketball competition, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (0-0) begin a three-game homestand by playing host to Louisiana Tech University (0-0) Saturday afternoon on the MSU campus. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum, following MState's 11:30 a.m. football battle with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Prior to Saturday's MSU basketball season opener against Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs will be presented their 2006-07 SEC Western Division championship rings, as well as unveiling banners recognizing last year's divisional title and NIT semifinals appearance.
Guided by 10th-year head coach Rick Stansbury, who begins 2007-08 seven victories shy of becoming the all-time winningest basketball coach in school history, the Bulldogs return seven lettermen from last year's 21-14 SEC West title team that advanced to the semifinals of the MasterCard NIT. Once again this season, the Bulldogs look to be powered by veteran all-SEC standouts Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes, who were both selected to this year's preseason all-SEC first team by a vote of the league's head basketball coaches.
This preseason, MState extended its exhibition winning streak to 11 consecutive games by knocking off NAIA members Oklahoma City University (100-69) and the University of the Cumberlands (71-60). Gordon, a preseason all-America candidate, paced a quartet of double-figure Bulldog scorers this preseason by averaging 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per exhibition game. Sophomore Jarvis Varnado averaged 14.5 points on near-perfect 14-of-15 field-goal shooting, while leading the team in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and blocks (6.5 bpg). Fellow sophomores Barry Stewart and Ben Hansbrough added 12.0 and 11.5 points per game, respectively, during preseason competition.
Hailing from Ruston, La., and guided by first-year head coach Kerry Rupp, the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech were 10-20 overall and 7-9 (7th place) in Western Athletic Conference play a year ago. LTU's lone returning starter from last year's squad is junior guard Drew Washington, who averaged 4.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists an outing last season. Picked to finish seventh this year in the WAC's preseason polls, Louisiana Tech posted exhibition triumphs over Arkansas Tech (76-70) and Texas-Permian Basin (68-49) during recent exhibition play. Tech's leading scorers this preseason were sophomore guard Kyle Gibson and senior forward Keith Smith at 12.0 and 11.0 points, respectively.
Beginning the 2007-08 hoops campaign having won seven consecutive home games dating back to this past February, the Bulldogs are 8-1 in season home openers under Stansbury's guidance. Also under Stansbury's direction, MSU owns composite records of 110-25 (.815) overall at home; 57-6 (.905) at home against non-conference opponents; 101-27 (.789) versus non-SEC foes overall; and 33-9 (.786) overall during the month of November.
Mississippi State owns a 9-4 all-time series lead over Louisiana Tech through the years, including a 6-1 mark in Starkville outings, having most recently posted a convincing 78-38 home victory over LTU during the 2002-03 campaign. Prior to that, MSU claimed a 68-63 home win over Tech in 2000-01.
MSU continues its season-opening, three-game homestand by welcoming the ACC's Clemson Tigers next Thursday (Nov. 15) in a regionally televised (FSN/SUN) contest with the reigning NIT runners-up. Upon closing their initial homestand by playing host to Tennessee-Martin next Saturday (Nov. 17), the Bulldogs will hit the road for the first time this season by participating in the inaugural Anaheim Classic over the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 22-25) in California.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Jamont Gordon has added two more prestigious accolades to his growing list of preseason honors, as the Bulldog junior has been named a candidate for the Bob Cousy Award, which recognizes the nation's top collegiate male point guard. The Nashville native has also recently been tabbed first-team all-American by Rivals.com.
A consensus preseason first-team all-SEC selection this year, Gordon ranked among the SEC's top 10 leaders in scoring (16.0 ppg; 7th in SEC), rebounding (7.1 rpg, 9th) and assists (5.3 apg, 2nd) a year ago as a sophomore to rate as the only underclassman to make the 2006-07 Coaches All-SEC First Team. Also a preseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, Gordon enters Saturday's season opener against Louisiana Tech 26 points shy of the 1,000-point mark for his career. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound all-America candidate also begins the 2007-08 campaign ranked ninth on the school's all-time list with 316 career assists.
The Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford, awarded annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, recognizes the top collegiate point guard participating in NCAA Divisions I, II and III. The selection committee is comprised of college basketball experts, including media members, former coaches and players. This year's Cousy Award list consists of 32 NCAA Division I hopefuls, including SEC standouts Sundiata Gaines of Georgia and South Carolina's Devan Downey. Last year's winner was Acie Law IV of Texas A&M.
Rated this preseason by Rivals.com as the nation's top point guard, Gordon joins Tennessee's Chris Lofton, Michael Beasley of Kansas State, North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert of Georgetown on Rivals' first-team all-America listing. Gordon's other preseason honors include being rated as the nation's No. 3 slasher by Athlon Sports' publication as well as being ranked as the SEC's best athlete and best penetrator by Sporting News Yearbooks.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - TeleSouth Communications, radio rights holder for Mississippi State football and basketball, has released the Bulldogs' 2007-08 men's basketball radio network affiliates list.
Based in Jackson, TeleSouth Communications reported a list of nearly 30 affiliates state-wide that will carry the Bulldogs this coming basketball season. This year's schedule begins with Saturday's (Nov. 10) season-opening home contest versus Louisiana Tech out of the Western Athletic Conference. Tip-off for Saturday's MSU-LTU season opener is set for 4:30 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum, following MState's 11:30 a.m. football battle with Alabama.
Throughout Mississippi State's 2007-08 sports season, WFCA-FM (107.9), a 100,000-watt station located in French Camp, will again serve as the flagship station for both Bulldog and Lady Bulldog basketball as well as Bulldog baseball. The station blankets most of the north central portion of the state of Mississippi.
With the veteran broadcasting tandem of Jack Cristil and Jim Ellis set to begin their 51st and 25th basketball seasons, respectively, behind the microphones, each Mississippi State basketball broadcast will begin with a 30-minute pregame show and conclude with a postgame segment featuring MSU's 10th-year head basketball coach Rick Stansbury.
2007-08 MSU BASKETBALL RADIO NETWORK AFFILIATES
Aberdeen... WWZQ-AM... 1240
Amory... WAMY-AM... 1580
Batesville…... WBLE-FM... 100.5
Biloxi... WTNI-AM... 1640
Booneville... WBVV-FM... 99.3
Bude... WMJU-FM... 104.3
Cleveland... WMJW-FM... 107.5
Columbia... WCJU-FM... 104.9
Corinth... WKCU-AM... 1350
French Camp... WFCA-FM... 107.9
Greenville... WDMS-FM... 100.7
Greenwood/Indianola... WTCD-FM... 96.9
Grenada... WOHT-FM... 92.3
Hackelburg, AL... WFMH-FM... 95.5
Hattiesburg... WMXI-FM... 98.1
Indianola... WTCD-FM... 96.9
Jackson... WOAD-FM... 105.9
Lucedale... WRBE-FM... 106.9
McComb... WAKK-FM... 104.9
Memphis, TN... KQPN-AM... 730
Meridian... WMOX-AM... 1010
Monticello... WRQO-FM... 102.1
Philadelphia... WWSL-FM... 102.3
Tupelo... WKMQ-AM... 1060
Vicksburg... WVBG-FM... 105.5
West Point... WKBB-FM... 100.9
Wiggins... WIGG-AM... 1420
Winona... WONA-FM... 95.1
Yazoo City... WYAB-FM... 93.1
Birmingham, Ala. - The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 20 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. The fifth annual women's soccer Community Service Team follows:
Hayley MacDonald, Midfielder, Alabama
MacDonald spent over ten hours at Arcadia Elementary School mentoring students this fall. MacDonald also talked to athletes about sports and academics at Sprayberry Educational Center. A senior sport and exercise science major, she taught fifth graders the importance of physical activity for Gatorade Get 60 at Holt Elementary School and she also volunteered at the YMCA.
Alison Harter, Midfield/Forward, Arkansas
Harter has made two trips to Honduras to help build communities and is planning a third this summer. She has also volunteered at the local homeless shelter for three years. A senior from Fayetteville, Arkansas, she has volunteered for several projects with the United Baptist Church including in the nursery, Sunday School, garage sale and leadership group. Harter also participated in the canned food drive for the battered women's shelter as a freshman. Harter is a four-year participant in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and participates in Sweat Hogs, a program to increase fitness in elementary students, and Athletes Outreach Easter Egg Hunt for three years.
Summer Ragsdale, Midfielder, Auburn
Ragsdale has been very active in the community since arriving at Auburn in 2005. She organized Clean Sweep in 2005, which helped those in homeless shelters, and for three years, has helped in the Beat Bama Canned Food Drive. She has also done the Downtown Trick or Treat for two years, a Halloween service project with Auburn Day Care, Toys for Tots, Habitat for Humanity, Read Across America, East Alabama Food Bank and the Enterprise Relief Effort, helping rebuild after the tornado. The Birmingham, Ala. native is also the president of SAAC and helped organize the All-Auburn, All-Athletes initiative and Auburn Pride (sportsmanship initiative).
Shelley Lyle, Defender/Midfielder, Florida
Lyle is an active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has participated in mission trips that involved sports as a way to reach out to area youth. In 2007, she spent three weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and in 2006 and 2005 spent time in Dominican Republic. She also worked soccer camps for the Chicago Eagles program, a non-profit Christian soccer organization for two weeks. The Tampa, Fla. native has participated in more then 20 hours of community service for the Goodwill Gator program, has volunteered for public speaking, visited patients at Shands Hospital, served as a counselor for Climb 4 Cancer Camp and was a Jump Rope for Heart participant.
Kelsey Fenix, Midfielder, Kentucky
Fenix has spent time at the UK Children's Hospital where she played bingo with the children and has volunteered at the Kentucky Veteran's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. The Westlake, Ohio native also participated in the Cooperstown Christmas Extravaganza, volunteered at the Hope Center for Men, Shriner's Hospital, Cooperstown Sports Clinic, AIA Urban Project Soccer Camp and AIA Prison Outreach Visit.
Sara Pollock, Forward, LSU
Pollock has been an incredible leader in the community throughout her career. Her projects include making frequent visits to Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital, setting up the soccer activity and participating in the Halloween BOOzar each year and adopting a child and raising money to provide toys and clothes at the annual Christmas Toy Drive. She has been a 4-H University Volunteer, raised money and participated in the ALS Walk for Lou Gehrig's Disease. She has also participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Strides and Rides Event, where she helped the kids in the race.
Cori Mehan, Midfielder, Ole Miss
Mehan is a mentor in the Big Brother/Big Sister program. She has participated in Reading with the Rebels, a program which helps promote reading to area students, National Student-Athlete Day with Oxford elementary schools, the SAAC Annual Canned Food Drive and went Christmas caroling at the local hospital. The Cordova, Tenn. native is also active in FCA and with her local church.
Stephanie Dallas, Goalkeeper, Mississippi State
Dallas participated in Bully's Book Blitz, the M-Club Thanksgiving Food Drive, MSU Halloween Carnival, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure activities, Read Across America: Dr. Seuss Day, Take a Kid to a Game Day, National Women in Sports Day, Bulldog Benefit and the SEC Together We CAN Food Drive.
Courtney Cobbs, Forward/Midfielder, South Carolina
Cobbs participated in Dance Marathon, and has volunteered as a youth mentor. She has also volunteered for Back to School Bash, Harvest Hope Food Bank/Emergency Food Pantry, and has been a middle school guest speaker for health, athletics and education.
Molly Baird, Goalkeeper, Tennessee
Baird worked to organize and publicize the SAAC Canned Food Drive for the Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Holiday Dinner for the homeless at Christmas time. She has also visited Children's Hospital with the UT soccer team, in addition to volunteering for free children's soccer clinics. The Raleigh, N.C. native also worked with FCA/AIA to provide Christmas presents for underprivileged children in the Knoxville area.
Amy Baumann, Midfielder, Vanderbilt
Baumann mentors at the Magness Potter Community Center in East Nashville. Every Monday, she helps out in the Teen Center where they do different activities, helps with homework, and spends time with a group of teens who live in a high poverty area of Nashville. Also enjoys volunteering at Vanderbilt's Children's Hospital.