Augustus Knows What He Needs To Do

One of the most highly recruited post-graduate players in the nation last season mainly due to his exceptional offensive game, Kodi Augustus wasn't used to sitting on the bench, something he did a lot of last season as a freshman at Mississippi State. But he knows what he has to do to change that this coming season.

"It was hard (not playing much) because it was something that I had never done before, but it motivated me to work harder in practice," said the quiet-spoken youngster who was recruited by schools such as Arkansas, Oklahoma,Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Missouri, Texas A&M after his one year at Maine Central Institute. "Things I need to work on is my defense and rebounding. I'll be here for June and July, working on trying to get faster and stronger in the lower body."

The key for Augustus if he wants to get more playing time next season is improving his defensive play. And he knows that.

"Defensively, I want everybody on the team to have confidence that I can stop my man, but I don't have that right now," Augustus said of his current defensive play. "I probably haven't taken it personal and gotten mad when somebody scored on me. I probably haven't taken pride in my defense. By the end of the summer I think I'll be like that."

Add that in with his offense and he becomes a huge plus for next year's Mississippi State basketball team according to MSU assistant coach Marcus Grant.

"He is light years ahead of schedule offensively. We just have to get him interested in playing defense," said Grant. "He's never learned how to play defense because he's never had to. That's what kept him off the floor this year. If we had been able to put him on the floor he would have been a nightmare matchup for most teams because he is 6-9 and shoots the basketball so well."

Kodi Augustus agrees with Grant, and can even point out where the mis-match can happen in the MSU offensive scheme.

"In our offense, we have the fourth man trail," explained Augustus. "When I'm in the game, I can trail and catch it at the top and create or shoot it from the three, which stretches the defense out. That gives more space down in the paint."

And Augustus is not kidding about his prowess from the three-point range.

"One thing that most guys 6-9 can't do is shoot the basketball well, but he's an unbelievable natural shooter who can shoot from way behind the three-point line," said Grant of the 6-9, 221-pounder.

And that's something Augustus has been able to do since he first picked up a basketball.

"Obviously, I can score," said the confident youngster. "I've been able to really shoot the basketball from a very young age. I've never really had to work on my shooting."

Add in a little defense with his offensive game and Augustus knows the opportunity that exists for him going into next season.

"The coaches told me that I have a chance to start next year if I do what I need to do," said Augustus.

And he's doing just that according to Grant.

"He needs to get stronger and quicker laterally, and he's already working on that," noted Grant. "He's squatting more weights, pulling the sled, just working on explosiveness.

"That's what he's lacking in his game right now, but once he gets that the sky is the limit for him."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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