A Q&A With Elgin Bailey

Mississippi State sophomore basketball player Elgin Bailey does a one-on-one interview with Gene's Page.

How is your recovery coming along?
"They really don't want me playing on it right now. So, I just go to the gym and take some shots. But as far as playing, I haven't been able to do that due to the injury."

When did the doctors say you will be able to play again?
"They haven't given me a date. I ask (assistant athletic trainer) Scottie (Johnson) every day if I can play ball, and he keeps shaking his head and saying not yet."

Since you can't play, exactly what can you do?
"I can run and lift weights."

It will eventually get well won't it?
"Yeah, it will eventually get well."

Will it be this year?
"We are hoping that it will be this year, but we really can't predict how it will go."

You've always been able to play. Now you have to stand around and watch others play. How tough has that been on you?
"It's real hard. And it shows me how fast this game can be taken away from you. It hurts me a lot because I really do want to play. I rarely go into the gym now because I know if I can in there I am going to want to play. And I don't want to sit and watch my teammates play without me."

While you can't play, you can still watch the big guys and help them. Are you trying to help them when you watch them in a pickup game>
"I try to give them good leadership, try to give them someone to look up to. When I do go to the gym and watch them play, I give them advice."

Have you gone back and watched video of your injury?
"I've watched it several times."

When you watch it what goes through your head?
"I've seen that happen before but I never thought it would happen to me. When I looked at it I said, 'why me, why did it happen to me.' Back in high school I had a lot of injuries so it reminds me of high school."

How painful was it when it first happened?
"There really wasn't pain; it was just the shock that my foot was pointed the wrong way."

You were able to see it?
"Yeah, I saw it. I was about to get back up but I saw that my foot and it hit me that my foot was turned the wrong way."

So, you never felt any pain from it?
"The only time I felt any pain was when they took me into the training room and popped it back into place. There was a quick pain and that was it."

Based on the times that you have watched this team in pickup games, what are your expectations for this team?
"We really have a chance to be great. We are good but we have a chance to be great."

Why do you think it can be great?
"The only guy we really lost was Brian Johnson. So, everybody is coming back, and we are adding on with the freshmen. And we have a good group of guys who are good leaders."

Like freshmen John Riek and Wendell Lewis, you are a big man. So, you have a different perspective of them than maybe a smaller guy would. What do you like about both of those guys?
"John has a chance of being an excellent player. Once we really start working with him he has the chance of being an excellent player."

What have you seen that makes you believe that?
"His physical skills are there. He just has to get his conditioning better. He runs the court great when he's not winded. And he can get his shot really quick but he takes too long when he does things. He's patient but he's a little too patient."

What about Wendell Lewis?
"He's a good player but he's got to get tougher. Coach (Stansbury) likes that toughness. And that's what we have to get out of Wendell. He has nice little moves in the post. His post-game is real good. Once the coaches put the polish on him he'll be great."

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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