2003-04 SEC Hoops Preview: Mississippi State

In Part VIII of a series of SEC men's basketball previews, VeeMan takes a look at the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

SEC BASKETBALL 2003-04 PREVIEW The Mississippi State Bulldogs

Returning Players

Timmy Bowers Sr 1054 14.6 46.8 41.2 75.0 96 93
Ontario Harper Sr 908 7.4 41.5 24.7 71.4 152 47
Brandon Vincent Sr 539 4.4 53.3 ---- 50.0 133 22
Winsome Frazier Jr 533 6.3 43.5 33.7 83.3 50 25
Marcus Campbell Jr 248 3.6 50.0 ---- 63.6 71 12
Stephen Cowherd So 143 1.4 42.9 54.5 81.8 16 18
Lincoln Smith Sr 132 1.6 35.5 ---- 52.6 26 0

Players Lost

Derrick Zimmerman 1026 8.9 47.6 28.8 65.6 127 171
Mario Austin 823 15.5 53.4 41.7 66.4 193 30
Michal Ignerski 800 9.0 45.3 31.4 71.7 149 25

New Players (rankings from PrepStars)

Jackie Butler 6-10 Freshman #34 ranked

Gary Ervin 5-11 Freshman #109 ranked

Shane Power 6-4 Junior Transfer from Iowa State

Dietric Slater 6-3 Freshman Unranked

Barycz Wojciech 6-8 Freshman from Poland


(1) Height. 7-0 Marcus Campbell appears ready to take over at the low post, backed up by 6-9 Lincoln Smith. Jackie Butler, who is 6-10, can handle the high post position. Brandon Vincent and Barycz Wojciech are 6-8.

(2) Timmy Bowers. He is 6-4, probably the best all-around shooting guard in the SEC, and a likely all-conference choice at the end of the season. He is an excellent defender and shooter.

(3) Outstanding newcomers. With the departure of Mario Austin and Derrick Zimmerman, new talent was needed. Despite the loss of Travis Outlaw, a 6-9 recruit who entered the NBA draft, the Bulldogs have done well. Gary Ervin, who played at Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn and for Notre Dame Prep School, should be an able successor to Zimmerman at point guard. Butler figures to contribute greatly as a scorer and rebounder. Shane Power started for Iowa State as a sophomore and averaged 13.6 points and 4.5 rebounds. Dietric Slater averaged 30.3 ppg for Wayne County HS in Mississippi in his senior year. Barycz Wojciech is an unknown factor. Ervin, Butler, and Power are all probable starters.

(4) The wing positions. Power and Bowers are the likely starters, but 6-5 Ontario Harper, 6-4 Winsome Frazier, and Slater provide plenty of depth.

Question Marks

(1) Who will help Ervin at the point position? 6-2 Stephen Cowherd seems to be mainly a shooter. Ontario Harper is an experienced player who could divide his time between point and wing.

(2) Post play? Making up for the losses of Austin and Ignerski is not a small problem. Marcus Campbell has been improving and Brandon Vincent was a valuable player last year. But Jackie Butler is the key to the inside game of the Bulldogs.

Overall Prospects for 2003-04

The prospects are very good. It looks as though Coach Rich Stansbury has the material to equal last year's overall record of 21-10 and 9-7 in the SEC. In the Western Division of the SEC, Mississippi State will compete with Auburn for first place, although the Tigers should have the edge. The Bulldogs went to the NCAA tournament last year, only to be upset in the opening round by the Butler Bulldogs (the Cinderella team of the tournament), but should do better this year

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