January 8, 2013
Bulldogs showing improvement
Things haven't been too pretty for Rick Ray during his first season at Mississippi State.
There were lopsided losses in the Maui Invitational and were even upset at home by Alabama A&M to close out 2012.
But Ray believes the Bulldogs are indeed improving which showed during their 97-46 win over New Orleans last Thursday.
"As a result of that loss (to Alabama A&M) everybody outside the program feels that we're not getting better," Ray said. "But the semester break was huge for us due to individual player development within our team. I felt that all came into fruition in our game against New Orleans. I think we came out and played even better than that first 15 minutes against Alabama A&M. I think we're headed in the right direction and improving as a ball club."
The deck has certainly been stacked against the first year head coach this season. Not only did MSU lose a majority of its roster and scoring from last season due to graduation, indefinite suspensions and attrition, but his current squad has been riddled with injury.
Jacoby Davis and Andre Applewhite both went down with ACL tears during the preseason and were lost for the year while returning leading scorer, Jalen Steele, went down in the second game with a fractured wrist and missed a month of action.
Just when Steele was close to making his return, senior center Wendell Lewis suffered a patella injury which has jeopardized the remainder of the year for him.
The thin roster has caused Ray to extend minutes from his already young team and also rely on walk-on Tyson Cunningham to play 23.1 minutes a game.
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