July 13, 2009
Stewart embracing leadership role
Barry Stewart has seen quite a few changes over his three-plus years at Mississippi State.
The shooting guard has been playing the role of leader this summer with his fellow senior Jarvis Varnado representing his country in Serbia at the World University Games. He admits that things are much differently than even he expected this season.
"It's different being a senior now than when I first came in," Stewart said. "When I came in we had guys like Charles (Rhodes) and Jamont (Gordon) ahead of me. Now that I look back things are a lot different. The one thing about this group of kids that is different is you don't have to worry about them too much. They are going to come in and do what they've got to do."
Stewart went home during May and June but came back in July to help lead his teammates through summer workouts. Even with only a few days to observe some of the 2009 signees he has already noticed a visible change in the paint from last year even without Varnado or Renardo Sidney on campus.
The signing of 7-foot-2 center John Riek and 6-foot-9 power forward Wendell Lewis gives the Bulldogs some immediate size down low.
"We played a pickup game the other day and it seems like we are going to have some big guys," Stewart said. "We didn't have so much of an inside presence last year as far as height-wise but I think we are going to have that this year."
MSU had a successful 2008-09 campaign claiming both a Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and a birth in the NCAA Tournament. Following the season the Bulldogs inked a Top 25 recruiting class. Stewart believes that combination should spell even more success this year.
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