November 12, 2009

Stansbury readies for season-opener

Mississippi State is set to tipoff the 2009-10 season on Friday with one of the most talented and deepest rosters in school history.

The defending Southeastern Conference Tournament Champion Bulldogs face a stiff task in the opener taking on Rider, who is coming off a 19-13 season and finishing third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference year.

"People don't understand how good Rider is," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "They are a team that two years in a row have been to postseason play. They have all those starters back, including the (MAAC) Player of the Year back in Ryan Thompson. It is one of the toughest home opener we've had in a long time."

The Broncos also return four starters from a season ago and played in the Post Season Tournament losing to Liberty 79-64 in the opening round.

"They play some four guards out and one big," said Stansbury. "They have Guards that can shoot it and dribble it and drive it. They are a big, physical team and have some size and strength in those guards. So they have some thickness about them."

MSU returns all five starters from last season as well as seven other lettermen. But the Bulldogs deep bench has already taken a hit in the offseason with injuries. Sophomore point guard Twany Beckham will miss the entire season with two surgeries on each of his hips. Junior forward/center Elgin Bailey could also be out for the year as he continues to recover from a severely fractured ankle suffered in the season finale last season against Florida.

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