July 30, 2009

Benock understands his role

With each passing year the identity of a basketball team will change and for the past two seasons Riley Benock has understood his role.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard has been the clutch 3-point specialist off the bench for Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury. But what will his role be this year with the addition of more back court depth?

"It's hard to say until we get out there what my role will be but I'm really not expecting anything different," Benock said. "I understand what my role is and right now it's not my job to start or play the biggest minutes. My role is to be ready whenever I am called upon and add to. It's just as important for me to be able to do that than it is to do anything else. I'm just concentrating on being able to come in when I am called upon and do my best to help the team."

Benock had his name called in all 36 games for the Bulldogs last season averaging 2.3 points in 11.4 minutes a contest off the bench. He drained 21-of-56 (37.5-percent) from 3-point land and shot 38.8-percent from the field overall.

Benock was an integral part of MSU's 23-13 season in 2008-09 helping lead the team to a Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and a birth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs return all five starters and with the addition of a Top 25 recruiting class have many people predicting a huge year coming up this season.

"I think last year is something to build off of," Benock said. "Of course certain people are going to hype things up because we've got two seniors returning, basically the same team and a good recruiting class. People are going to hype it and there is going to be pressure but you can't look at it like that. You've just got to build off the success that we had last year and know the feeling and use that as motivation. We've got to come in and work hard from now until the close of the season and hope for the best."

One of the biggest factors in determining State's projected success hinged on whether or not two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year and the nation's leading shot blocker Jarvis Varnado would return. The rising senior tested the NBA waters before pulling out to return to Starkville for one more season.

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