Mississippi State basketball hasn't caught the attention of the country in recent years. Even so, the Bulldogs have had great players come and go like LaToya Thomas, Tan White and Alexis Rack. Now, Head Coach Vic Schaefer has made the program a priority and it's paying off dividends. The program took a step further into making MSU a household name for years to come when All-American Victoria Vivians signed with the Bulldogs on Tuesday.
Vivians is the state of Mississippi's reigning Miss Basketball and has been a member of the Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen for three-consecutive seasons. The special player averaged nearly 40 points a game a year ago as she led the nation in scoring and she's less than 1,000 points away from the state of Mississippi scoring title and the national scoring title. Nearly every team in the country wanted Vivians, but in the end she wanted to be home.
"Staying at home and being around my family and having them come to my games was important," Vivians said. "(Coach Schaefer) is a really good coach and he really got me into Mississippi State basketball in the school. I go there all the time."
"I'm playing for my state so why not play in Mississippi? That's why I'm going to Mississippi State."
Vivians got to share her signing day ceremony in the Scott Central gymnasium as her coach directed the ceremony and talked about the incredible accolades that she accomplished. One of the most decorated players in the state of Mississippi's history, Vivians never imagined anything like her signing day as a child.
"I didn't think it was going to be this big," Vivians said in awe. "I played a lot when I was little but I never thought that it would be this big."
Vivians picked up a ball from a young age and began to learn the game of basketball before becoming a star in the eighth grade for coach Chad Harrison and the Rebels. The scoring machine still didn't know just how good she was until she saw the first recruiters coming her way.
"Whenever everyone started recruiting me I felt like I was good enough to play at the next level," Vivians said. "I guess God makes my game special. I just play."
When Vivians says "everyone" she means everyone. Tennessee, Georgia, Louisville, Baylor, Kentucky and others wanted Victoria to sign with them. In the end, the choice wasn't as difficult as most would imagine it to be.
"It wasn't hard. They're good schools, but from where I'm from home is better than going away."
She admits that she was a little nervous about making the call to her future coach but she was glad she did. He might have been even more ecstatic than she was.
"I didn't know if I wanted to do it, then when I called he asked me to repeat myself. I guess he put the phone down and he started running down the hall hollering," Vivians laughed. "I had my mind made up and I really got tired of the recruiting process."
Schaefer has a lot to be excited about these days with a strong recruiting class in his first year and even bigger one this season signing Vivians and even his daughter who is a highly-touted guard in Starkville. Vivians sees a lot of future talent from this group.
"We're going to win. The signing class that we have right now is going to be a part of a great team. Everything about Mississippi State is going to be good."
Now that she has the recruiting process out of the way she can focus on her senior year. Vivians has two State Championship rings in her four years prior. Now she's searching for a third and a couple of more individual goals to accomplish.
"It's a beginning of a new chapter of my high school career this season. After that it will be time to start another one on the next level. It'll be something different," Vivians said. "I have to accomplish everything I've already accomplished and more. The scoring title and many more things like McDonalds All-American and things like that. And just not getting hurt."