STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State men’s basketball head coach Ben Howland had the opportunity to give an update on summer workouts, Reggie Perry being named to the United States U19 Team and recap the recent NBA Draft at Tuesday’s media session.
The Bulldogs are closing in on the halfway point of their eight-week summer workout period which began on June 3. After taking a week off for the July 4th break, MSU returns to campus for another four-week workout period on July 8.
Mississippi State’s roster features a solid nucleus of five returning players who combined for 83 starts in Abdul Ado, Tyson Carter, Reggie Perry, Nick Weatherspoon and Robert Woodard II. The quintet is joined by veteran postmen KeyShawn Feazell and E.J. Datcher along with a talented freshmen class which features Devin Butts, Elias King, Iverson Molinar and Quinten Post. After redshirting the 2018-19 season, Prince Oduro and D.J. Stewart also will compete in their first season for the Maroon and White.
Mississippi State posted a 23-11 record last season and secured the program’s 11th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bulldogs have dialed up 48 victories over the last two seasons which is tied for second-most in program history over a two-year span and fourth among SEC schools.
Head Coach Ben Howland
Q: A late addition to the class with Quinten Post, can you tell us how that came together? What do you feel he can bring to the program?
BH: “We thought we would need – At the time when we started recruited him, we were not sure if Reggie would be back. Number one, we were concerned that we were going to be shorthanded on the front line. We had to try and bolster that.”
“When we went to Italy three years ago, Ernie [Ziegler] made a friendship with a European scout over there who has a service for colleges. We told him that we would be calling him and would stay in touch. He sent the film [of Quinten]. We looked at the film and thought this guy is pretty good. That is how it all occurred. We followed up, and he came out here on an official visit … We were fortunate enough to get him.”
I think he is going to be a good player for us. He can really shoot the ball. When he was here, he played some 3-on-3 with our guys. Our players, notably Robert Woodard II and Tyson Carter, said ‘Coach, this guy is really good, and we need to get him.’ I was encouraged that they thought he was a good player based on their time with him in the gym.”
Q: Have you had any conversations with Quinndary Weatherspoon, Aric Holman and Lamar Peters since last week’s NBA Draft started?
BH: “I just talked to Aric today, and he leaves tomorrow for LA. They start practice on Thursday after being back home in Kentucky for a couple of days. He is excited, and it is a great opportunity because he has been guaranteed that he is going to be invited to their training camp. Obviously, the Lakers lost a lot of player due to trades and the different things they have done to acquire Anthony Davis. I think it is a good opportunity for him.”
“For Q [Quinndary Weatherspoon], I just saw him this past Saturday in Jackson after he was drafted. They had a recruiting event for all of the high school kids in the state of Mississippi. I got a chance to visit with him then, and I was really happy for him. It is a big deal to get drafted with the 49th pick. I am really proud of him and happy for him and his family. He worked really hard. Now, a new chapter starts. He has to go out and prove himself all over again. He left Monday, and the Spurs started practice today.”
“Both Aric and Q will be in the Utah Summer League and then go straight from there down to Las Vegas. Lamar got signed by the Knicks so all three of them have a chance and an opportunity to play in the summer league which is a big deal.”
Q: How have the new signees fit in since they have got to campus?
BH: “The three guys we signed in the fall are here. The only one not here is Quinten. He is with his national team [The Netherlands], and they will be playing a few games in Spain before going to a tournament in Portugal.”
“Elias [King] is here and doing a good job. He is really shooting the ball well. Iverson [Molinar] has looked very explosive, athletic and tough in practice. He is going to be a really good player. Then, Devin [Butts], unfortunately for him he hurt his ankle last week in practice … thankfully it is not serious and not a long term injury.”
“Our players at the end of this week are done with basketball for a week. There is a break between the two sessions of summer school so they will go home and come back here on July 8th.”
Q: What type of experience will Reggie gain playing for the USA U19 Team in Greece over the next couple of weeks?
BH: “I think it is an incredible opportunity for Reggie. He made the team and left yesterday from Colorado Springs … He has done a really good job and was their leading scorer and rebounder during their last two scrimmages before they left to head out to Greece. He is representing our country and is on a really good team with outstanding coaches like Bruce Weber [from Kansas State] and Mike Hopkins [from Washington]. I spoke to both of them who are longtime friends.”
“It is a great opportunity for him on a lot of fronts. They are playing against really good teams who are the best teams in the world. It is a very prestigious thing that he is involved with and quite an honor. Every NBA will be there watching him play [in Greece]. His goal having gone through the draft process and working out for all the teams at the Chicago combine is to be a NBA player.”
Q: Is there any update on Nick Weatherspoon’s status for the upcoming season?
BH: “Yeah, he’s on the team and is practicing. He had a good practice yesterday, and we fully expect Nick to be available for the coming season.”
Q: Is Abdul Ado’s timeline still around October to be cleared for full contact?
BH: “Yeah, as far as I know it is. He is doing well, and his progress is going well. He got operated on June 5th so three weeks ago tomorrow. He seems to be doing well. We want to be very conservative in his rehab and not rushing it back. But yes, he seems to be doing well. He had a good experience going home to see his mom for the first time in six years. That was a great thing for him to get home, see family, see friends and spend time back there [in Nigeria].”
Q: What do you see Prince fitting into the lineup, and where might he help you?
BH: “He is very good around the basket. Yesterday, he really was outstanding in practice. For example, we did a 5-on-5 for about a half an hour yesterday, and he was very good. He is very good at spinning. He has got a big, strong, physical frame. He is good in the low post. He is shooting the ball and has really worked hard on his jump shot. He is shooting the ball pretty well from the perimeter and really runs the floor well. He does a number of things well, and he is really going to push people for playing time.”
Q: What is the competition going to be like in practice for those first few rotation spots off the bench?
BH: “It is going to be intense. D.J. Stewart, although he has not played in a true game yet, has some experience having been here for a year. He has really looked good these three weeks plus that we have had of summer thus far. We are really excited about D.J.’s progress. He missed, unfortunately for us, about the last month of the season because he had a stress reaction in his foot … He has to have orthotics or something will occur.”