STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Devin Butts, Elias King and Iverson Molinar made it official by inking their National Letters of Intent (NLI) to the Mississippi State men’s basketball program announced Wednesday as part of the fall signing period.
All three players will join the Bulldogs as freshmen for the 2019-20 season.
“I’m excited about our signees today,” head coach Ben Howland said. “We signed three very good players who are all really good kids. All these kids have three-point range right now from day one. What I love about all three of these kids is that they are gym rats, and all three love to play basketball. I’m really pleased and think that all three players are going to be really good players at Mississippi State.”
Butts, a 6-5 combo guard, is prepping at Stratford Academy in Macon, Georgia under coach Sean Sweeney. He averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game en route to being named the region player of the year and an all-state selection as a junior.
Butts is a sharpshooter who is able to shoot off the bounce and off screens. He also is a skilled ball hander and played the AAU circuit with Team Georgia Magic.
Devin’s father, Derex, played at Texas Tech under Gerald Myers where he led the Red Raiders in scoring and assists during the 1989-90 season.
Coach Howland on Devin Butts
“Devin Butts is 6-5 and reminiscent of a shooter like Tyson Carter. He is that good at shooting and is very athletic. He comes from a good basketball family. His dad (Derex) was a very good player at Texas Tech. Devin is a bright kid, pre-engineering student. They were very impressed by the academics at Mississippi State especially our engineering department.”
King, a 6-8 wing who can play the one, two and three positions, is a unanimous four-star selection at Lincoln Academy in Suwanee, Georgia under coach Courtney Goldwire. He is rated the state’s No. 4 and the southeast region’s No. 40 prospect by ESPN.
King is a skilled shooter and passer who possesses a good feel for the game. He is an effective open floor scorer who create his own shot when going to the rim. King played the AAU circuit with Game Elite Gold in the Gold Gauntlet 17U and the Georgia Stars in the Nike 17U.
Coach Howland on Elias King
“Elias is 6-8 and incredibly skilled. He is a wonderful shooter. This kid can pass the ball and can handle the ball like a point guard. He can play three positions. He is a very skilled player and an outstanding shooter. He has great length. He is going to be a great addition to our program and lives in the gym. He is another great student, very bright.”
Moliner, a 6-3 combo guard who can see action at the one and two positions is a native of Panama City, Panama. He is playing his senior season at Veritas Prep in Calabasas, California. He poured in 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game at Covenant Christian Ministries Academy as a junior.
Moliner is skilled, very athletic and tough. He played the AAU circuit for Team Why Not in the Nike EYBL.
Coach Howland on Iverson Molinar
“Iverson is a big time steal for us. This kid can play point and has a great body. He is 6-3, wonderful kid. When you look at his AAU team, Why Not which is actually Russell Westbrook's program. I saw him in Augusta, Georgia at the Peach Jam. He shot 63 percent and was that team’s best player. They have some guys that are big time high recruits. But if you ask their coach, who is a good friend of mine, he will tell you this kid is the best player on that team.”
Mississippi State concludes its three-game homestand and faces Long Beach State for its second regional round matchup of the MGM Resorts Main Event. Friday’s tip time is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised by SEC Network.