Dec 23, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Craig Sword (32) reaches out for the loose ball after stealing it from Jacksonville Dolphins guard Andris Misters (22) during the game at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Darry Wilson 3 pointers. Jarvis Varnado blocks. Erick Dampier dunks. There was very little I enjoyed more than the products of Mississippi State basketball. Those days are gone.
I’ve been writing for MaroonAndWhiteNation.com for a little over a year, and because of the timing, most everything I have ever written about basketball has been negative. It might make people think I hate the basketball team, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I love Mississippi State basketball, and it just makes me sad to see what it has become.
Mississippi State has some basketball history. It’s not a ton mind you, but they do have some. There have been stretches in the program’s history when the question wasn’t if the Bulldogs would get to the NCAA Tournament, but what seed we would be. We now have a team that is facing the proposition of not winning a single conference game. For someone who loves Mississippi State basketball, this is a really bitter pill to swallow.
The team is as low as any team in the history of the big three sports for the Bulldogs. There is absolutely zero signs that this team will get better, and the writing is on the wall that we are going to replace Rick Ray and start all over again for the second time in four years. Humphrey Coliseum was once one of the most difficult places in all of college basketball to play. Today, it’s a lifeless wasteland in which you could carry on a conversation with someone on the other side of the arena while the team is playing.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
I still watch the games, but it isn’t fun. During the early years of the Rick Ray era, I used to get mad that the team played poorly, but I held out the hope that the team had better days ahead. Ray just needed a few years to get some players in and then it would get better. Those days are gone as well. Rick Ray is a great guy, and he has instilled some discipline on this team that was lacking at the end of the Stansbury era. Other than that, the three years under Ray have been a waste. The program is actually worse now than when he first took over.
I wish I could offer you hope. I wish I could tell you that it will get better next year. Unfortunately, I can’t do that. The SEC has become a revolving door of bad coaching hires. And the ones that aren’t making bad hires, the rest (besides Kentucky and Florida) are holding on to mediocre coaches because they are afraid of bottoming out.
I do believe we will one day be good at basketball again, I just don’t know when. The SEC isn’t good at the sport as a whole, so we can make up some ground relatively quickly with the right coach and players. But until that day comes, I will mourn for our program and long for the times when it was so much better and much more fun to watch games at the Hump.