Why Miss. State Fans Shouldn’t “Pump the Breaks” on Malik Newman and MSU Basketball


A few months ago I wrote a piece titled “Lets Pump the Brakes on Shea Patterson”, the Ole Miss quarterback commit who is a five star recruit out of the State of Louisiana.  In this piece my reasoning was calculated and backed by facts like how many Louisiana and five star quarterbacks have gone on to just disappear off the radar and how Ole Miss just doesn’t have great success with many people not named Manning at quarterback.  You can read that entire piece and recap right here.

That piece as you can guess got lots of attention from fans on both sides and that piece will probably live with me in infamy due to a minor mistake I made.  See, when you blog or write or do radio enough you are going to screw up – it just happens, period end of story.  So you just roll with it and honestly treat it as no big deal.  In this instance I wrote the title of the piece as “Lets Pump the Breaks on Shea Patterson”.  When the article posted I got a few emails about the title almost instantly and just edited my fat finger mistake from break to brake.

Of course in today’s fast track social media world, that title was screen captured and that has become a running joke for Ole Miss fans to constantly throw at me, like Red Cup Rebellions article here – this has become as good as a winning Egg Bowl score for the Rebels.

So as expected, leading up to the Malik Newman signing I got several tweets and people asking me when was my article coming to tell Mississippi State fans to “Pump the Breaks on Malik Newman”?

Well here we are and I do have a message for Mississippi State fans and it’s to NOT “Pump the Breaks” on Malik Newman and Mississippi State Basketball.  I would even expand on that statement and tell you to hit the gas and get ready because MSU Basketball is back and in a big way.

Timmy Bowers and Winsome Frazier had big success during their time at Mississippi State.

And allow me to explain this in detail and why you shouldn’t pump the brakes on Malik or MSU basketball.

First lets go back to Patterson and football.  It is extremely difficult to turn a down trodden football team around and it is rare that a freshman comes in and contributes at a high level at quarterback.  Quarterbacks typically need a redshirt year or at least a year in the program to be effective at the collegiate level – yes there are some exception.

The same can be said about a down-trodden football team.  It typically takes two to three years to see the fruits of a coaches labor.  In football you are dealing with 22-starters (offense and defense) and a roster full of guys that can pack out any restaurant.  It’s a big undertaking.

Basketball is quite different due to simply you play five guys or girls at a time and have a roster of 15-players if you are lucky.  The right coach and a few really good players can instantly turn around a program or make a big impact in year two of their tenure.  But, don’t take my word for it – check out Real Clear Sports piece on the Top 10 Biggest Turnarounds in NCAA Basketball.

Ohio State went 8-22 in 1997-98 and after hiring Jim O’Brien and recruiting just a few guys went 27-9 the following year, on their way to a Final Four.

Texas-El Paso went 6-24 in 2002 then totally flipped the script in 2003 going 24-8 under Billy Gillispie.

New Mississippi State head basketball coach Ben Howland has been apart of these transformations himself and while it normally takes a year or two, his teams always end up with deep tournament runs and national prominence.

When you throw in the fact that college basketball is not the same game it was even ten years ago, and with all the constant roster turnover plus a weak Southeastern Conference – it is fair to believe Howland will make a quick turnaround; all he needs is a few big time players and a roster full of upper classmen.  Wait – That’s exactly what he now has.

Craig Sword, Gavin Ware, Fred Thomas and I.J. Ready return and all showed flashes of being pretty good college basketball players which is a plus for Howland.

Throw in the fact that MSU landed arguably the top recruit in the country in Malik Newman and are the front runner for juco stud Ray Kasongo and you have an instant recipe for success.

Back to “pumping the breaks on Newman” and why you shouldn’t .  CBS Sports Gary Parrish was on a radio interview with ESPN 105.9 the Zone in Jackson, MS on the Out of Bounds show discussing Newman and he said that every year there are about 10-high school basketball phenoms that hit the college ranks and on average 9 of 10 have big impacts and end up in the NBA.  So unlike Shea Patterson, where the deck is stacked against you, with Newman it’s almost a foregone conclusion he will have a big year in Starkville in 2015.

A seasoned roster plus a potential big-time juco player, plus a superstar in Newman and a proven coach, equals a return to basketball relevance for a school that is use to winning and winning at a pretty high level on the hardwood.

Jarvis Varnardo aka SWAT was a big piece to MSU Basketball success.

And it should be this way, the expectations should be high when you talk about a program that has a Final Four, three Sweet – 16’s, 10-NCAA tournament appearances and a history of high level players.

It doesn’t take long to turn a basketball program around in college athletics and Scott Stricklin should recieve high praise for this instant turnaround off the court that will show immediate results on the court.  He hired Howland and in return Howland hit the ground running to give an already seasoned team a superstar.

Don’t you dare pump the “breaks” on Malik Newman – I urge you to hit the gas because 2015 is going to be fun.  The Hump will again be packed, expectations will again be high and basketball will again belong to Mississippi State in this state.  If this team stays healthy there is no reason they cannot be a team in the upper half of the conference and potentially make the NCAA Tournament.  I’ll go ahead and say it – this team wins 21-games next year and you can screen shot that too.

Don’t hit the “breaks” – hit the gas.  MSU Basketball is back and will be led by Malik Newman.

Courtesy of msstate.edu