Projecting the Mississippi State Starting Five


Now that we have a good idea who will be on the team, what exactly is it going to look like in November? It’s really early, so all of this could change. But it is nice to be excited about basketball again, so why not get out the crystal ball and see if we can figure out who plays where.

Center (really Power Forward)
Gavin Ware will be listed as the 5, though he really isn’t a center. And in today’s basketball culture, being a center has some kind of stigma attached to it. Anthony Davis of the Pelicans doesn’t even consider himself a center. But regardless of what he actually is, expect Ware to be the primary anchor down low.

Power Forward
If Ray Kasongo signslike most people anticipate, he will be brought in to provide some much needed help down low, and I expect him to do just that. One thing Bulldog fans should understand with Kasongo is he is being evaluated and rated as a 3 star based on potential. He is very raw, and there will be a pretty steep learning curve along the way. But he has the tools to be a rebounding force and low post scorer. If for some reason he doesn’t sign with the Bulldogs, I would go with Oliver Black taking this spot. Black showed flashes that he could be a solid contributor to this team last season, so he likely gets the nod if the Bulldogs don’t get Kasongo.

Small Forward (really shooting guard)
I’m going to put Craig Sword here, because much like Ware, this isn’t his actual position, but someone has to play the 3. Sword will have to use his quickness on offense to get past some of the bigger players on rosters with more length and size, but he has been the most productive player the past three years, and I think he will figure out a way to score some points.

Shooting Guard
The second best player coming out of high school in the state was Quinndary Weatherspoon. He was expected to help immediately under Ray, and he is still expected to help immediately under Howland. Howland has been praised for getting Newman in such a short time, but convincing Weatherspoon to honor his NLI is just as impressive.

Point Guard
The obvious person is Malik Newman. He is going to start, and there is no question about it. Yes, he will have to “earn” it, but there isn’t another player on the roster that can rival Newman’s talent, size, and athleticism. He is a combo guard in the mold of Russell Westbrook, so Newman look for him to score just as much as he facilitates.

6th Man
The first person off the bench will be I.J. Ready. If there is anything to be sad about with Newman committing to the Bulldogs, it’s the fact Ready will come off the bench now. They might try to go with a four guard lineup if Kasongo or any of the other forwards struggle, but that would not be the ideal scenario. Despite the fact I think he will move to the bench doesn’t mean he won’t contribute. He will still play a vital role for this team next year.