Malik Newman and Quindarry Weatherspoon faced off for a second time in December of 2014
Ben Howland made a bold statement by getting Malik Newman, one of the top players in the country, to commit to Mississippi State. But it wasn’t the first significant move Coach Howland made on the recruiting trail. That occurred shortly after Howland was hired.
Quinndary Weatherspoon has been somewhat forgotten with all of the media covering Malik Newman. But Weatherspoon is a highly talented guard in his own right. Weatherspoon is a 6’5″ guard out of Velma Jackson, and convincing Weatherspoon to honor his NLI was the top priority for Howland after the coach was hired.
Weatherspoon is the second highest rated player coming out of the state of Mississippi and is a top 100 prospect as well. Shortly after Rick Ray was fired, Weatherspoon initially expressed some indecision about what he planned to do in the upcoming fall. After the Howland hiring was announced, the coach made a visit and Weatherspoon jumped on board.
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Weatherspoon and Newman are familiar with one another. Weatherspoon showed that he can be an impact player as well when the two played each other this year. Callaway only suffered two losses this past year, one of those came in the first of two meetings between Newman’s Callaway team and Weatherspoon’s Velma Jackson team. Newman scored 34 points to lead all scorers in the first meeting, but Weatherspoon scored 26 and led his team to victory. Newman and Callaway would redeem themselves a few weeks later when they met on Velma Jackson’s home floor.
Weatherspoon is not considered to be a one and done type player. But the 6’5″ guard certainly has NBA aspirations, and he has the talent to get there. Playing under a coach who has played a part in getting 21 different players to the NBA will be a significant advantage for Weatherspoon to make it to the next level.
Mississippi State is likely to play a three guard lineup in 2015-16. The Bulldogs will have two highly talented freshmen to go alongside 2nd team All SEC selection Craig Sword who will be entering his senior season. Having a player with Sword’s experience and leadership will help take some of the pressure off of the two incoming freshmen. If opposing teams focus too much on the two newest guards, Sword has shown he will be able to make them pay if other coaches ignore him in the game plan. In just over a month’s time, Mississippi State fans have gone from looking for positives to having plenty of reasons to dream big.