Mississippi St Tennessee Basketball

Rick Ray isn’t happy with Jalen Steele, at all

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Rick Ray has had a rough season in his first as head coach at Mississippi State. A massive amount of transfers and players going pro, a rash of injuries and a late start on recruiting led to a general lack of talent within the Bulldogs’ program this season.

And it got worse when the team announced that guard Jalen Steele was suspended indefinitely to days ago.

Well, Ray isn’t leaving it at that. Not by a long shot.

In an interview session on Monday, Ray sounded off on Steele’s suspension.

No one knows what got Steele suspended. But whatever it was, it was enough for Ray to avoid the “internal matter” cliche and go straight to putting his lone returning consistent contributor on blast for everyone to see.

I don’t blame Ray. It’s been a season where rarely anything has gone his way and I’m sure he’s getting fed up with it. He trusted Steele, who is averaging 9.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game this season, to be a type of leader with this team, being that he’s the only one who can truly tell you what it was like to play with Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie last year. Steele getting benched for something other than bad play has to infuriate a guy who has made Steele his bell cow this season.

And when you break it down to brass tax, that’s a statement that can be used in general. Any player that has an impact on his team’s play and attitude like Steele does is screwing with their respective team. In a season that little can go wrong if you want to at least be respectable, Steele just made it even tougher. And I’m sure Ray is the most disappointed of anyone.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.