After going through his first season at Mississippi State with a thin roster, things are starting to look up for head coach Rick Ray.
The Bulldogs have four verbal commitment in the 2014 recruiting class and two more in 2015, and the program received more good news regarding the status of 6-11 center Fallou Ndoye. After originally fearing that Ndoye wouldn’t be cleared to join the program, the school announced Friday that the NCAA has been ruled to be a partial qualifier.
Ndoye won’t be able to help the Bulldogs in games, but his status as a partial qualifier allows the Findlay Prep product to not only practice with the team but also receive an athletic scholarship. Ndoye, who averaged seven points and seven rebounds per game on a team that went 35-1 last season, will be allowed to play in games at the start of the 2014-15 season.
“The NCAA Eligibility Center did the right thing by granting Fallou this waiver,” coach Ray said in the release. “All the young man has ever done is successfully complete the course work at his schools.
“Our compliance department did a terrific job in presenting this case to the NCAA and staying on top of the situation. This upcoming season will be extremely beneficial for Fallou’s development.”
Ndoye’s development in 2012-13 will include daily practice sessions against fellow big men Colin Borchert, Wendell Lewis and Gavin Ware, with Lewis returning after playing just eight games due to a fractured right kneecap. Lewis’ injury meant that Ware was asked to a lot more in the paint for Mississippi State, and he responded to the tune of 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
For his efforts Ware was an SEC All-Freshman Team selection, as was guard Craig Sword (10.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.3 apg). Mississippi State may once again take their lumps in 2013-14, but with their numbers growing things are starting to look up in Starkville.