Rick Ray

Rick Ray

Southeast Missouri State hires former Mississippi State coach Rick Ray

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source: AP

Southeast Missouri State hired its new head coach as former Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray will take over, the school announced on Monday. The news was first reported by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.comRay replaces former head coach Dickey Nutt, who parted ways with the program after six seasons.

Ray is coming off of a three-year tenure with the Bulldogs in which he finished 37-60 in the league with a 13-41 record in SEC play.

Also a former assistant coach at Clemson, Purdue, Northern Illinois and Indiana State, Ray brings head-coaching experience to the OVC program who hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2000 after transitioning from the Division II level.

The Redhawks hired Ray after other finalists, Michigan State associate head coach Dwayne Stephens and Virginia Tech assistant coach Isaac Chew, reportedly dropped out of the running for the job.

Road woes: Mississippi State has emergency landing after engine failure

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Unusual travel occurrences can hit anyone and on Saturday night, two college basketball teams got hit with tough circumstances after road games. Oregon State had to go back to the gate at LAX after a woman was stung by a scorpion, but some scary stuff happened to Mississippi State.

Following a 77-74 road win over Missouri, the Bulldogs boarded a plane home to Starkville in Columbia, Mo. After taking off, the plane lost an engine and the flight was grounded safely in St. Louis. According to a report from Creg Stephenson of GulfLive.com, after not being able to take off on a replacement flight to Lexington, the team opted to stay in Missouri. With Mardi Gras festivities taking up the hotel rooms in St. Louis, Mississippi State had to stay at a hotel an hour away in Festus, Missouri.

Bulldog head coach Rick Ray commented on the situation on Twitter:

If you ever find yourself in a travel emergency, stay close to Mississippi State spokesman Gregg Ellis. Ellis was also with the program when they played in the Georgia Dome when a tornado hit the area during a SEC Tournament game against Alabama in 2008.

Four-star power forward becomes Mississippi State’s second 2016 commitment

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Just a couple days after announcing the signing of three players in the Class of 2015, Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray landed his second commitment in the Class of 2016.

Four-star power forward Darius Hicks, a native of Quitman, Mississippi, made the decision to remain in his home state according to Courtney Cronin of the Clarion-Ledger. The 6-foot-7 Hicks joins guard D’Marcus Simonds as players who have verbally committed to attending the SEC school in 2016.

As for where Hicks fits into Mississippi State’s plans upon his arrival on campus, he discussed what the coaches have in mind for him with Cronin.

“Coach Ray told me he would play me as a stretch forward – kind of what I am right now,” Hicks said. “They see me as a really versatile player with my form that can stretch the floor, kind of like what they have in (junior small forward) Travis Daniels.”

With three of Mississippi State’s five juniors being power forwards, adding talent and depth to this position is a key for the program in both the 2015 and 2016 classes. Current freshman Oliver Black will help account for those personnel losses moving forward, as will 2015 signee Joseph Struggs and Hicks.

Of Mississippi State’s four seniors on the current roster just one, 6-foot-7 Roquez Johnson, is a forward with guards Trivante Bloodman, Isaiah Butler and Jeffrey Johnson being the others.

Mississippi State’s leading scorer out 4-6 weeks, JuCo transfer done for season

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All is well with the Mississippi State football program in mid-October as the nation’s new No. 1 team. The men’s basketball team, however, is off to a bit of a rough start in the first few weeks of practice.

The school announced on Monday that last season’s top scorer Craig Sword will need to undergo surgery on a bulging disk in his back. The 6-foot-3 will miss 4-6 weeks, meaning even at the earliest, he’d still have little to no room to prepare for the team’s season opener.

As a sophomore, Sword averaged 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He was one of two Bulldogs — forward Gavin Ware being the other — to average double figures last year.

The press release also announced that 6-foot-9 three-star junior college transfer Johnny Zuppardo will miss the entire 2014-2015 season due to a torn ACL and meniscus. Zuppardo averaged 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season at Jones County Junior College (Mississippi).

Mississippi State, which finished last in the SEC last season, opens the 2014-2015 campaign on Nov. 14 at home against Western Carolina.

Guard Quinndary Weatherspoon becomes Mississippi State’s third 2015 commit

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One of the biggest challenges for a coach in rebuilding a struggling program is making strides on the recruiting trail. So when the coach has the opportunity to land a talented player, especially one within state lines, it’s imperative that they take advantage of the situation. Wednesday, Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray received some very good news for his program, as 6-foot-5 guard Quinndary Weatherspoon verbally committed to become a Bulldog.

The Bulldogs have enjoyed some success on the recruiting trail, especially when it comes to the 2015 class, so the commitment of Weatherspoon is another piece of good news for the program. News of Weatherspoon’s commitment was first reported by Courtney Cronin of the Clarion-Ledger.

RELATED: Weatherspoon shined at Peach Jam

Mississippi State was one of two programs to extend an offer to Weatherspoon in late April with Middle Tennessee being the other, with the Velma Jackson HS (Camden, Mississippi) product coming off of a junior season in which he averaged 16.7 points per game and helped lead his team to a Class 3A state title.

“MTSU told me how I can come in and play a lot my freshman year,” he said. “Mississippi State said that as a freshman I’ll be coming off the bench but by my sophomore year, I’ll get some good playing time.”

As a member of the Jackson Tigers program this spring Weatherspoon averaged 15.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in Nike EYBL play. He’s the third player to verbally commit to play at Mississippi State, with power forward Joseph Struggs and point guard Tookie Brown being the others.

Jacoby Davis transferring out of Mississippi State

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Mississippi State announced in a release on Friday that redshirt freshman guard Jacoby Davis intends to transfer to be closer to his home in Charlotte.

Davis’ mother, Michelle, has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Davis wants to be closer to her.

The 6-foot-1 guard was head coach Rick Ray’s first recruit at Mississippi State and missed his freshman season after tearing his ACL during individual workouts. Davis returned to the floor this season as a reserve and averaged 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in 28 games for the Bulldogs.

“I fully support Jacoby’s decision to transfer under these circumstances,” Ray said in the release. “Jacoby has been a model student-athlete here at Mississippi State but simply wants and needs to get back closer to home to support his mother.”

Mississippi State finished 14-19 and placed last in the SEC with a 3-15 record in 2013-14. Junior Trivante Bloodman and freshman I.J. Ready are both slated to return and should carry the bulk of the ball handling responsibilities for the Bulldogs next season.