Rick Ray gets a second signee in guard Andre Applewhite II

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New head coach Rick Ray has a lot of work to do at Mississippi State as a roster hit hard by departures needs to be filled if the Bulldogs are to be competitive in the SEC next season.

On Wednesday the former Clemson assistant added guard Jacoby Davis, and Thursday’s signee will be just as important in 2012-13.

Andre Applewhite II, a 6-5 guard from Memphis who was the focus of a bitter Twitter war between Mississippi State and Western Kentucky fans, chose the Bulldogs on Thursday.

When discussing his decision with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Applewhite not only mentioned the fact that he was shown MSU’s academic facilities but also how well Ray got along with his little brother.

“I really liked coach Ray,” he said. “He looked me in the eye and told me what I needed to get better on. He’s real down to earth and he really got along well with my little brother (Alden).

“And what really shocked me when I visited Tuesday was that they showed me the academic facilities. They want you to succeed as a student, not just as an athlete.”

A first team all-state selection, Applewhite should have every opportunity possible to earn immediate playing time.

His father, who coached him in high school, said that Applewhite will likely be better in college than he was in high school due to his build and basketball IQ.

With Dee Bost graduating and Rodney Hood transferring both Applewhite and Davis will need to be ready from the start.

They’ll take their lumps for sure but this is a good start for Rick Ray and the Mississippi State program.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.