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.