Just the mention of “Mississippi State” causes Brandon Hill to smile. Hill, a linebacker and defensive lineman on the West Lowndes High School football team, is as sure as he ever has been about his commitment to play football for the Bulldogs. Even though the possibility exists MSU (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) won’t have a winning season or play in a bowl game this season, Hill believes the Bulldogs have what it takes to reach the postseason.
STARKVILLE — The 2009-10 season will be all about change for Tysheka Grimes. One minute, you likely will see Grimes in the backcourt. The next, she could be at the small forward position, draining 3-pointers from the wing. The added wrinkle this season will be the Mississippi State women’s basketball team’s desire to use Grimes as a power forward. At 6-foot, Grimes doesn’t fit the traditional definition of a player who usually is a low-post presence.
Anthony Hines can’t wait to play in his first championship game. The former Starkville High School product is thankful he will have full use of both of his hands to make the most of the opportunity. The sophomore defensive back will lead the No. 7 East Mississippi Community College football team against two-time defending state champion and No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast (9-1) in the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC) state championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Renee Ladner wants to make sure her players finish what they start this season. A year ago, the University of Mississippi women’s basketball team lost eight games by nine points or less. Six of those games, including a one-point loss to perennial power Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., came against Southeastern Conference opponents.
The Mississippi State women’s basketball team is back in a familiar place. Unfortunately, it’s a situation Marneshia Richard would have liked to have avoided. But on Oct. 22 the senior point guard, who missed all of last season recovering from a knee injury, suffered what could be another season-ending knee injury.
Attorney Donald Jackson has noticed progress in the case of his client, Renardo Sidney, a Mississippi State freshman basketball player. Jackson held a meeting in his Montgomery, Ala., office Friday with MSU and NCAA representatives, and believes it could be an important step in getting Sidney eligible for the Bulldogs very soon. The NCAA has been investigating Sidney’s status as an amateur athlete since MSU signed him in April.
For the second year in a row, the Mississippi College women’s soccer team has earned a berth in the American Southwest Conference tournament. Sophomore Elizabeth Sanford has played a key role in helping the Lady Choctaws accomplish that feat. Sanford, a 2008 graduate of Starkville High School, has contributed at midfielder and helped Mississippi College make it to the tournament at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.
STARKVILLE — Anthony Dixon still has some unfinished business. Even after the Mississippi State senior running back had become the school’s all-time leading rusher and then rushed for a new single-game record 252 yards Saturday in a 31-24 victory against the University of Kentucky, there’s more on his mind. Dixon, who has 3,604 rushing yards, wants to help the Bulldogs make it to a postseason bowl. To do that, MSU (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) has to win two of its last three regular-season games, and Dixon wants to win all three.
SCOOBA — The No. 7 East Mississippi Community College football team secured its first trip to the MACJC state football championship game with a 26-16 semifinal-round victory against No. 19 Jones County on Saturday afternoon at Sullivan-Windham Field. EMCC (9-1) will try to avenge its only loss of the season when it plays host to No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast at 2 p.m. next week in Scooba. MGCCC defeated Coahoma 58-21 in the other semifinal. The Bulldogs beat the Lions 43-26 on Sept. 17.
STARKVILLE –– Ravern Johnson’s 23 points sparked a convincing 82-54 win by the 18th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs against the Oklahoma City Stars on Saturday afternoon in the exhibition opener for both teams at Humphrey Coliseum. Johnson, a junior, drained 6-of-10 three-pointers, shot 8 of 15 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds. “I started out slow, but I knew eventually if I kept shooting they would fall,” Johnson said. “Most of our shots today were wide-open shots, and we were very fortunate to not rush any.”
STARKVILLE — Marcus Washington has pleasant memories of Mississippi State’s game at the University of Kentucky two years ago. The defensive back had an interception to help the Bulldogs defeat the Wildcats 31-14. The victory helped carry them to a winning season (8-5) and Liberty Bowl berth. “It’s something I always think about,” Washington said. “I remember that game like it was yesterday. They were a ranked team and had a high-powered offense. We just came in with a mind-set to get the win.”
STARKVILLE — Dee Bost has noticed a change. As a freshman, Bost averaged more than 31 minutes a game and started all 36 games for the Mississippi State men’s basketball team. And while he was fourth on the team in scoring at 10.9 points per game, Bost didn’t always like how he felt on the court. “I used to get pushed around,” Bost said. “(Opponents would) give me a little nudge and throw me off track.” Opponents will see a different Dee Bost this season thanks to strength and conditioning coach Richard Akins.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s men’s basketball players and coaches say their focus is between the white lines. The program has received a lot of attention in the preseason for things that have happened outside those lines. The Bulldogs learned Thursday they are ranked in the top 20 of both preseason polls (18th by The Associated Press, 19th by the ESPN/USA Today Coaches).
University of Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks knows sophomore Ronnie Sneed can play linebacker. He just didn’t know he’d have to ask him to prove it this quickly. With the potential of not having senior All-Southeastern Conference linebacker Micah Johnson available at 6 p.m. Saturday for his team’s game against Mississippi State (Fox SportsNet South), Brooks might turn to Sneed.
STARKVILLE — David Turner has benefited from relationships established during his coaching career. One of those relationships helped him earn his first NCAA Division I job as a defensive ends coach at Kentucky in 1993. The bonds continue to help him as the defensive line coach at Mississippi State. Turner will return to Lexington, Ky., at 6 p.m. Saturday when Mississippi State plays at the Kentucky Wildcats (FOX SportsNet South).
During spring football drills, University of West Alabama sophomore Ricky Bell was moved from wide receiver to free safety. Bell has adjusted to the change and has found a home in the secondary at the school in Livingston, Ala. Bell, a 2008 graduate of Aberdeen High School, has earned a starting position after making the switch.
STARKVILLE — Johnthan Banks had two teeth removed last week ago, one for each of the interceptions he returned for touchdowns Saturday night in a 29-19 loss to the University of Florida.
STARKVILLE — Junior guard Phil Turner has a reason to feel like one of the elder statesmen of the Mississippi State basketball team. Turner, who turns 22 today, is considered one of the veterans on the 2009-10 squad.
Mark White and Sharon Thompson have plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The East Mississippi Community College men’s and women’s basketball coaches will share that optimism at 6 p.m. Wednesday when they play host to “EMCC Madness” at the Keyes T. Currie Coliseum in Scooba. Admission is free.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Marneshia Richard did everything she could last year to help the Mississippi State women’s basketball team. She cheered, she encouraged, she offered advice, and she provided leadership. Richard did all that as she watched ... and watched ... and watched.
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