Mississippi State sophomore guard Jalen Steele (0) averaging 7 points per game this season. Photo by: Courtesy of MSU athletics department
January 25, 2012 12:58:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury knows exactly what the skill is of his sophomore shooting guard.
"I've always said that Jalen (Steele) is the one guy that does something different on this basketball team," Stansbury said Monday. "He is capable of doing what he did, jump up and make shots. He's the one guy, if you ask me what his role is -- it is to make shots."
Steele demonstrated that talent in remarkable fashion Saturday night going 5-for-8 from beyond the three-point arc and having all 15 points off the MSU bench as the 18th-ranked Bulldogs won in overtime 78-77 at Vanderbilt.
"At the beginning of the game I was feeling it," Steele said after the win. "Coach said to just go out there and keep shooting it. I kept my confidence and kept going out there to shoot it."
After such a performance, The Dispatch MSU Sports decided to document Steele's path to Mississippi State that has had some bumps along the way to Starkville with a front-page feature story in Wednesday's edition - http://www.cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=15277 - please go pick up a copy right now and tell my bosses that I sent you, thanks.
This season Steele is averaging 7.3 points per game this season for 18th-ranked MSU (16-4, (3-2) and is making 37 percent (34 of 92) of his shots from 3-point range. In one of the Bulldogs' 20 games this season has Steele failed to register in the scoring column.
MSU (16-4, 3-2) being without the services of freshman point guard DeVille Smith, after he was checked into a Jackson area hospital for the second time this season after suffering from symptoms of headaches and dizziness, will likely put more pressure on Steele to produce at a consistent rate.
Steele will get his opportunity to erase some mental demons of his knee injury when he faces the same team on the same court the accident occurred last season when LSU comes to Starkville tonight (7 p.m., WCBI) for a key conference contest. I'll have a full blog post on the game at Humphrey Coliseum Wednesday night in a few hours.
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