May 1, 2012 6:27:44 PM
STARKVILLE - The Mississippi State University men's basketball program added a local talent Monday that the coaching staff is hoping can make an immediate impact next season.
East Mississippi Community College men's basketball coach Mark White confirmed to The Dispatch Monday evening his forward Colin Borchert had signed with the Bulldogs program under new coach Rick Ray.
Coming out of high school in Arizona, Borchert had offers from USC, Kentucky, California, Nebraska, and UNLV as a three-star recruit by most scouting services but has to go the junior college route in order to qualify as a Division 1 college basketball player.
Before visiting the MSU campus this past weekend, Borchert toured Georgetown University, Xavier University and the University of South Alabama this past month.
"(MSU) was just the perfect fit for me," said Borchert. "I actually committed to them last week, but I signed today. They needed a change in leadership and direction and Coach Ray is bringing a new attitude to MSU. He wants hustle and toughness more then anything else and that's what I can provide."
Borchert seems to be another version of All-Big Ten selection Robbie Hummel, a player that Ray had the pleasure of coaching while as assistant at Purdue University under head coach Matt Painter.
"I am really excited about Colin deciding to become a part of the Bulldog family," Ray said. "I put a premium on having a skilled four that can shoot the basketball and stretch the defense. Colin has that ability. I am impressed with the way Coach White utilized him with the offense and how they won and advanced in the national tournament. I think his ability to shoot will make everybody on our team better players because they will have room to go make plays."
What Borchert can also provide instantly is the scoring ability at either the small forward or power forward position for a rebuilding MSU program next season. Borchert averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds last season in route to being named as a third-team National Junior College Association All-America selection.
He is a really skilled big man and that's something everybody will see from day one with Colin," White said. "He has the ability to step out and hit the three-pointer consistently and made more from beyond the arc than anybody else on our team. That's the skill that impressed Coach Ray the most."
Borchert already knows after talking with the MSU coaching staff this past weekend that his best asset is his versatility to the Bulldogs developing but inexperienced frontcourt situation for the 2012-13 season.
"At the (small forward), I am going to step out and shoot the long three," Borchert said. "With my size and quickness, I will be tough for a three to guard. I don't think most will be able to."
However, White has tried to impress a willingness to bang at the low block with Borchert and that's something that is continuing to develop in his game. His ability to rebound and defend at the low block will be critical to his ability to play consistent minutes at the power forward position for MSU next season.
"We were real pleased that he did that low post work for us this year and it's something that's we would talk about with Division 1 coaches is his unbelievable body type," White said. "He can put weight and strength on but what happened was he got sick and lost about 12-15 pounds before our season started. The plan for him is go straight from EMCC to their place for the summer to work with their strength program. He won't be going home to Phoenix."
Borchert joins point guard Jacoby Davis and shooting guard Andre Applewhite as players Ray's has signed to MSU in the last two weeks. All three are expected to enroll at MSU this summer and will be available to play extended minutes started next season.
"I actually got a chance to bond with them," said Borchert. "One of our point guards and myself became very close friends. I am very excited to join them.
3. Ho ho ho -- Downtown Open House heralds the holidays ENTERTAINMENT