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Dre Applewhite becomes latest player to leave MSU men's basketball program


Mississippi State redshirt freshman guard Andre Applewhite (2) has decided to transfer from the Bulldogs program.

Mississippi State redshirt freshman guard Andre Applewhite (2) has decided to transfer from the Bulldogs program.


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE -- Dre Applewhite has become just another name to the list of players that have decided to leave the Mississippi State men's basketball program early.  


MSU coach Rick Ray announced Monday Applewhite, a redshirt freshman guard from Memphis, has decided to transfer to another school and will not participate for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.  


Applewhite had drawn starts in the last six games over sophomore Fred Thomas and had averaged 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game in 12 games. No specific were given to the decision Applewhite made following the fall semester of the 2013-14 academic year.  


"Transfers have unfortunately become common in college basketball," Ray said via a university release. "We wish Dre well," Ray said. 


Over 425 players transferred to and from Division 1 men's college basketball rosters for the 2013-14 season and Applewhite becomes the 10th player to leave or be dismissed from the MSU program with eligibility remaining. Without the services of Applewhite, MSU will be down to eight active scholarship players for the remainder of the season.  


Last season, Applewhite, a three-star prospect by several recruiting services, suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee that required season-ending surgery. Following his rehabilitation, Applewhite began to provide quality minutes for the Bulldogs (9-3) at three different positions on the floor.  


In just his third start to the season, Applewhite handled himself more than adequately despite the MSU coaching staff knowing that against SEC opponents he could be a matchup problem while staring at bigger bodies on the low block. However, against mid-major competition Applewhite's energy level and effort on both ends more than effectively gave MSU one of its best 20-minute starts in a 78-65 victory over Florida A&M on Dec. 17. 


"I thought we had a lot of energy in the first half," MSU head coach Rick Ray said after the win. "Dre Applewhite really provided us the energy that we need to have. We also got to the free throw line. In the first half alone, we had 13 buckets and nine assists on those, so that is what we want to do on the offensive end." 


Applewhite chose MSU over Western Kentucky and Arkansas State two years ago when Ray and his new MSU staff were quickly trying to formulate a recruiting class. He helped lead Central High School to the 3A State title game his senior season where averaged 21.3 points per game to go with 11.1 rebounds but never got into any form of rhythm once he stepped on the Starkville campus.  


"Toughness is an attribute I covet the most and Andrew Applewhite has it in groves," Ray said on April 26 when Applewhite signed with MSU. "I love the fact he's a coach's son. He comes from a great family, where doing the right things is important to them. I'm excited about the future of Andre and his continued development at Mississippi State because he's a willing worker." 


En route to the state tilt, Applewhite was tabbed Regional MVP and garnered All-Tournament team accolades. He was also named to the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Best of the Prep and the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State teams. 


"Mississippi State is going to get a very hard worker," Andre Applewhite Sr., father and high school coach of MSU's signee, said. "He's going to find a way to win. He's well versed. He's going to play hard, and he's going to give 100 percent every night. He's a basketball player and takes advantages of opportunities on the floor. He can take it to the rim, and he has a nice mid-range game, as good as there is in Tennessee. But he can also shoot the 3-ball. It's just a matter of him developing for the college level." 


MSU returns to action at 7 p.m. Thursday at Humphrey Coliseum against Maryland Eastern Shore before entering Southeastern Conference play at No. 15 Kentucky on Jan. 8.  




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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