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MSU BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Thomas shines in MSU open scrimmage


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University freshman guard Fred Thomas showcased his natural ability that could likely translate easiest from high school to college -- scoring. 


The 6-foot-5 wing player from Jim Hill High School in Jackson scored 13 points in a near 10-minute stretch of the open scrimmage Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum. After missing four of his five shots, all of which were from beyond the three-point arc, Thomas began to found his mid-range game inside the lane more often making his final four shots of the evening. 


"Fred can shoot the basketball," MSU first-year head coach Rick Ray said with a laugh. "Now he's got to learn what the difference is between a good shot and a bad shotbut having a guy that can make shots like that just spreads the defense." 


It was a turnover plagued 20-minute scrimmage where Ray's new-look motion offense looked at times more like what he described last week at Southeastern Conference Media Day in Hoover, Ala., as "motion sickness". The only true point guard on the MSU roster is sophomore Trivante Bloodman and the instant transition of freshman Craig Sword to the lead guard spot caused four turnovers and five fouls in the scrimmage. 


"He has a high turnover rate for a point guard," Ray said of Bloodman. "That's the biggest thing he has to correct, but as far as being a leader, a guy who is a defensive pest and a guy who is going to try to make sure his job is (winning), he's done a really good job with that." 


The Bulldogs combined two teams turned the ball over 16 times and 12 of those giveaways coming from guards new to the system. 


"We got a long way to go in that regard," Ray said. "We got to just continue to toughen up and the exhibition game (Sunday against William Carey College) will give us a chance to how feel in game scenarios." 




SHS star Gavin Ware productive in open scrimmage: The one frontcourt player that established himself offensively was former Starkville High star Gavin Ware as the 6-foot-8 forward was able to get to the lane consistently in the paint. 


Ware was 6-for-8 from the charity stripe and finished the 20-minute session with eight points and five rebounds while battling senior center Wendell Lewis. 


"Gavin is going to have the opportunity to play," Ray said at SEC Media Day last week. "No matter how good Wendell Lewis is, he is not going to play 40 minutes a game. Gavin has a big ole body. If he ducks in there is not very many guys who can keep from getting around him. We expect Gavin to be a big part of our team this year and we really expect a lot of him in the future." 




Roquez Johnson sits out final part of practice due to left knee: MSU sophomore forward Roquez Johnson hurt his left knee after banging the knee against another player a few minutes after the start of the scrimmage. 


The 6-foot-7 forward from Montgomery, was seen with MSU trainer Scotty Johnson after suffering the injury and applied an ice pack to the left knee while sitting out most of the 20-minute scrimmage.  


Johnson, who was a starter in most of the drills prior to the scrimmage, finished with just two points and no rebounds. Johnson is expected to contribute heavily in 2012-13 after appearing in just four Southeastern Conference games and missing his lone field-goal attempt coming against against the University of Mississippi. 


Johnson was able to contribute in the post scrimmage stretching suggesting the injury won't be as severe and may not involve any further time away from the court.



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