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Bulldogs lose Steele to wrist injury; Borchert to miss Hawaii trip


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- Even after a victory, the news doesn't get any better for the Mississippi State University men's basketball program. 


School officials announced Wednesday junior guard Jalen Steele will be out approximately six weeks with a fractured left wrist suffered in a 78-58 win over Florida Atlantic University 


The Bulldogs returner leader in nearly every statistical category from last season became the latest in a string of injuries for the MSU program in head coach Rick Ray's first season in Starkville. 


Steele, who averaged 8.7 points per game and drawing 16 starts last season, suffered injuries to both his head and right wrist in Tuesday's 78-58 victory over Florida Atlantic University. Steele received eight stitches in his head after tumbling hard to the floor on a contested lay-up attempt. The MSU training staff looked over the 6-foot-3 guard for several minutes before even bringing a stretcher out on the playing floor. Steele was able to walk off the floor on his own power but was taken to a local hospital for further evaluations on both his head and his left wrist that he used to brace his fall. 


The Dispatch learned an MRI scan was done on the left wrist Wednesday afternoon after it was determined he did not suffer a concussion by falling to the floor. X-rays were done on his shooting hand. 


MSU (1-1) has now seen four different players miss games due to injuries throughout the start of the 2012-13 season. The Bulldogs will be down to eight active players, six of whom are on scholarship, when they travel to next week's Maui Invitational starting with a matchup with the No. 11 University of North Carolina. 


"I feel for Jalen because he put in a great deal of work in the offseason so that he could take advantage of the opportunity that was present for him this season," MSU coach Rick Ray said in a school release. "I know with Jalen's work ethic that he will attack his rehab and be ready to come back and help this team when that time comes." 


In two games this season, Steele totaled 18 points and 7 rebounds in 57 minutes of action. At Troy, he had a team-high 16 points. In Steele's absence, freshman guard Craig Sword will likely be getting the first ever start in his college basketball career with the backup being walk-on Tyson Cunningham. The Columbus native logged a career-high 21 minutes Tuesday against FAU after totaling just 14 minutes for the entire 2011-12 season. 




MSU forward Borchert suspended for violation of team rules 


MSU junior forward Colin Borchert has been suspended for what the school is calling a violation of team rules and will not accompany the team to Hawaii when they leave this morning for the Maui Invitational. 


The Phoenix, Ariz., native, an All-American transfer from East Mississippi Community College, started the first two games for the Bulldogs this season and is averaging 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds while logging 27.5 minutes a game. 


"It is unfortunate for the rest of our team with all that we have been through thus far that we had to suspend Colin," Ray said. 


Borchert was informed of the suspension this week after Ray had known about the violation before the start of the 2012-13 season. 


Borchert has provided the shooting ability at either the power forward position for a rebuilding MSU program. 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. Borchert joined point guard Jacoby Davis and shooting guard Andre Applewhite as players Ray signed to MSU during a two-weeks period in May. None of those players will be active for the Maui Invitational as both Davis and Applewhite are out with season-ending injury. 




MSU inks three prospects from 2013 class 


MSU received National Letter-of-Intents from three basketball prospects Wednesday for the first day of the early signing period. 


The Bulldogs got scholarship papers back from Little Rock, Ark., high school point guard IJ Ready and junior college forwards Quantel Denson and Travis Daniels. 


Ready held scholarship offers from the University of Alabama, University of Florida, University of Nebraska and Texas Tech University. 


Ready averaged 20.1 points and 5.2 assists per game as a junior at Parkview High School in Little Rock last season. He was already being highly recruited by assistant coach Wes Flanigan before Rick Ray got the job in Starkville and brought Flanigan to the Bulldogs staff. 


"IJ Ready is officially a Bulldog," Ray tweeted Wednesday from his @RickRay1 account. "Can't wait for this proven winner to be in our program. We are on the right track with IJ joining r family" 


Denson chose MSU over Marquette University, University of Missouri, and Oklahoma State University, among others. Denson had originally committed to Missouri before an arrest in mid 2011 while he was at Hutchinson Community College for charges of aggravated burglary, felony theft and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary. 


"It's official, Quantel Denson is now part of the Bulldog family," Ray tweeted. "Excited about what his skill and talent will bring to our team next season!" 


Daniels, a 6-foot-9 forward from Shelton State Community College, chose MSU over offers from Wichita State, Western Kentucky, and Southern Miss. He is also a former AAU teammate of current Bulldogs players Roquez Johnson and Craig Sword. 


Daniels averaged 6.4 points per game last year but had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a 103-80 victory at Itawamba Community College On Nov. 5.



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