February 4, 2011 8:32:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State men''s basketball team thought point guard Dee Bost would be the talisman to help calm the rough waters of a difficult non-conference journey.
Bost is averaging more than 18 points a game and has solidified a position that was unsettled before his return from academic and NCAA suspension, but his presence hasn''t been enough to keep off-the-court issues from hovering over the team.
On Thursday, MSU coach Rick Stansbury banned his players from having Twitter accounts following senior guard Ravern Johnson''s critical rant Wednesday night after the team''s loss at the University of Alabama.
Said Johnson via Twitter, "Starting to see why people Transfer you can play the minutes but not getting your talents shown because u watching someone else wit the ball the whole game shooters need to move not watch why other coaches get that do not make sense to me."
Johnson''s tweet was re-tweeted by teammate Renardo Sidney, and both players exchanged negative tweets with critical fans.
"It''s a new world we live in with Twitter and all the things you can do on the Internet," Stansbury said in a statement released by the school. "After the game last night, we had a frustrated player that gets on Twitter and says things that aren''t appropriate. In the heat of the moment, some young men just don''t understand once they put something out there for everyone to see, there is no taking it back. That''s why I''m banning the use of Twitter."
Johnson deleted his tweet shortly after posting it, and both he and Sidney deleted their Twitter accounts Wednesday night.
Johnson had 10 points (2-of-7 from the field) and played all 40 minutes for the second straight game. Once the team''s leading scorer at more than 20 points per game, Johnson has seen his scoring average drop by five points per game since MSU embarked on its five-game, cross-country road swing, and has shot below 40 percent in six of 12 games since Dec. 18.
Johnson missed a game earlier this season for missing too many classes and was suspended for MSU''s home game against the University of Kentucky last year for conduct detrimental to the team.
Johnson isn''t the only MSU player to face a suspension this season. Sidney has faced two coach-levied suspensions. He missed a game in Hawaii for a practice-related incident and then missed two games following a public fist-fight with former teammate Elgin Bailey.
Bost has criticized the team this season for not playing with enough heart, even in the games in which he didn''t play.
The Bulldogs (11-10, 3-4) have lost seven games by double-digits since Dec. 14, and three of their past four games. Two of those losses have been on the road.
MSU will play at 3 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network) at LSU (10-12, 2-5). Three of MSU''s next four games are on the road, including a trip to No. 10 Kentucky on Feb. 15.
The Bulldogs have had to chase sizable first-half leads in their past two games. The Bulldogs also were outrebounded by 22 at Georgia and by 14 at Alabama, partly due to forwards Sidney and Kodi Augustus battling early foul trouble.
Stansbury said he thought his team was "shook" when Alabama built an early lead and used a press to get turnovers and transition buckets.
When asked Wednesday how he would address playing better early on the road, Stansbury''s response sounded less than confident.
"You just hope you don''t do it," Stansbury said. "I don''t know the reason we had 12 turnovers, but we just didn''t handle the ball well in those stretches."
LSU has lost five straight games by an average of 21.6 points per game.
ckirby commented at 2/4/2011 9:57:00 AM:
Considering the prolific use of profanity on the part of MSU students and fans who use social networking sites, as evidenced in the feeds displayed on the Commercial Dispatch site, I'm not surprised at what the coach did. Tweets from mixtapefeen are a good example of the behavior I'm referring to. Maybe Mr. Dunlap, the members of the university's sports teams and the student body would ultimately benefit from remembering that nothing can be removed from the web.
ready4achange commented at 2/4/2011 12:22:00 PM:
You are correct, ckirby! I couldn't agree with you more. This younger generation doesn't understand that. I am only 35 but I was not raised by parents who condoned such behaivor as being "typical teenage/young adult behaivor". Once uploaded or sent to the internet, it might as well be written in stone...it exists forever!
jbw commented at 2/4/2011 7:11:00 PM:
Where there is smoke there is a fire and Stansbury is a terrible coach who doesn't know how to control his kids.. He lost too many games last year in the last minute of the game and he should have been fired.. I hope Strickland has the courage to get rid of this guy and get a quality coach.. Stansbury can't even speak the kings english and has a problem with leadership..
raider commented at 2/5/2011 8:58:00 PM:
It is time for Stansbury to go. He lost control of his team a long time ago. I don't think any of the players has any respect for him anymore. He over reacts to small things and overlooks major problems. Basically, Ravern Johnson is getting the same punishment for Tweeting that Sidney and Bailey got for fighting in the stands. He really needs to get a grip if he is allowed to continue. Since at least last summer, the program has been in a tail spin. I blame his lack of leadership in the fiasco that cost Phil Turner his scholarship and Dee Bost missing the NBA draft deadline. A major college coach needs to manage his teams better than Stansbury.
It's time for MSU to set thier sites on becoming a respectable D1 program and quit basking in the glory of making the final four 15 years ago. The fans need to let Strickland know that mediocrity is not good enough. Stansbury has been there 13 years and hasn't made the sweet 16 yet. It's time for him to go.