STARKVILLE -- Preston Baker feels like he is ready to take the next step.
STARKVILLE -- David Deets has spent several years training college athletes, but he is no stranger to high school athletes.
STARKVILLE -- Maroon and white. Maroon and gray. Maroon and black. There are so many color combinations that Jazmine Spears can wear a different piece of Mississippi State women's basketball apparel almost every day. After waiting two years to get to Starkville, Spears plans to make the most of her next two years and mix and match tops and bottoms to create a lasting impression.
STARKVILLE -- During his days at Madison Central High School, Xavian Stapleton didn't care where he played basketball at the next level. He just wanted to play. Coming from a team he helped lead to a runner-up finish in Class 6A in 2012-13, the 6-foot-6 guard didn't have many offers from programs within power conferences -- including Mississippi State -- so he selected Louisiana Tech. "I always wanted to go there (MSU), but even if it didn't happen, I just wanted to play basketball," said Stapleton, who also had offers from Middle Tennessee State, Southern Mississippi, Florida Gulf Coast, and Tulane.
STARKVILLE -- Growing up, Nick Griffin only dreamed of playing in the National Football League. But Griffin is putting that dream on hold. Earlier this year, the former Mississippi State football player was hired by new Madison Central High School football coach Brad Peterson to coach the running backs. Peterson wanted a coach who fit his personality and the personality of his staff. That's what he found when he interviewed Griffin, who had 3.0 grade-point average and was a three-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Fall Honor Roll.
It's easy to detect the passion in Taylor Chisolm's voice. A few years ago, soccer would have been the topic of conversation. After all, Chisolm set a school record for goals in a season as a senior at Caledonia High School in 2009. His exploits helped lead the Confederates to a school-best 14-5 record and the Class 4A North Half title game. Since then, though, Chisolm has found a new hobby, or passion, to occupy some of his spare time. Don't think for one second that just because you might not have heard of the sport -- disc golf -- Chisolm isn't as passionate about it as he was about soccer. In fact, if you know Chisolm, he might be even more consumed with disc golf than he ever was about soccer.
Aaron Gordon is always looking for ways to grow the sport of soccer. When you're trying to build a successful program in one of the nation's most competitive conference, it's natural to try to find a way to use the momentum from another top team to help you generate enthusiasm. Gordon and the Mississippi State women's soccer program will try to do that at 6 tonight when they play host to a Women's World Cup watch party for the match between the United States and Japan at Buffalo Wild Wings on Highway 12 in Starkville.
STARKVILLE -- George Brooks has learned the value of patience since becoming an assistant coach for the Mississippi State men's basketball team. In the past five years, the former Bulldog player twice has found himself in limbo, as two MSU head coaches he served under were let go. The first time came when Rick Stansbury stepped down after the 2011-12 season. The second came in April, when Rick Ray was fired after three losing seasons. Both times Brooks wondered if he would have a job in Starkville, or if he would have to look somewhere else, so he had to exercise patience in unsure times.
There already is a legacy set to play out this season for the Mississippi State basketball team. There could be a second for the 2016-17 season. On Tuesday, Starkville High School's Tyson Carter received a scholarship offer from MSU after he attended a MSU basketball camp last week. The offer is Carter's second from a Division I school, but it is his first from a Southeastern Conference team. Murray State also has offered Tyson Carter a scholarship.
STARKVILLE -- Southeastern Conference men's basketball will see several new faces roaming the sidelines later this year. Those faces are pretty recognizable at the national level. Mississippi State, Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida all hired new head coaches this offseason, and all four received high praise from college basketball experts.
STARKVILLE -- Jarrod Parks spent three years in Starkville as a student-athlete with the Mississippi State baseball team. He has found his way back to the home of the Bulldogs, but this time he will work at one of the area high schools. Earlier this week, Parks was hired as the new Starkville Academy baseball coach. Parks' first job as a head coach became official Wednesday.
Jeremy Shaw didn't sound like a driver willing to chalk up a 15th-place finish to bad luck. Midway through a Limited Late Model race at Columbus Speedway on June 6, Shaw's No. 1s car slowed after its battery died. After the race, Shaw, who'd won a race at Columbus earlier this season and finished second twice at Magnolia Motor Speedway, knew he had more unnerving issues.
For Terryonte Thomas, the grind begins each day around 6 a.m. The New Hope High School rising junior is determined to play football or basketball on the Division I level. Putting in long hours during the summer will be the key to making that dream a reality.
IRVINE, Calif. -- Former New Hope High School standout and Louisiana-Lafayette rising sophomore DJ Sanders is three games into her first international experience with the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team. Through three games at the World Cup of Softball X in Irvine, California, Sanders is 3-for-7 for the JWNT program, which is making its first appearance in the World Cup.
Allison Woolbright can recall being in gymnasiums as far back as her memory allows. If Woolbright had to guess, that's probably where she developed her love for sports and her competitive spirit. It also helped that Woolbright's mother, Rachel Prater Meacham, worked as a volleyball coach at Millport (Ala.) and South Lamar high schools, which is where Allison honed her skills as a volleyball and as a basketball player.
STARKVILLE -- Jazzmun "Jazz" Holmes isn't going to let her relative inexperience hold her back. Going up against speedsters like Morgan William and Roshunda Johnson every day in practice should be just the test Holmes needs to make a quick adjustment to the Mississippi State women's basketball team.
STARKVILLE - Few men truly get to live out their dreams.
STARKVILLE -- Two positions of need for the Mississippi State football team took unexpected hits Tuesday. MSU's offensive line lost three of five starters from last season, and both starting safeties graduated, leaving questions at both spots. Those questions remain following the transfers of offensive lineman Kent Flowers and defensive back Jahmere Irvin-Sills.
STARKVILLE -- Zion Campbell usually is one of the tallest players on the basketball court. At 6-foot-3, Campbell has grown accustomed to having her way in the post, whether it has been at Riverdale Baptist School (Md.), St. John's College (Washington, D.C.) High School, or Hilton Head (S.C.) High. Part of "owning" the paint involves knowing how to throw your weight around and to bang bodies with opponents to get position for rebounds or to set yourself up close to the basket for an easy shot. It has taken only a few weeks for Campbell to realize she likely will have to try to new way to utilize her size to help her make an impact on the Mississippi State women's basketball team.
For a longtime player in the National Basketball Association, it might seem a little odd that three of Travis Outlaw's favorite days of the year take place at the Starkville Sportsplex. Outlaw will again serve as host for the The Elite "Travis Outlaw" Basic Skills and Fundamentals Basketball Camp on Tuesday through Thursday at the Outlaw Center at the Sportsplex. The camp is open to all age groups and will run from 8 a.m. to noon each day. The cost is $75 per person.
2. Harris, Heritage Academy will count on seniors to lead way HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Howland likes MSU's non-conference schedule COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Central Academy hopes to contend for state title HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Walters column: Prep football season coming closer LOCAL COLUMNS