The ticking is getting louder.
STARKVILLE - When a man decides after 28 years in the profession, 22 of them at Mississippi State University and 14 years as the head coach to do something else with his life, The Dispatch certainly believes this act is more than justifiable to be named MSU story of the year.
Sammy Smith's cell phone can rest for a little while. After a year's worth of hard work and arranging all of the details for the 16th annual Joe Horne Christmas Invitational, the Columbus High School boys basketball coach took a respite from planning for his program's signature event to enjoy the holiday with his family.
Jarvis Gunter is anxious for his next opportunity. Whether it is Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, or another country, the former Columbus High School basketball standout is eager to take next step in his journey.
Rachel Hollivay has her sights set on big things in 2013. If the last game is any indication, the former standout at New Hope High School and at Heritage Academy appears ready to deliver.
Billy Thomas knows how Sammy Smith feels. For the next day, Thomas will dread each time an unrecognizable number pops up on his cell phone. The Immanuel Christian boys basketball coach knows one of those calls could be a basketball coach calling to tell him his or her team won't be able to make the third annual Immanuel Christian School Christmas Invitational, which kicks off Thursday.
STARKVILLE -- Melvin Smith spent Christmas packing up his belongings and moving to another Southeastern Conference school. Smith, the Mississippi State University football team's cornerbacks coach from 2006-12, accepted the same position at Auburn University under new coach Gus Malzahn.
HONOLULU -- It took the University of Mississippi men's basketball team most of the game to put things together, but when it did, it took over the game quickly. Murphy Holloway scored 18 points and Mississippi pulled away from a tie game in the final minutes to defeat the University of Hawaii 81-66 in the fifth-place game of the Diamond Head Classic on Tuesday.
HONOLULU -- Two days before Christmas, there were no presents to be found for Andy Kennedy's University of Mississippi men's basketball team. Instead, Ole Miss (9-2) took to a consolation game of the Diamond Head Classic Sunday and came away with a hard-fought 85-78 victory against the University of San Francisco that was anything but gift-wrapped.
Glenn Schmidt recognized the possibilities. But the veteran Starkville Academy girls basketball coach wanted to talk to rising seniors Tiffany Huddleston and Anna Lea Little to find out what they thought the addition of Maggie Proffitt could mean to the team.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Tradition. When Pickens Academy asked John Gartman to take over as the school's head football coach, Gartman listed tradition as the No. 1 factor in saying yes.
REFORM, Ala. -- Pickens County High School junior running back Jermarcus Brown calls his team "one big family." Senior lineman Terrien Steele claims the squad has success because it stays together through the good and the bad times.
STARKVILLE -- Once the decorations are tucked away and Santa Claus bids farewell, basketball will return to the forefront at Mississippi State University's Humphrey Coliseum. A full week of basketball will tip off Wednesday with the second Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at The Hump tournament, hosted by Starkville High School. The three-day event will feature three games a day through Friday.
The Columbus High School girls basketball team was overwhelmed from the jump Saturday night at the Joe Horne Christmas Invitational at Columbus High. Wenonah (Ala.) began the game on a 15-2 run and never looked back in a 78-53 victory.
If the Starkville Academy girls basketball team can handle the rest of the season like the past three days, the rest of the state is in for quite a show. Starkville Academy weathered the injury to a key bench player Thursday and then learned the father of one of its players died. It kept its composure Friday in a victory and delivered another dominating display Saturday to cap its run.
The Noxubee County High School boys basketball team will get a lot of strong offensive nights from Jamarri Johnson. Now, coach T.J. Billups is making sure Johnson's supporting cast is just as capable.
Columbus High School boys basketball coach Sammy Smith really likes when his team finds its defensive identity. The Falcons found just that in the fourth quarter Friday of a nip-and-tuck battle at the Joe Horne Christmas Invitational.
JACKSON -- Gavin Ware has the unique opportunity to play college basketball at his hometown university. However, the former Starkville High School All-State performer decided to have his coming-out party two hours down the road.
HONOLULU -- In a game of ups and downs, the Indiana State University men's basketball team finished on a strong note.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jakob Gollon made two free throws with 1 minute, 19 seconds left and the Mercer University men's basketball team overcame a double-digit, first-half deficit to upset the University of Alabama 66-59 on Saturday.
1. MSU's Jung wears No. 3 to honor great-grandmother COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Victory Christian shows it has potential to have dominating D line HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Starkville Academy earns redemption against Lamar School HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Gray leds Heritage Academy past Kirk Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Starkville's ground game too much for Noxubee County HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS