EL PASO, Texas — University of Texas at El Paso men’s basketball coach Tim Floyd continued Thursday to add to his first recruiting class at the school by announcing the signing of center Rashanti Harris. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Harris is regarded as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com. He was rated the No. 15 player in the country by HoopScoop, No. 17 by Scout.com, No. 26 by Rivals.com, and No. 37 by ESPN following a dominant prep career at New Hope High School. Scout.com also regarded Harris as the No. 2 center in the Class of 2008. Harris averaged 19.7 points, 15 rebounds, and 4.5 blocked shots as a senior, shooting 65 percent from the field. He was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Mississippi after leading New Hope High School to the 2008 Class 4A state title.
STARKVILLE — With three chances lost at Alabama, the Mississippi State baseball team hopes to avoid another disappointing weekend against a division opponent and claw back into the race for a Southeastern Conference tournament spot. Last weekend’s rain-affected series against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Ala., saw the Bulldogs squander leads with single-inning meltdowns. The Bulldogs had a seven-run lead evaporate in Game 2 before losing a 4-1 lead in Game 3. Mississippi State coach John Cohen admits the team is frustrated with the nature of the losses, but as he explained Thursday, the Bulldogs (20-20, 5-13 SEC) have gone through the growing pains of playing the most freshmen in the conference.
Dave Telep has fond memories of Rashanti Harris. In December 2007, Telep, the national recruiting director for Scout.com, watched as Harris, then a senior at New Hope High School, held his own with some of the nation’s top post players at the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.
When Brent Hallmark struggled with his control as a freshman pitcher at Delta State, he contemplated hanging up his cleats. But Hallmark didn’t give up that easily and has persevered to become a solid late-inning reliever his sophomore season at Delta State. Hallmark, a 2007 graduate of New Hope High School, has found a remedy for his control issues by going to a sidearm delivery as recommended by former Delta State and major league pitcher Matt Miller, and he’s thriving out of the bullpen.
STARKVILLE — Mondays have been newsworthy days for Mississippi State athletics this year. Greg Byrne’s announcement of his decision to leave for the University of Arizona came on a Monday, as did men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury’s selection to turn down Clemson’s offer to become its new coach remain at MSU. This week, that theme was continued when MSU guards Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson opted enter the NBA draft.
STARKVILLE –– Anthony Dixon waited longer than he wanted to on the final day of the NFL draft, but the crossed fingers, prayers and nervous energy turned to joy in the sixth round. A life-long San Francisco 49ers fan, Dixon grew up hoping to grace the same field as his favorite player, Jerry Rice, once did. Saturday, San Francisco drafted the Mississippi State record-setter with the 173rd overall pick, bolstering a backfield that already has Pro Bowler Frank Gore and former Alabama running back Glen Coffee.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State announced Friday senior associate athletic director Duncan McKenzie will serve as interim athletic director while the school continues its search for a long term replacement for Greg Byrne. McKenzie also serves as the athletic department’s chief financial officer. He is a former football letterman, starring for MSU as a tight end from 1974-78. He played in the Sun Bowl his freshman season.
HAMILTON — Good athletes come by their talent naturally and, rightfully so, are remembered for their extraordinary athletic skills. Unfortunately, because some have been blessed with an abundance of athletic ability and little else, they never learn that becoming an exceptional athlete takes more than having fantastic skills. So what distinguishes a good athlete from a great one?
Mississippi State University announced Friday its senior associate athletic director Duncan McKenzie will serve as interim athletic director while the school continues its search for a long term replacement for Greg Byrne.
STARKVILLE — Two weeks ago, Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen could see the effects of a sluggish conference start beginning to take a toll on his team. Cohen made it a point for the coaching staff to analyze every aspect of the Bulldogs’ week –– from batting practice to bullpen routines to overall energy and enthusiasm. During a critical home stretch and in danger of falling behind the eight ball in the race to make the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Cohen sat down with his players and doled out individual assignments and critiques on “effort level and things that we hadn’t been doing a good job of,” Mississippi State senior first baseman Connor Powers said.
STARKVILLE — While most NFL draft prospects head to specialized pre-combine training destinations, Anthony Dixon didn’t see a reason to leave home. After re-writing Mississippi State’s rushing records, the Bulldogs’ heralded running back chose to do his pre-draft testing with MSU strength coach Matt Balis.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State hasn’t had a player selected in the NFL draft since 2007, but this year figures to be the end of that run.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State football team’s Maroon-White game showcased the Bulldogs’ young talent that could become the household names of the future.
Work already has started to build on the best season in Mississippi State women’s basketball history. But the Lady Bulldogs took Monday to celebrate as a group for perhaps one final time at their season-ending banquet at the Hunter Henry Center.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen called Saturday’s Maroon-White Game a “celebration” of the hard work his team put in during spring practice. Basically, the Maroon team won 26-13 and the announced crowd of 34,127 got to see the team’s redshirt players from last season. Most notably, it was quarterback Tyler Russell in his first “big atmosphere” performance. With the team split in half, Russell had just one of Mississippi State’s starting linemen and struggled early on.
STARKVILLE — Two home runs by Ryan Duffy and a complete game by Chris Stratton on Saturday lifted the Mississippi State baseball team past Tennessee 11-7 at Dudy Noble Field. Mississippi State tied the Super Bulldog Weekend series at one game each heading into today’s rubber match. For Duffy and Stratton, who received a shaving cream pie-to-the-face celebration, the win provided a major boost after Mississippi State coach John Cohen was ejected from Friday’s game.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury’s lengthy diatribe about John Wall’s rebound in the waning seconds of Mississippi State’s loss to Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game will cost him $30,000. The SEC announced Thursday, per league bylaw SEC Bylaw 10.5.4, which prohibits coaches, players and support personal from publicly criticizing officials, that Stansbury would be hit with the league’s first fine for a hoops coach for such an offense. Stansbury’s critical comments came a day after Mississippi State lost 75-74 in overtime to Kentucky, costing the Bulldogs an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
STARKVILLE — Depth, experience and leadership have topped Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen’s checklist for offensive improvements this spring. Prior to Mississippi State’s Maroon-White game on Saturday, his list hasn’t changed much. Mississippi State’s receiving corps, offensive line and running back stable have had mixed rotations this spring and with that Mullen has seen performances fluctuate.
STARKVILLE — Nearing the halfway point of the season, Mississippi State coach John Cohen isn’t surprised about where his team is so far. At 17-16 overall and 3-9 in the Southeastern Conference, the Bulldogs are in last place in the SEC Western Division. Mississippi State will meet the last-place team from the SEC East this weekend when it hosts Tennessee at Dudy Noble Field. Game times are 6:30 p.m. today, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
STARKVILLE — For Jenny Hazelwood and the Mississippi State volleyball team, Saturday’s alumni match will be a chance to relax. The Lady Bulldogs have spent the offseason working on ball control, improving strength and building off their 2009 finish, which saw them win three of their last four matches. Hazelwood and assistants Lindi Bankowski and Branden Higa have spent a significant portion of the offseason recruiting for the 2011 class, using the strong finish last season to increase the talent pool.
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