Smith, Zeidaks Dismissed for ‘Repeated’ Rules Violations

Mississippi State coach Rick Ray has dismissed guard Shaun Smith and forward Kristers Zeidaks for “repeated violations of team rules,” the school announced today.

Smith, a 6-foot-6 junior from Noxubee County, has had an injury-filled career at MSU. He averaged 1.0 points and 0.6 rebounds in 34 career games. Ray had been high on him all summer and was expected Smith to compete for a starting job at the three guard spot.

Zeidaks, a 6-8 junior, was a transfer from Riga, Latvia, and never played due to an NCAA-mandated suspension. He was ruled ineligible all of last season as well as the first 11 games of this season because he played with and against professionals in his home country. Zeidaks, too, was expected to be a major contributor this season.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Shaun, Kris and our team,” Ray said in a statement. “However, players must be held accountable for their actions. Both will remain on scholarship and have the academic support all our other student-athletes receive. I wish them the very best moving on with their careers.”

MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin told the Journal, via text message, “I support and respect Rick’s willingness to make a difficult decision.”

Less than a month ago, Ray talked excitedly about what Zeidaks and Smith could bring to the table this season. Of Zeidaks, Ray said, “That’s one thing I’m really excited about, the fact he can come in and physically help us right away.”

And of Smith, he said, “The kid that I’ve been really pleased with, has really bought into the program and done everything he’s supposed to do and just looks like a really good basketball player in the individual workouts, is Shaunessy Smith.”

This leaves Ray with 10 scholarship players. One of those, freshman point guard Jacoby Davis, is likely out for the year after injuring his ACL this summer. Freshman guard Fred Thomas recently underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot but should be back in time for the season, which begins Nov. 9 at Troy.

MSU had a lot of attrition after the 2011-12 season, Rick Stansbury‘s 14th and last as MSU head coach. Starting forwards Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney left a year early to turn pro – Moultrie was drafted, Sidney was not – and then starting guard Rodney Hood transferred to Duke, and backup point guard DeVille Smith transferred to Jackson State.

MSU opens preseason practices Oct. 12.

I am the online content coordinator for I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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  • darkcooger

    So another disappointing basketball season to come. Oh well, it’s okay if Coach Ray is making the team better in the long term. I was really looking forward to the coming season, but I guess 2014 isn’t too far out…

    • CrossroadsDawg

      What were you expecting ??

  • Stankylegs

    Wow. I have a feeling Rick Ray’s tenure will be much like Croom’s: lots of “character” but not a lot of wins. #OnTheReal

  • OrlandoDawg

    A “disappointing season?” Disappointing is not going to the NCAA tournament. Looking worse than South Carolina is something beyond disappointing.

  • MabenMaroon

    Not going to dispair, am extremely disappointed in Ziedaks though. Thought he was going to a force in the high post. But on the bright side, we still have one of the best incoming classes we have ever had and they will mature quickly. I think everyone will be surprised at how Roquez, Wendell and Jalen will flourish, now that they have been thrust into a position where they will have to flourish. One thing we are finding out, that this years edition of the Hoop Dawgs will be disciplined and cohesive as a team, The remaining team members have got to know by now, that Coach Ray don’t ‘play’ and won’t tolerate foolishness. Am looking forward to big things out of this squad and a lot of excitement.

  • ezfreeze

    BL… Thanks for pointing out the statement from Coach Ray saying they bought into the system and now they are gone…

    Reminds me of coach Ray was saying he was going to build around Hood before he realized he lost him…

    Lots of inexperience showing with coach Ray…

    Let the blasting begin for pointing out the truth…

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