SEC Media Days: Rick Ray


Mississipppi State men’s basketball coach Rick Ray took his turn at the podium Thursday at SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Ala.

Ray enters his second season at the helm of the Bulldogs and discussed what to expect in the upcoming year.

On Gavin Ware…

“Our goal with any of our centers is to be on the court. If Gavin Ware can shoot three’s then I want him to shoot three’s. Gavin has a good 15-to-17 foot touch and we want to make sure we use that in some of our offense, so you will see some of that this year. I think you saw some of it last year when he hit a couple of shots.”

On Gavin’s Conditioning and Weight Loss…

“He has been terrific, because what were asking Craig Sword and Fred Thomas to do is actually easier than what Gavin Ware has to do. Gavin has to be aware 24 hours of what he is eating and what he is doing with his dietary intake. Right now he is around 263 pounds and played last year around 275 pounds. So to me that means Gavin Ware is serious about being a good basketball player because that takes intrinsic motivation. We’re not going to be around him 24 hours a day monitoring his intake.”

On Offseason Improvements…

“I think the biggest improvement someone made in the off season in term of strength and conditioning is Fred Thomas. Fred played last year at around 185 pounds and right now he is at 207 pounds, so he has done a terrific job at getting stronger and that will help is individual game.”

On Craig Sword…

“I think the biggest thing that Craig gained last year was experience. I think most freshmen coming into that situation don’t get that kind playing time coming in. Because of the circumstances we were in, he was thrust into playing a lot right away. Not even playing a lot, but manufacturing an offense. You look at Michael Frazier who is a really good freshman at Florida but he didn’t have to manufacture offense; he kind of stood in the corner and shot three’s when open. For us we needed Craig Sword, Fred Thomas and Gavin Ware to come in and manufacture offense as freshmen. The thing I wanted to do with Craig in the offseason was to treat him like an elite NFL running back. I wanted him to put on enough weight so he could take hits, but I also didn’t want him to out on too much weight that it took away from his explosiveness and his athleticism. He’s put on about 14 pounds and is around 199 pounds right now.”


I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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