Ray inks three hoops standouts

Rick Ray signed three players during the early signing period this fall. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Rick Ray signed three players during the early signing period this fall. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Rick Ray took advantage of the early signing period and inked three players expected to make an immediate impact next year.

The heralded class features guards Quinndary Weatherspoon of Camden, Miss., and Tookie Brown of Madison, Ga., and forward Joe Strugg of Montgomery, Ala.

“Coach (George) Brooks, Coach (Wes) Flanigan and Coach (Chris) Hollender have done a great job of establishing and building relationships that have paid off for us in landing recruiting classes that fulfill our needs,” Ray said. “Each, individually, has found a niche’ in recruiting future Bulldogs but truly do work as at team in their recruiting efforts.”

As a junior at Velma Jackson, Weatherspoon played 36 games and averaged 16.7 points and 5.9 rebounds as his team posted a 34-2 ledger en route to winning the Class 3A title where he scored 12 points.

The Falcons also claimed the 2013 crown with a 45-44 win against Booneville.

Earlier this month, Weatherspoon was named to the Clarion Ledger’s Dandy Dozen team.

A four-star recruit by Scout.com, he was ranked as the 78th best player overall in the country.

“Quinndary is someone that we just had to have in our program,” Ray said. “He is young man that you simply could not let leave your state or go to your rival school. Quinndary is an elite penetrator who is long and is a big time athlete. His ability to score along, read the defense and his willingness to share the ball make him a huge match up problem for opponents.”

Brown has enjoyed a stellar career at Morgan County High School, where he averaged 25.6 points last year as a junior. His team finished 26-5 and won the Class 3A state championship a year ago with 69-45 win against Buford after he totaled a game-high 36 points to go along with his 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

It was the first state championship in school history.

“Tookie possesses all of the qualities that you want out of point guard,” Ray said. “He is a winner, he is tough, he is smart, he is a leader, and most importantly he is a great person.  Tookie is not just a distributor but a point guard that can put pressure on the defense with his ability to score and shoot.”

Strugg becomes the fourth player from G.W. Carver High School to sign with the Bulldogs the last four years, joining Roquez JohnsonCraig Sword and Demetrius Houston.

As a junior, his team advanced to the Class 6A Final Four, where Carver lost to Mountain Brook and finished the year with a 24-5 record. Strugg averaged 12.0 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

On the year, he was named to the all-tournament team at the Dwight Madison Roundball Classic and he was selected for the North/South Alabama All-Star Game, where he scored 11 points and had 4 blocks.

“Joe continues the tremendous relationship that we have built with Carver,” Ray said.  “Coach (James) Jackson has constructed a true program and is constantly developing college student-athletes both on and off the court.  Joe is a young man that has enormous amount of potential and upside.  He is a long, athletic power forward that you need on your team in order to compete in the SEC.  Joe also has a skill set that will allow him to be a threat on the perimeter as well as in the post.”

(From MSU Media Relations)

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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