Mississippi State’s Rick Ray joined the rest of the league’s coaches on the SEC men’s basketball teleconference on Monday to discuss the Bulldogs recent performances and preview its match-ups this week.
Here is a transcript of Ray’s time on the call…
Ray: “We got a good, quality road win at Missouri. We obviously played well there in the first half and Missouri did a great job coming back into the ballgame and making it close. We were able to hang on by making tough plays down the stretch.
“Now we’re getting ready for an Ole Miss basketball team that’s really playing well. They’re scoring the ball well. We’ve got to figure out a way defensively to try and slow them down a little bit and also figure out a way to attack their changing defenses.”
What has Wes Flanigan added as an assistant coach for you?
Ray: “Coach Flanigan has been a guy that I’ve known from my past days at Indiana State. I always kept in contact with him and when I got this job I knew he’d be a guy that I would strongly consider. After having some conversations with him and some of his former bosses like Doc Sadler, I knew that he was a guy that I wanted to bring into the program.
“First and foremost, he’s a great person. I think that’s something that gets lost in this business. Everybody worries about his recruiting and coaching ability. But the first thing we offer these kids are mentors for them and I think he’s a tremendous mentor for the young men in our program.
“The second thing is he’s a guy who has a lot of contacts in this area from his days of working at UAB and Arkansas-Little Rock. He’s a guy that recruits a lot of the border states and Mississippi. The fact that he was a junior college coach here in the state of Mississippi and his brother is a junior college coach here in the state of Mississippi brought a lot of recruiting ties to us.
“I think he’s a guy who is doing a tremendous job for our program.”
Was this road trip to Missouri one of the crazier trips you’ve been on?
Ray: “In this business you go through a lot of things but that’s right up there at the very top. The whole key there is the fact I thought the flight attendant and the pilot did a great job of keeping everybody calm and cool.
“More importantly, they did a good job with the landing. A lot of times you judge a plane trip by the takeoff and the landing. The landing was just as smooth with one engine as it was with two so they did a really good job.”
Were any of the players shaken up by the experience?
Ray: “We had a couple of guys who had a fear of flying in the first place. If they were able to secure another charter plane at that point in time, I seriously doubt if those guys would’ve gotten on that plane anyway. They probably would’ve went back with the bus but that didn’t happen.
“I’m sure some guys will be a little hesitant to get on another (plane) but I know I won’t be one of those guys. I’d much rather get on that hour plane trip than a four or five hour bus ride.”