Stricklin: MSU hoops in 'good shape'

STARKVILLE – Rick Stansbury’s contract isn’t being extended back to the four-year maximum, but that doesn’t mean his boss has lost faith in him.
Scott Stricklin, who’s been Mississippi State’s athletics director less than a year, had his season-ending meeting with the basketball coach Monday, and he called it “good, productive.”
Stricklin dismissed the notion that not extending Stansbury’s contract to the maximum allowed under state law – which has been routine procedure for MSU’s coaches – in any way signaled discontent after a rough 2011-12 season both on and off the court.
“I think right now we’re in good shape with where it is,” Stricklin said Thursday. “I don’t think there’s anything magical about that number myself.”
Stansbury, who just finished his 13th season at the helm, makes about $1.3 million a year. Stricklin said there will be no incentives added or adjustments made to it.
MSU went 17-14 and lost in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. For only the third time under Stansbury, the Bulldogs failed to make either the NCAA or NIT tournaments.
Along the way, there was a brawl in Hawaii involving Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey – who transferred shortly thereafter – and a Twitter incident that earned Ravern Johnson a two-game suspension.
“We haven’t had very many of those in the time Rick’s been here. I think this year was kind of an anomaly,” Stricklin said. “He and I discussed it – I’m not going to discuss it publicly – obviously there were a lot of things, situations that we didn’t want to be in. We’ve tried to learn from those and move forward and make it better.”
Stricklin said he’s heard the criticism of Stansbury from fans. But he emphasized Stansbury’s recruiting efforts and feels next season will be better.
“Hopefully, this time next year we’re still playing basketball,” Stricklin said.

Brad Locke