Coming from Phoenix, Ariz., to Scooba, Miss., is quite the leap. For Colin Borchert, there was some culture shock. But the good kind.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward came to East Mississippi Community College and had a strong 2011-12 season, and now he's the latest Mississippi State signee. He visited with coaches on Sunday and Monday and then became new head coach Rick Ray's third 2012 signee.
Borchert also visited Georgetown, South Alabama and Xavier. So what separated MSU from everybody else?
"I love the feeling of the South," Borchert said. "I love how it's a little slower than, say, a big city. You can get stuff done without the big distractions, without the ability to go do stuff."
He said he has been able to focus on the two things most important to him: academics and basketball. Borchert said he found out about EMCC through a coach he knew in California, and he was looking for a place far from home. After his high school career in Phoenix, Borchert commited to Southern Cal in 2009 but instead spent one season at Yavapai College, a juco in Prescott, Ariz.
"I decided that I wanted to come down here and just focus on two things, because I knew it was going to be culture shock when I got here with only two gas stations in Scooba," Borchert said. "I knew it was going to be a culture change, and I just hoped it was going to be good for me, and in the long run it was."
This past season, Borchert averaged 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from 3-point range for EMCC. He'll play power forward but can get the job done on the perimeter. His coach at EMCC, Mark White, has praised Borchert's passing ability, and the 20-year-old said he's a strong face-up shooter close to the basket and can also play well with his back to the rim.
As for his recent visit, Borchert liked the vibe he got from the coaches and players. Ray is trying to overcome some heavy offseason attrition, and right now he has a six-man signing class with at least one more signee likely to come – juco point guard Trivante Bloodman is visiting Thursday and could commit then, according to Bulldawgs247.com.
"I know we're going to be maybe a little young, maybe a little undersized, but we're going to work hard," said Borchert. "We're going to be there every game. We're going to go 110 percent. There's not going to be one day where we just give up. That's the vibe that I got, that we will never give up."
You can listen to my entire interview with Borchert on tomorrow's Bulldog Beat on BulldogSportsRadio.com. The show starts at 7 a.m.
MSU 2012 signees
• Andre Applewhite, G, Memphis (Central HS)
• Colin Borchert, F, Scooba (East Mississippi CC)
• Jacoby Davis, PG, Delafield, Wis. (St. John's Northwest Military Academy)
• Craig Sword, SG, Montgomery, Ala. (Carver HS)
• Fred Thomas, SG, Jackson (Jim Hill HS)
• Gavin Ware, F/C, Starkville (Starkville HS)