Updated at 9:17 p.m.
Despite having no more scholarships to give – right now – Mississippi State has signed guard Jalen Steele of Knoxville's Fulton High School tonight. That's according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
The 6-foot-3 Steele originally signed with Auburn in November but was released from his scholarship after coach Jeff Lebo was fired and Tony Barbee hired. Steele was named Tennessee's Mr. Basketball for Class AA last season and was twice named the News Sentinel's player of the year.
"He’s one of those guys that, No. 1, our program has been built around," Stansbury told the News Sentinel. "He reminds me so much of a young man who just graduated: Barry Stewart, from Shelbyville."
Stansbury added, "He understands how you have to play defense. That's the biggest adjustment for most guys. Offensively, we’re going to get up and down the floor and shoot a lot of 3s. He fits that role very well."
The question is, where is that scholarship going to come from? The only scholarship made available was Stewart's, and that was taken by juco transfer guard Brian Bryant – remember, Jarvis Varnado gave his up for this season after testing the NBA waters last summer. I've texted MSU coach Rick Stansbury asking about that, but I don't expect an answer back (since Steele hasn't signed yet, that's a tricky subject for Stansbury to navigate). Or if he does answer, it'll probably be along the lines of what he said last year after Renardo Sidney and John Riek signed in the spring – that it "always finds a way to work out."
And it did work out, with Varnado relinquishing his scholarship and Jacquiese Holcombe transferring. No real guesses yet on how this particular issue might resolve itself. MSU has until the first day of the fall term (Aug. 18) to get down to the scholarship limit.
The late signing period for spring sports began last Wednesday.