STARKVILLE – A contrite Kodi Augustus vowed to never again let his frustrations boil over like they did Friday night, and Rick Stansbury hopes a two-game suspension will make the promise stick.
On Tuesday, the Mississippi State junior forward apologized for his “immature” criticism of Stansbury following Friday’s 88-74 season-opening loss to Rider. Stansbury is benching him for the next two games – Thursday against Southeastern Louisiana and Saturday against Bethune-Cookman.
“I just want to apologize to my coaches, to my teammates and all the fans. It’ll never happen again,” said Augustus, who took issue with his playing time as well as how Stansbury chose to defend Rider’s Mike Ringgold, who scored 21 points in the upset.
After the game, Augustus said, among other things, “I didn’t even play, I couldn’t get into a groove. I get subbed every time I look over my shoulder, I’m coming out the game. It’s crazy.”
The 6-foot-8 Augustus had nine points, five rebounds and four fouls in 21 minutes.
On Saturday, after a team film session, he stood up and apologized to his teammates. Senior center Jarvis Varnado said the team forgave him and is ready to move on.
“Nobody’s (got) bad blood right now, everybody’s on a good page right now,” Varnado said. “We’ve got some frustration, again, that’s all it was, frustration.”
Said Stansbury, “Kodi will have to be the one to repair those damages. You can do well for six months, and it don’t take but 30 seconds to tear down what you built up.”
Augustus had just regained the starting role he lost nine games into last season, when he saw his minutes dip drastically due to a “coach’s decision.” He then became a big contributor off the bench the final two games of the season and during the Bulldogs’ run to the SEC Tournament championship.
Stansbury and Augustus’ teammates had nothing but praise for his attitude and work during the offseason.
“If he handles everything fine,” Stansbury said, “then he’ll be fine and he’ll be back where he was.”
Smith out; Bost, too?
– Stansbury said freshman guard Shaun Smith, who recently reaggravated a hip injury, is likely done for the season. Smith’s other hip is bothering him; he’ll see a specialist in Nashville on Thursday.
State’s already lost backup point guard Twany Beckham for the season to hip injuries.
Also, point guard Dee Bost suffered a groin strain during Monday’s practice and is questionable for this week’s games. That would mean senior shooting guard Barry Stewart would have to handle the bulk of the point duties, which he’s done before.
With those two sidelined, plus Elgin Bailey and Riley Benock being limited by injuries, MSU’s bench is getting awfully thin.
“You’ve got to find a way,” Stansbury said. “There’s no excuses.”
Bulldogs sign juco guard
– Stansbury has found his next Barry Stewart.
Brian Bryant, a 6-foot-3, 165-pound guard from Northwest Florida State College, signed with the Bulldogs on Tuesday. He’s averaging 20.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game for the 5-0 Raiders.
Bryant, who chose MSU over Auburn and Southern Miss, was a two-star recruit according to Scout.com out of Dougherty High School in Albany, Ga. He averaged 29.6 points his senior season.
“I feel this is a great fit for me because they are losing a senior starting guard in Barry Stewart,” Bryant said.
“He brings a lot of athleticism and versatility and can play multiple positions,” Stansbury said. “His adjustment will be minimal because of the system he has played in.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal