STARKVILLE – With the NCAA finally in its rearview mirror, Mississippi State’s basketball team begins formal preseason practices today and starts putting together its puzzle.
Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney will have to sit and watch for a while, but at least they know exactly when they’ll get on the court.
Both went through eligibility battles before finally being allowed to play the 2010-11 season, although both must serve nine-game suspensions.
Sidney, a 6-foot-10 sophomore post player, will suit up for the first time on Dec. 18 against Virginia Tech, in the Bahamas. Bost, who must first regain his academic eligibility, will make his season debut Jan. 8 against Alabama, the Bulldogs’ SEC opener.
The experience of Bost, a junior and two-year starter at point guard, will be missed early. There are many backcourt options for 13th-year coach Rick Stansbury, though, and the two guard spots will be mix-and-match with sophomore Twany Beckham, senior Riley Benock, junior college transfer Brian Bryant and freshman Jalen Steele.
The frontcourt could be thin at first, with junior big man Elgin Bailey still trying to recover from offseason knee surgery – he missed nearly all last season with an ankle injury.
Senior sharpshooter Ravern Johnson returns to the three spot, while Kodi Augustus will play the four and, in the absence of Sidney and possibly Bailey, the five.
Sophomores Wendell Lewis and John Riek are expected to take a step forward in the post.
MSU, which went 24-12 a year ago and won the SEC Western Division title, opens the season Nov. 12 against Tennessee State.
First game: Tennessee State Starkville, Nov. 12.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal