By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – A trip to Maui didn’t produce any wins for Mississippi State, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a fruitless trip.
The Bulldogs (1-4) are back home tonight to host Alcorn State, and first-year coach Rick Ray is looking for his young team to take some lessons from its losses to North Carolina, Marquette and Texas at the Maui Invitational last week.
“The big thing is, are we going to learn from the experience out in Maui or not?” Ray said Monday. “Because guys got a chance to see where we measure up against guys who are going to be playing against in the SEC.”
MSU had only eight players make the trip – two of them walk-ons – because of injuries and the suspension of forward Colin Borchert. Point guard Trivante Bloodman said the trip was a bonding experience .
“We played better competition and it brought us more together,” he said. “We yelled at each other and motivated each other. We stayed the week together, we saw each other every day and we got a little bond.”
The collective youth of this squad helps when it comes to shaking off tough situations, and there has been plenty of adversity confronting this team since before the season.
“Sometimes you have to fall to get back up,” Bloodman said. “I feel like with that happening, it really might help us later on the season. Those three losses, we can get back from that.”
Borchert, a junior college transfer, was left at home for the Maui trip due to a violation of team rules. He’ll rejoin the rotation tonight and help beef up the thinning roster.
“It gives us another opportunity to sub somebody in, and obviously he’s a kid who can make shots for us,” Ray said.
Borchert has averaged 5 points in two games.
Ray adds Ndoye
MSU got its fourth signee for the 2013 class last week, with 6-foot-11 center Fallou Ndoye signing. A native of Senegal, Ndoye is playing at Findlay Prep in Nevada.
He’s rated a three-star prospect by 247sports.com. Ray said Ndoye was the coaching staff’s No. 1 target at that position and should be a good complement to freshman Gavin Ware.
“We thought Fallou was a guy that could be really active on the offensive glass, can really run the court,” Ray said, “but just gives us a guy that’s just different than Gavin as far as having a long body, a guy that can transition end to end pretty well.”
The other signees are Travis Daniels, Quantel Denson and I.J. Ready.