Forward Shawn Long has signed with Mississippi State, he confirmed Saturday.
The 6-foot-10, 227-pounder from Morgan City (La.) High School committed on Friday and chose MSU over several schools, including Tennessee. He likes what coach Rick Stansbury has told him about what he can bring to the program.
“He likes my skill level. He said I’m tall, I can handle the ball and I can shoot it,” Long said. “He thinks that can help his program, and I agree.”
Long is an interesting case, in that he’s hit a pretty big growth spurt the last couple of years. He said he was 6-4 as a sophomore, then started his junior season at 6-7. So he’s a big man who can handle the ball but still needs to work on his post moves.
He said he understands where he’s at as a post player, especially after playing pickup games against Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie while on a visit.
“I’m going to have to get stronger,” said Long, who averaged 22.4 points, 15.0 rebounds and 9.0 blocks per game last season.
Long is the fifth and final signee of the 2011 class, as Stansbury now has the NCAA maximum 13 scholarship players in the fold for the 2011-12 season. The other signees are D.J. Gardner, Rodney Hood, Roquez Johnson and Deville Smith.
While MSU was needing some extra post depth, Long might not be SEC-ready as a freshman. A redshirt year to fill out his frame and polish his skills could be beneficial.
“I kind of consider myself a late bloomer, but not really, because I’ve been playing basketball. I’ve had to change it up when I started growing.”