Hoops, Baseball, and Jackie Sherrill

Lots to link up and catch up on this morning. Forgive my tardiness, but I got in late last night from Jackson. Which brings me to my first topic.

MSU SWEEP: Seniors Jarvis Varnado and Alexis Rack were named the state’s top college basketball players last night in Jackson, marking the first time that the Howell Trophy and Gillom Trophy have been won by the same people in consecutive years. Here’s my story.

I spoke briefly with MSU men’s assistant coach Phil Cunningham after the ceremony, and he said Varnado, who’s back in Los Angeles today preparing for the NBA Draft, must get bigger and stronger to be an impact player.

“I think naturally it’ll start coming more,” Cunningham said of the weight (Varnado’s 220 right now). “But he’s got to get real serious about lifting weights and also about nutrition. It’s interesting to hear him talk about how much they’re making him eat and how they’re making him eat all clean food. He can eat like one cheap meal a week or something. He’s got to get bigger and stronger; everything else will take care of itself.”

BASEBALL BACK HOME: MSU’s baseball team won its first home SEC series of the year, against Georgia two weeks ago, and will try to do that again this weekend against No. 10-ranked Arkansas (22-6, 6-3 SEC). It would certainly help if senior first baseman Connor Powers could show the pop everyone knows he has. So far, he’s got zero home runs in nine SEC games.

“Again, you’re separating nine games out, and I think in the long run he’ll be fine,” MSU coach John Cohen said.

SHERRILL IN HIGH COTTON: Sorry, couldn’t resist. But it’s true, former MSU football coach Jackie Sherrill will be inducted into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame on April 14 (that’s next Wednesday). Also being inducted is the great Joe Montana, and then a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of.

Sherrill made four Cotton Bowl appearances, three with Texas A&M and one with MSU, which the Bulldogs lost to Ricky Williams and Texas in 1999. He won two times with A&M.