By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State senior center Wendell Lewis has been dismissed from the men’s basketball team by coach Rick Ray for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
The 6-foot-9, 258-pounder was granted a fifth-year of eligibility from the Southeastern Conference after fracturing his right patella in practice eight games into last season. Lewis averaged 3.5 points and 3.3 rebounds during his 98 game career earning 13 starts.
“I am saddened by the actions we had to take because we brought Wendell back to give him an opportunity to complete his senior year on the court healthy and earn his degree,” Ray said in a statement released by the university.
During the 2012-13 season, Lewis averaged 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds and scored a career-high 20-points in his final game against Texas San-Antonio.
Lewis underwent a second procedure on his knee over the summer but Ray said last week that the Selma, Ala., native had worked hard during his recovery and was expected back on the floor in December.
Lewis is one of two Rick Stansbury recruits to leave the team this fall. Shooting guard Jalen Steele chose not to play his senior season in Starkville leaving junior forward Roquez Johnson as the lone scholarship player remaining from the Stansbury era.
The latest departure leaves the Bulldogs will just nine scholarship players eligible for this season. Sophomore center Gavin Ware is now the lone center on the roster with true freshman Fallou Ndoye ineligible to play until the 2013-14 season.