By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – DeVille Smith has taken the first step in his return to the court, and Rick Stansbury doesn’t want to rush the second step.
Smith, Mississippi State’s freshman backup point guard, was back in class on Monday. He’d been out more than two weeks, as dizzy spells, headaches and memory loss forced him into a hospital.
Smith has missed the last four games. He practiced with the team Monday, but there is no timetable for his return, according to Stansbury.
“He’s been away for basically 2 1/2 weeks now, so there’s a lot of little things he’s got to build up to just getting back in the flow of doing first,” Stansbury said. “We’ll worry about the basketball part of it later.”
The No. 22-ranked Bulldogs have missed the quicksilver Smith, who’s averaging 5.4 points and 2.4 assists per game. Plus, he was averaging 16.1 minutes, and his absence has put a dent in MSU’s depth.
While the Bulldogs hope to see Smith back on the court soon, they’re just glad to have him back right now.
“It’s real encouraging,” forward Arnett Moultrie said. “He’s been through a lot and has had so much adversity. It’s good to see how well he’s handling it.”
Subbing for Sidney
Stansbury took a different approach with forward Renardo Sidney’s substitution pattern in Saturday’s 91-88 win over Auburn.
Sidney went to the bench at the 16-minute, 7-second mark – prior to the first media timeout. He also did not start the second half, eventually entering at the first media break.
It was the first time in SEC play Stansbury had subbed for Sidney prior to the first media timeout without foul trouble prompting him to do so.
“I’m just trying to find any way we can to pace what we have to pace there – the best we can,” Stansbury said. “He has a tendency sometimes to pick up those quick fouls the second half, too, so we bought a couple of minutes early in that second half.”
Sidney logged an efficient 23 minutes and scored 17 points, shooting 5 of 5 from the floor and 6 of 9 from the free throw line.
Reed aims high
MSU’s baseball team opens the 2012 season in 10 days, and a team that reached the NCAA Super Regional round last season can’t be found in any major preseason rankings.
That’s fine by senior closer Caleb Reed. He understands that a few players are gone from last year – particularly in the field – but still harbors high expectations.
“They’re going to be missed, of course, because they were really good for us last year,” Reed said Monday. “But I totally believe they don’t understand the people we brought in. But we’re going to play with a chip on our shoulder and go out and prove ourselves again.”
The ultimate destination for any college team is Omaha, Neb. – home of the College World Series. Reed won’t settle for anything less.
“I see where eight teams have already gone to Omaha from Mississippi State,” he said. “Well, I want to be part of the first team that wins a national championship when we go to Omaha. I want to go down as that No. 1 team.”