By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Rick Ray’s job just keeps getting tougher.
Mississippi State’s first-year men’s basketball coach has lost another player.
Freshman guard DeAndre Applewhite is out for the season after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his left knee at practice last week, the school announced on Tuesday.
He will have to undergo surgery.
That leaves Ray with eight healthy scholarship players for this season, which begins Friday at Troy.
The Bulldogs, who had a lot of offseason attrition after Rick Stansbury retired as coach, also lost freshman point guard Jacoby Davis over the summer to ACL surgery.
“I’m disappointed for DeAndre because he had put in a lot of hard work and dedication to become a better basketball player,” Ray said in a statement. “But I know the type of kid he is. He’ll work extremely hard with his rehab, and he’ll come back next year ready to go to help us become a better team.”
The 6-foot-5, 217-pound Applewhite came to MSU after a stellar career at Central High School in Memphis. As a senior, he averaged 21.3 points and 11.1 rebounds to lead Central to the Class A state title game.
Of Ray’s eight scholarship players, three have college experience – Wendell Lewis, Jalen Steele and Roquez Johnson – while the rest are newcomers.