Should Stansbury Be On the Hot Seat?

November 2, 2011

News, Sports

Rick Stansbury, Head Coach, Mississippi State Basketball

Rick Stansbury, Head Coach, Mississippi State Basketball

Rick Stansbury is coming into his 14th season as Mississippi State’s head basketball coach, where he has compiled a 271-151 career record, accumulating the most wins in State’s history, surpassing all-time greats such as Babe McCarthy and Richard Williams. Stansbury, during that time period, has managed to make the NCAA tournament six times, won the SEC one year, and won the illustrious SEC West five times. He has endured much fan unrest because of his inability to go further with the program’s success.

The 2010-2011 season didn’t do much to help that, as the team went 17-14 and had a myriad of off-the-court player issues. Some of the incidents were just embarrassing: from teammates fighting in the stands, criticism of each other on Twitter, and overall poor team chemistry. The poor season and the off-court issues would have gotten most coaches fired, but Stansbury was retained as MSU’s head coach.

One the reasons it was the correct move, however, was the fact that the team is returning combined with a heralded recruiting class, which could be the most talented in Mississippi State history. The biggest returning piece is star center Renardo Sidney along with preseason All-SEC point guard Dee Bost. Those two players alone normally give any team a chance to be a serious contender. The team has even more potential, with UTEP transfer addition Arnett Moultrie along with a talented freshmen class, spearheaded by five-star recruit Rodney Hood. The team also has a deep bench that can play big minutes and can score in bunches. This is quite possibly Stansbury’s most talented team to date.

The question I pose, given all the attributes this team possesses: should Stansbury be on the hot seat?  The fan unrest with Stansbury remains, but the administration has never really put any real heat on him to get his teams to perform up to potential. It is hard to imagine this team not being able to go deep in the NCAA Tournament, though, with the players he has compiled on the roster.

The comments I’ve always heard usually boil down to who could MSU possibly get who is better.  It is an inane comment, in my opinion, and clearly illustrates the apathy many have toward the State basketball program. It’s hard for me to believe that Stansbury couldn’t have done better in past years with star players like Jamont Gordon, Jarvis Varnado, and Dee Bost.

It baffles me that people still stick up for Stansbury, especially considering he has only made it to the NCAA tournament two of the last six years. One of those years he needed to win the SEC tournament–and did–just to make the round of 65.

Another issue that has plagued Stansbury teams–last year being a prime example–constant chemistry problems.  I’ve never been one to get hyped over the MSU basketball team because I accurately assume that the shoe will drop before long and does.  There have been a few years that the team looks too deep, talented, and experienced to fail, then guys start transferring away.. right out of nowhere. The players have always been made out to be the problem, but I’ve always wondered why more do not ask if Stansbury himself is the problem.

This is a very critical juncture, with the SEC going to a one division format, and has had an influx of above-average coaching. The SEC hasn’t been a strong basketball conference in the past few years, but with John Calipari at Kentucky, Anthony Grant at Alabama, and Trent Johnson finally bringing LSU back, that may be about to change. Does MSU want to get left behind as these other teams improve?

I know many will have something to say about me taking Stansbury to task, but I’ve never been one to shy away from what I think needs to be said. The other programs at MSU are on the rise and are looking to reach championship levels. Should the basketball program follow suit if Stansbury doesn’t get it done this season?

I will say this:  Rick Stansbury, with the depth on this team, has a chance to silence his critics–such as myself–if this team does what it is capable of in 2011-2012.


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One Comment on “Should Stansbury Be On the Hot Seat?”

  1. Kevin Gregg Says:

    Excellent season preview, Jeremiah.. coming from a huge Stansbury supporter!


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