Bulldogs have new faces entering season
By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Nov. 3, 2003
Rick Stansbury sounds awfully pessimistic about the upcoming basketball season.
After posting a 21-10 record and the school's second straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002-03, Stansbury is suddenly left with virtually no returning players.
Two-time All-Southeastern Conference player Mario Austin left for the pros. The NBA also lured Bulldog signee Travis Outlaw away from MSU. Forward Ontario Harper was lost for the year in preseason practice when he tore a knee ligament.
Throw in the graduations of Derrick Zimmerman and Michael Ignerski, and the Bulldogs will have to lean heavily on senior guard Timmy Bowers.
Coming in to help Bowers are two high-profile transfers. Lawrence Roberts, a two-time All-Big 12 post player, transferred to Mississippi State from Baylor over the summer. Shane Power, another Big 12 veteran who came to the Bulldogs from Iowa State, is eligible to play this season after sitting out a year due to NCAA rules.
Freshman point guard Gary Ervin, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native, rounds out a list of high-potential players who have not yet proven themselves in the SEC.
A relatively lackluster non-conference schedule, the biggest challenges of which are the likes of Western Kentucky and Xavier, may give the new faces enough time to gel, Stansbury said.