Rick Ray press conference: 1-13

At 2 p.m. today, Rick Ray will hold his weekly press conference, along with select players. Mississippi State beat Ole Miss Saturday in Starkville and travels to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama on Wednesday.

Live updates to follow.

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For the second time, Ray is complimentary of his team’s first week of SEC play. Bulldogs led Kentucky at halftime, “but we have to the bodies to keep up in the second half.”

Beyond just beating Ole Miss, he was proud of how his team responded to losing a lead and going on a scoring drought.

Big thing going forward for MSU will be to not have a letdown against Alabama.

Ray says the good thing against Ole Miss was how his team stuck to the gameplan of driving to the basket and getting penetration, even when it wasn’t working, and eventually it started clicking again and MSU won.

On IJ Ready, Rick Ray says he “has some attributes that are really uncommon for a freshman,” and says he has the qualities of a winner.

Ray refers to Alabama senior Trevor Releford as “a prolific scorer,” and declines to say who will guard him. Assumption from questioner is Ready, but Ray says he hans’t quite figured that out, could easily be someone else. (Fred Thomas maybe?)

On improvement of junior forward Roquez Johnson, Ray says it’s “his skill level” that’s increased from year-to-year. In particular, Johnson has learned to drive both left and right and use each hand with strength.

Ray says a resolution on De’Runnya Wilson could come soon. Most of all, Ray wants “to be fair” to Wilson and says his post-grad future likely lies in football, not basketball.

“I plan on sitting down and talking to Dan [Mullen] and Bear and coming to conclusion … We don’t want to do anything to hurt his development as a big-time wide receiver for Mississippi State football.”

On MSU’s improvement recently, Ray said the jump up in free throw percentage (and drawing those fouls) has been one of the keys.

On dancing in the locker room after Ole Miss win, Ray says “I just had flashbacks there like I was dancing in the club.”

Said it was a spur of the moment thing and the combination of being happy about win over Rebels and topping last year’s win total.

“I’m just really glad our guys can have fun,” Ray said.

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Two qualities Colin Borchert says he and everyone else see in Ready are maturity and toughness. Relayed a story about Ready breaking his nose in a high school game, coming back in the second half and leading the team to a win.

As for himself, Borchert says one of the biggest thing he’s done is being more vocal as a senior.

“I know everything Coach Ray wants,” he said. “I can tell everybody on offense and defense what they need to do … I think that’s one thing Coach Ray loves about me.”

Jacoby Davis at the podium now talking about playing more at the two and three guard spots rather than point guard. He says he and roommate Craig Sword go over plays together, which has helped him a good bit.

Davis: “I never in my life stayed after practice to work on defense, but it works.”

Said he’s been working with assistant Wes Flanigan after practice to work on those fundamentals.

Also interesting: Davis says one of the reasons the team has improved this season is chemistry. He said everyone kind of did their own thing last year, but now they’ll stay in the locker room hanging out for two hours after practice “just talking about school and life.”

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