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MBK - Ben Howland - 2018-19

by Matt Dunaway, Associate Director/Communications
 
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State men's basketball head coach Ben Howland had the opportunity to give an update on summer workouts, Reggie Perry being named to the United States U19 Team and recap the recent NBA Draft at Tuesday's media session.
 
The Bulldogs are closing in on the halfway point of their eight-week summer workout period which began on June 3. After taking a week off for the July 4th break, MSU returns to campus for another four-week workout period on July 8.
 
Mississippi State's roster features a solid nucleus of five returning players who combined for 83 starts in Abdul Ado, Tyson Carter, Reggie Perry, Nick Weatherspoon and Robert Woodard II. The quintet is joined by veteran postmen KeyShawn Feazell and E.J. Datcher along with a talented freshmen class which features Devin Butts, Elias King, Iverson Molinar and Quinten Post. After redshirting the 2018-19 season, Prince Oduro and D.J. Stewart also will compete in their first season for the Maroon and White.   
 
Mississippi State posted a 23-11 record last season and secured the program's 11th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bulldogs have dialed up 48 victories over the last two seasons which is tied for second-most in program history over a two-year span and fourth among SEC schools.
 
Visit www.HailState.com for the latest news and information on the men's basketball program. Fans also can follow the program on its social media outlets by searching 'HailStateMBK' on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
 
Head Coach Ben Howland
Q: A late addition to the class with Quinten Post, can you tell us how that came together? What do you feel he can bring to the program?
BH: "We thought we would need – At the time when we started recruited him, we were not sure if Reggie would be back. Number one, we were concerned that we were going to be shorthanded on the front line. We had to try and bolster that."

"When we went to Italy three years ago, Ernie [Ziegler] made a friendship with a European scout over there who has a service for colleges. We told him that we would be calling him and would stay in touch. He sent the film [of Quinten]. We looked at the film and thought this guy is pretty good. That is how it all occurred. We followed up, and he came out here on an official visit … We were fortunate enough to get him."
 
I think he is going to be a good player for us. He can really shoot the ball. When he was here, he played some 3-on-3 with our guys. Our players, notably Robert Woodard II and Tyson Carter, said 'Coach, this guy is really good, and we need to get him.' I was encouraged that they thought he was a good player based on their time with him in the gym."
 
Q: Have you had any conversations with Quinndary Weatherspoon, Aric Holman and Lamar Peters since last week's NBA Draft started?
BH: "I just talked to Aric today, and he leaves tomorrow for LA. They start practice on Thursday after being back home in Kentucky for a couple of days. He is excited, and it is a great opportunity because he has been guaranteed that he is going to be invited to their training camp. Obviously, the Lakers lost a lot of player due to trades and the different things they have done to acquire Anthony Davis. I think it is a good opportunity for him."
 
"For Q [Quinndary Weatherspoon], I just saw him this past Saturday in Jackson after he was drafted. They had a recruiting event for all of the high school kids in the state of Mississippi. I got a chance to visit with him then, and I was really happy for him. It is a big deal to get drafted with the 49th pick. I am really proud of him and happy for him and his family. He worked really hard. Now, a new chapter starts. He has to go out and prove himself all over again. He left Monday, and the Spurs started practice today."
 
"Both Aric and Q will be in the Utah Summer League and then go straight from there down to Las Vegas. Lamar got signed by the Knicks so all three of them have a chance and an opportunity to play in the summer league which is a big deal."    
 
Q: How have the new signees fit in since they have got to campus?
BH: "The three guys we signed in the fall are here. The only one not here is Quinten. He is with his national team [The Netherlands], and they will be playing a few games in Spain before going to a tournament in Portugal."
 
"Elias [King] is here and doing a good job. He is really shooting the ball well. Iverson [Molinar] has looked very explosive, athletic and tough in practice. He is going to be a really good player. Then, Devin [Butts], unfortunately for him he hurt his ankle last week in practice … thankfully it is not serious and not a long term injury."
 
"Our players at the end of this week are done with basketball for a week. There is a break between the two sessions of summer school so they will go home and come back here on July 8th."
 
Q: What type of experience will Reggie gain playing for the USA U19 Team in Greece over the next couple of weeks?
BH: "I think it is an incredible opportunity for Reggie. He made the team and left yesterday from Colorado Springs … He has done a really good job and was their leading scorer and rebounder during their last two scrimmages before they left to head out to Greece. He is representing our country and is on a really good team with outstanding coaches like Bruce Weber [from Kansas State] and Mike Hopkins [from Washington]. I spoke to both of them who are longtime friends."
 
"It is a great opportunity for him on a lot of fronts. They are playing against really good teams who are the best teams in the world. It is a very prestigious thing that he is involved with and quite an honor. Every NBA will be there watching him play [in Greece]. His goal having gone through the draft process and working out for all the teams at the Chicago combine is to be a NBA player."
 
Q: Is there any update on Nick Weatherspoon's status for the upcoming season?
BH: "Yeah, he's on the team and is practicing. He had a good practice yesterday, and we fully expect Nick to be available for the coming season."
 
Q: Is Abdul Ado's timeline still around October to be cleared for full contact?
BH: "Yeah, as far as I know it is. He is doing well, and his progress is going well. He got operated on June 5th so three weeks ago tomorrow. He seems to be doing well. We want to be very conservative in his rehab and not rushing it back. But yes, he seems to be doing well. He had a good experience going home to see his mom for the first time in six years. That was a great thing for him to get home, see family, see friends and spend time back there [in Nigeria]."
 
Q: What do you see Prince fitting into the lineup, and where might he help you?
BH: "He is very good around the basket. Yesterday, he really was outstanding in practice. For example, we did a 5-on-5 for about a half an hour yesterday, and he was very good. He is very good at spinning. He has got a big, strong, physical frame. He is good in the low post. He is shooting the ball and has really worked hard on his jump shot. He is shooting the ball pretty well from the perimeter and really runs the floor well. He does a number of things well, and he is really going to push people for playing time."
 
Q: What is the competition going to be like in practice for those first few rotation spots off the bench?
BH: "It is going to be intense. D.J. Stewart, although he has not played in a true game yet, has some experience having been here for a year. He has really looked good these three weeks plus that we have had of summer thus far. We are really excited about D.J.'s progress. He missed, unfortunately for us, about the last month of the season because he had a stress reaction in his foot … He has to have orthotics or something will occur."

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Logan Boss USA

by Brian Ogden, Assistant Coaches/Communications

STARKVILLE
– Four-time All-American Logan Boss will represent her country as part of Team USA at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in August.
 
The O'Brien, Florida, native is one of 96 track and field athletes chosen for the American delegation. The Pan Am Games feature 39 sports and 61 disciplines. A total of 6,680 athletes are expected to compete from 41 nations. 
 
"I'm just really excited for the opportunity and beyond grateful to have made my first USA team," Boss said. "This is something I've wanted to do since I got to college, and I've always fallen short of making the team by one or two spots. To have the opportunity to be on the team and travel to another country, on my birthday no less, is like a dream come true. I can't wait to go compete."
 
Boss' birthday is Aug. 4, and the track and field portion of the Games opens on Aug. 6. The women's high jump will be contested on Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. CT.
 
The graduate student's decorated Bulldog career included an SEC championship in 2018 in the indoor high jump. She went on to place third in the event at the NCAA Indoor Championships that year. Boss has earned three career All-SEC selections and holds MSU's indoor, outdoor and freshman records in the high jump.
 
"Whenever you have an opportunity to represent your country it's a great honor," head coach Chris Woods. "We're confident Logan will go represent the U.S. and our university and make us proud. We're extremely happy for her."
 
In 2015, the Americans completed the country's best Pan American Games performance in the sport of track & field since 1999, collecting 41 medals, including 13 golds. The U.S. crushed the scoring table with 403 points, outscoring host Canada by 153 points.
 
For more information on the Mississippi State track and field team, visit HailState.com and follow "HailStateTF" on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 

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Vic Schaefer Press Conference

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State women's basketball head coach Vic Schaefer, along with Jazzmun Holmes and Myah Taylor, spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss the Bulldogs' upcoming trip to Italy for the World University Games in Naples.
 
The squad was selected to compete as USA Team for the tournament and will play seven games against other countries throughout the duration of the event, beginning with a friendly on July 1 against Japan on a U.S. Naval Base.  
 
In 2018, Mississippi State spent 10 days touring Italy, visiting the cities of Rome, Florence and Venice. The Bulldogs went 3-0 while playing different teams from the country during the trip.

For more information on the Bulldogs, follow MSU women's basketball on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for "HailStateWBK."

Head Coach Vic Schaefer
Opening Statement
VS: "First of all, we are excited to be doing what we are doing this summer. We are in December mode in June with our team practicing every day. We have so many new faces. It's been really fun for my staff and I to have the newcomers here along with the returners. This is going to be a really fun group to watch and watch grow. You're going to see tremendous growth from this group throughout the course of their careers and the season. We are nowhere close to where we are going to be right now. Adding six new players in the mix in a short time is really challenging. They have worked extremely hard.
 
"We are really fortunate to have Jazzmun Holmes, who has been here four years. She's been in our system and had so much success for the newcomers to see every day. When you have two really good point guards like we do with her and Myah Taylor, you have a chance. For us, it's been us trying to find that chemistry and try to build some type of depth chart of who is going to play and when in a short period of time.
 
"We have one friendly that we will have when we get over there, and then after that, you're in pool play. What you do in pool play will dictate what you do as far as playing for a medal. We made the decision early on. This isn't like a foreign tour, where you go over and play a bunch of club teams that aren't very good, and you look like a million dollars, win by 60, everyone is happy and plays 10-12 minutes a game. We made the decision that we are going to go over, compete with the best and try to win it. We have practiced that way. Practices have been a little bit different, and our training has been quite a bit different this June compared to Junes in the past. Our young kids have been thrown in the fire pretty quick. Rickea Jackson didn't get here for a whole week. She was with USA Basketball. She won the 3x3 World Championship with her team. She missed the first week of practice. She is going into her second week.
 
"We are excited. We leave tomorrow night to go to Memphis, and then we fly out Thursday morning and arrive in Italy on Friday morning. Should be a great opportunity. We have a chance to go by the U.S. navy base while we are over there and spend some time with them. They invited us for a day. We also play a game there. I'm excited about the opportunity. This doesn't happen to everybody. We are very fortunate and looking forward to it."
 
Q: How did you determine who played on the roster, and what went into the decision of picking Jazzmun Holmes?
VS: "We have six new faces out of the 12 players that we are taking. Promise Taylor and Chloe Bibby are hurt. Chloe wasn't eligible since she's Australian. When you take that into account, we have 13 on our roster for next year. With two being hurt, we could add one person. To me, Jazz was the one that we needed to take with us. When you have six new faces, that's half my team. It's impossible to throw that team together in three and a half weeks. We are going over there and playing against 18 to 25-year-olds who have been playing together for years. But, I am taking a really competitive group that knows how to win and wants to win. The challenge has been to develop some chemistry and put in an offense that's not too complicated but fits the personnel. As you all know, it's not what we do but how we do it that separates us. That has been another piece, teaching kids to go hard. They think they're going hard until they see the tape. That is a lesson that sometimes you have three to five months to teach, but we had to get it in within two weeks. If I could have 13, I would be taking Anriel Howard with me, but I didn't know she was going to get cut. Quite frankly, I didn't think that was going to happen, but she's been able to help us in practices. She shows us just how far we have to go. She is still impacting our practices every day. That has been our challenges right now."
 
Q: On selecting Jazzmun Holmes to play with the team.
VS: "I'm still baffled that Jazz is here today. As well as she takes care of the ball, as little of an ego as she has, it baffles that she not only is sitting here today, but that she didn't have that opportunity here in the states. There's no question in my mind that she's going to get that opportunity overseas and this is another great opportunity for her and us to give her that chance to go over there and play in front of a bunch of coaches. I'm excited for her and, at the same time, she brings so much to our team and our program. You get excited about recruiting classes and you have to think back to her freshman year with [Teaira McCowan] and Zion [Campbell] and you think about that class before them. I'm excited that she's able to go and I'm excited about her future."
 
Q: The members of your freshman class, they're all pretty highly touted... Have they looked different from most groups, or do they look the same, wide-eyed, when they come?
VS: "I certainly think that this group is unique. I think they're all a very confident group. I think with any group of freshmen, the biggest piece is understanding and learning that it's not O.K. to turn the ball over. Take care of the ball. The other piece is learning our defense, learning how we play, how hard we play, what it takes to play and be effective for us. I certainly think they all have a little bit of swagger to them. That's what's nice about having Jazz and Anriel [Howard] and even Jordan [Danberry] sometimes in practice, and then we have a couple of other practice guys. They get humbled every day. I think that's what they need right now. I think they need that competition piece to show them, hey, this is what we're going to go against in the Southeastern Conference, this is what we're going to go against over there. For us, I just think it's important that we've been able to do that with them. They're all very confident. They all have a little swag to them and rightfully so. They have all had great careers in high school. We have McDonald's All-American, Gatorade Players of the Year, we have state players of the year. They all come with a lot of decoration to them. I think this is going to be a team you're all going to watch evolve in front of you in the next few years. They're going to have a chance to do the same things that Jazz and T did in their careers, Victoria and Morgan and Blair did in their careers and it's going to be a fun group to watch. We're fixing to be thrown into a really hot fire with a bunch of grease and we have to function."
 
Q: How far along are Promise Taylor and Chloe Bibby in their rehab?
VS: "Chloe looks great. She's running on the track and doing some things. She has really worked hard. In my mind, if we were in the middle of the season, I'd be pushing to get her on the floor. She's a little over four months post, but obviously we're not, so we don't need that. Promise comes out of her boot this week. She's been out of it quite a bit. I think she officially gets out of it this week and starts doing some stuff. Both of them are going to be here both summer sessions and are really working hard on their rehab. They're both coming along great. They look good. Marci [Hoppa], our strength coach, is doing a great job with them in the things she can do with them and Julie [Martin], our trainer, is just outstanding and so I feel really good about both of those kids' progress."
 
Q: You mentioned Anriel Howard and Jordan Danberry helping out. Is that in an official capacity, or are they just helping out?
VS: "Yeah, they're here right now. Jordan works, she has a full-time job. They're just around and we have a couple of men's practice players and these are things we've been able to prove they can come in and work out with us, occasionally. Occasionally, our kids get humbled and they need that. If you did it every day, they might not have any confidence."

Q: Mississippi State just finished one of the best sports years, if not the best, ever. Could you talk about being a part of that?
VS: "When was a better year? What an incredible year our sports had, our athletic program. You're just proud to be a part of it. For me, it's just a little extra motivation for me to continue to be a part of one of the best athletic departments in the country and to make sure my team is a part of that and continues to pull our weight. What a great year for our university and for our athletic department, our teams, our coaches. My hat's off, they're to be commended. Our student-athletes are to be commended for the years that they had. I just think it goes back to leadership and the coaches that are here at Mississippi State just make it really special. The only thing harder than building it is sustaining it. I think the thing you have to look at when you try to sustain something, it's continuity with your coaching staffs, not just a coach. You have to have that continuity with your leadership. I think that's important and they're in charge of that. Our leadership is in charge of that and i think that's where, right now, they're going do a great job in not just maintaining, but continuing to improve. I think that's what we've shown over the past couple of years is a department that's just really blossoming and blowing up. I can tell you, in talking to colleagues and people across the country, Mississippi State's not somebody you like to see on your schedule in any sport and I think that's really special. I'm really proud to be a part of that and be a part of this great university."
 
Q: Can you talk about how trips like this help the chemistry of teams and how vital it is for a bunch like this that's young?
VS: "Comparing it to trips like this before, they've always been a [thing where] we're going to go over there, play two or three, maybe four, games, going to get to tour a lot, see a lot of the different parts of the country and you're going to win by 50 or 60. You're going to have maybe one game against some all-stars. It's going to be a challenge for you, but it's kind of a feel-good type of deal. This is a little different. We're not going to get to tour. We're going to have one day where we get to go to the Amalfi Coast early, but once we lock in and start preparing and then start playing, we'll be locked in trying to be good. For this team, they're going to get thrown in the fire pretty quick. I do think it's a tremendous advantage in that they've had a month of practice. They're going to get to go play six games of a non-conference schedule that's going to be against some Top-25 competition, so to speak. I think it's hard to put a value on that. We're excited about that and, at the same time, we're going over there trying to win a gold medal. Whether that happens or not, I think we have to take advantage of the opportunity and make sure, number one, we have USA across our chest, we're representing this country in a positive way. At the same time, we're also going to have Mississippi State on our uniform as well and we're representing that piece of our history as well. I think our kids will do a great job and they'll come back better for it."
 
 
Graduate Guard Jazzmun Holmes
Q: What does it mean for you to get the opportunity to play for Mississippi State one last time?
JH: "The opportunity is great. I'm glad Coach Schaefer asked me to go over and play with them and help out Myah and Aliyah Matharu at the point guard spot. It's different because last summer we were having individuals instead of full-blown practice at this time. I had to get back into the routine of everything, but I'm excited for it."
 
Q: What potential do you see out of the freshman class?
JH: "There's a lot of potential in that group. Like Myah said, they work hard and play hard every day. They are freshmen, so they have a lot to learn, but I feel like Coach Schaefer is a good guy. They are going to be alright."
 
Q: When did Coach Schaefer ask you about playing with team, and what was your reaction?
JH: "It was probably around the end of May. I really thought that I was going to get a chance to try out for a WNBA team, but it didn't work out. Now, I have the opportunity to go showcase my skills overseas, and that's what I'm going to do."
 
Q: Coach mentioned how special of an opportunity it is to go overseas and represent your country. What does it mean to you guys to put the Team USA jersey on?
JH: "I think it's a great opportunity. A lot of people don't get to do it. It would be my first time playing for USA, so I'm excited. It means a lot to coach. Hopefully we'll go over there and do a good job."
 
 
Redshirt Sophomore Guard Myah Taylor
Q: Do you see the chemistry coming along with this team?
MT: "Definitely. As practice goes on, I feel like we are getting better. We work hard each and every day. It's a lot to grasp for some of the freshmen at first, but they are starting to get it. They are working hard. For Aliyah and I, we are still getting the chance to go against one of the best point guards in the nation. For that, I am thankful. Jazz makes us better every day. We just go at it and try to take in as much as possible. As a point guard, I am trying to take on a new leadership role the same way that Jazz and Morgan William did to help me. We are young, but we are getting it."
 
Q: Can you talk about competing for the starting spot and how Jazz has helped prepare you?
MT: "The adjustment was hard early on as far as grasping the responsibility and accountability that comes with being Coach Schaefer's point guard. She has helped with mental toughness and just grasping the information that coach is giving us. She's helping me be a great point guard by competing every day. As a point guard, we have to show leadership, accountability and responsibility. I am still very thankful to have Jazz for an extra month, because she's making me better each and every day."
 
Q: Coach mentioned how special of an opportunity it is to go overseas and represent your country. What does it mean to you guys to put the Team USA jersey on?
MT: "It means a lot because USA is something that's bigger than just us. We're getting ready to represent our country and so with that comes a lot of pride and hard work. I'm really excited. I painted my nails blue because I'm so excited. I'm ready."

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Jake Jacoby

by Caleb Garner, Graduate Assistant/Communications

STARKVILLE 
– A rising star in the college tennis coaching ranks is set to join the Mississippi State men's tennis program, as head coach Matt Roberts announced Jake Jacoby as assistant coach on Tuesday.

Jacoby joins the Bulldogs after one season as an assistant at Charlotte in which he helped the 49ers finish the season ranked seventh in the Carolina Region.

"We are excited to welcome Jake to the Bulldog family," head coach Matt Roberts said. "He is a young man of great character and will be a huge asset in developing our culture and team. In a short period of time, Jake has shown he belongs in this profession with his success developing players at Charlotte while recruiting all over the world."

Under Jacoby's tutelage, 49er Luca Keist was nationally ranked for the majority of the 2018-19 season while finishing the year ranked 109th and earning first-team All-Conference USA singles honors as well as Conference USA All-Academic team honors. Constandinos Christoforou and Keist reached a program-best 18th in the ITA doubles rankings during the season. They earned first-team All-Conference USA doubles honors while being named alternates to the NCAA Doubles Championships.

"I'm extremely excited to be joining Coach Roberts and the Mississippi State Bulldog tennis program," Jacoby said. "There has been an amazing culture built here in Starkville, and I can't wait to be a part of it and build on it for the future as we continue to compete for SEC Championships and at the highest level nationally."

Prior to his stint in Charlotte, Jacoby was a standout at the University of Iowa from 2014-18. In his collegiate playing career at Iowa, Jacoby finished his Hawkeye career with 128 combined singles and doubles wins, which rank him fifth in Iowa history. He tallied 60 doubles wins, which stands seventh-most in the program's history, and his 68 singles wins rank ninth in Iowa history.

As a senior in 2018, he was part of a doubles team that won 16 doubles matches, including a career-high seven-match winning streak. He recorded at least 13 doubles wins in each of his four years, while also recording 20 wins twice.

The three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and 2017 ITA Scholar-Athlete graduated from Iowa with a bachelor's degree in finance in 2018.

Hailing from Roberts' hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, Jacoby enjoyed a stellar juniors career. He was a five-star recruit who was ranked among the top 75 recruits. A four-time Arkansas state champion, Jacoby competed in the 18's USTA National Clay Courts Tournament and the National Championships in the summer of 2014. Not only did he excel on the tennis court, but he earned All-State honors on the soccer field as a goalkeeper.
  
For more information on the Mississippi State men's tennis program, follow "HailStateMT" on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Jordan Westburg & Justin Foscue

DURHAM, N.C. – Mississippi State baseball sophomores Tanner Allen, Justin Foscue and Jordan Westburg will each have the opportunity to represent Team USA this summer as a part of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, as the organization announced the trio will be a part of the Collegiate National Team Training Camp, which begins on June 27 in Cary, North Carolina.
 
Head coach Chris Lemonis will also be a part of the USA Baseball experience, serving as a member of the Collegiate National Team task force.
 
The winningest first-year head coach in Southeastern Conference history, Lemonis helped the Diamond Dawgs to a 52-15 record and the 11th College World Series appearance in school history. The 52 wins rank No. 2 all-time in program history, while the 20 SEC victories are tied for the No. 2 spot at Mississippi State. Lemonis helped the Bulldogs earn a share of the SEC Western Division title, as the Diamond Dawgs swept through the NCAA Starkville Regional and Super Regional on the way to Omaha.
 
Allen, Foscue and Westburg have been invited to the training camp that runs from June 27 to July 1. The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team participants will compete in series of four intrasquad exhibition games and one contest against the Coastal Plain League Select before announcing a 26-man roster prior to the 8th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series that will take place July 2-6 in Cary, Charlotte, Durham and Hickory, North Carolina.
 
Team USA's 26-man roster will then travel to Taiwan for the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series after which USA Baseball will announce a final 24-man roster to compete in the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 16-21 in Japan.
 
Mississippi State's history with the Collegiate National Team began with Will Clark in 1984 and Brad Hildreth in 1986. In all, nine MSU student-athletes have represented Team USA on 10 occasions as a part of the Collegiate National Team. Most recently, Adam Frazier (2012) and Konnor Pilkington (2017) were participants.
 
Allen started all 67 games at first base for the Diamond Dawgs and hit .349 with a team-best 66 RBIs and .426 on-base percentage. His 23 doubles and 142 total bases both ranked second on the team, with his doubles total sitting tied for No. 9 on the single-season charts.
 
A third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Allen was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Tournament Team, NCAA Starkville Regional All-Tournament Team and was a first-team All-SEC pick following a 96-hit effort during the 2019 season to rank No. 10 in MSU single-season history.
 
Foscue has earned All-America honors from every publication during his breakout sophomore campaign, grabbing first-team laurels from the College Baseball Foundation, second-team accolades from the American Baseball Coaches Association, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and D1Baseball, and third-team honors from Baseball America and Perfect Game.

Foscue played two positions on the infield during the 2019 campaign, making 31 starts at third base and 36 starts at second base. He was the first Diamond Dawg to earn All-America honors at second base since 1998 when Brad Freeman garnered second-team honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

The right-handed hitter boosted his batting average from .241 to .331 during his second season and his 14 home runs were the most in a single season since Brent Rooker hit 23 in 2017. A first-team All-SEC pick, he posted career highs in average (.331), hits (91), runs scored (66), doubles (22), home runs (14), RBIs (60) and total bases (155).
 
Westburg anchored the middle infield for the Maroon and White during the 2019 season with 66 starts at shortstop during the season. Hitting .294 on the season, the right-handed hitter owned a .402 on-base percentage thanks to a team-best 39 walks and 12 hit-by-pitch. He ranked second on the team with 68 runs scored and 61 RBIs.
 
During the season, Westburg rode four reached base streaks of 10-or-more games, including a 14-game streak to open the season and an active 20-game streak to close the 2019 campaign. He was a Perfect Game Midseason All-America, ending the year with 21 doubles, two triples and six home runs as part of a 78-hit campaign.

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Vic Schaefer

STARKVILLE, Mississippi -- Reigning SEC champion Mississippi State will host West Virginia at Humphrey Coliseum as part of the 2019 Big 12/SEC Challenge, the two league offices announced on Monday.
 
The year's Big 12/SEC Challenge marks the sixth consecutive season the two conferences have squared off on the hardwood. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in the event, as Mississippi State did not take part in the first two challenges.
 
The inaugural challenge was held in 2014 with the first 10-game slate in 2016. The SEC edged the Big 12, 6-4 that year, with the conferences splitting the challenge, 5-5, the past two seasons.
 
Last year, Mississippi State defeated 10th-ranked Texas, 67-49, on the road. The victory marked the first time in program history that the Bulldogs held a top-10 opponent to less than 50 points.
 
The Bulldogs are 1-0 all-time against West Virginia. That meeting took place at Humphrey Coliseum on Nov. 21, 2014, when Mississippi State defeated the 16th-ranked Mountaineers, 74-61, in the semifinals of the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament. MSU claimed the title with a win over Western Kentucky in the finals.
 
Mississippi State's all-time record against current members of the Big 12 stands at 11-10, including a six-game win streak against the league. Seventh-year MSU head coach Vic Schaefer—who spent nine seasons coaching in the Big 12 before transitioning to Starkville—owns a 7-1 record against current Big 12 teams and is 1-0 in his career against West Virginia.
 
Last season, WVU (22-11) posted its sixth consecutive season with 20 or more wins and advanced to the third round of the WNIT. The Mountaineers return All-Big 12 first team selections Tynice Martin and Kari Niblack.
 
The teams will face off at the Hump on Sun., Dec. 8. Exact times and television designations will be announced at a later date.
 
Other challenge matchups set are: Georgia at Baylor, Iowa State at Alabama, Ole Miss at Texas Tech, LSU at Oklahoma, Auburn at TCU, Kansas State at Arkansas, Oklahoma State at Texas A&M, Florida at Kansas and Texas at Tennessee.

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by Taylor Shirey, Assistant Director/Communications 

STARKVILLE – One of the top returning cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference, junior Cameron Dantzler collected preseason All-America honors from Phil Steele and highlighted a group of six Mississippi State Bulldogs tabbed to the publication's All-SEC Team.
 
Dantzler earned fourth-team honors from Phil Steele after being named to Lindy's Sports Preseason All-America Second Team earlier this month. 
 
Below is the complete list of Bulldogs who were named to Phil Steele's Preseason All-SEC Teams:
 
  • Cameron Dantzler (Second-Team Defense)
  • Darryl Williams (Second-Team Offense)
  • Kylin Hill (Third-Team Offense)
  • Chauncey Rivers (Third-Team Defense)
  • Erroll Thompson (Third-Team Defense)
  • Willie Gay Jr. (Third-Team Defense)
 
Arguably the top returning SEC cornerback, Dantzler ranked second in the conference last season among corners with a 41.1 passer rating allowed, according to Pro Football Focus, and was one of only four SEC cornerbacks that did not allow a touchdown (min. 345 coverage snaps played). The Louisiana product also had a pair of interceptions and led the Bulldogs in passes defended (11).
 
One of the top offensive linemen in the nation, Williams was named offensive team captain following the spring game and moved from left guard to center during spring drills to replace second-round draft pick and All-American Elgton Jenkins. The Bessemer, Alabama, native allowed only one sack, three QB hits, and five hurries for just nine total pressures in 2018, according to PFF. He was the No. 5 overall graded guard in the SEC by PFF last season (71.1) and had the No. 5 best pass blocking grade (82.9).
 
Hill rushed for 734 yards and four touchdowns on 117 attempts last season. The elusive, bruising running back started all 11 games he played in, and his top performance came in a road win at Kansas State, where he ran for 211 yards and accounted for three scores. Hill also produced 100-yard rushing games in wins against No. 8 Auburn (126) and Ole Miss (108) and finished with a 116.1 elusive rating, per PFF, which ranked fourth in the conference among running backs.
 
Rivers played in all 13 games in 2018 and had impressive numbers on one of the best defensive lines in college football. He made 24 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two and 2.5 sacks. The Stone Mountain, Georgia, native recorded an impressive 19 pressures across 339 snaps played, according to PFF.
 
Thompson, State's defensive team captain for the upcoming season, was a leader on the top defense in the nation and a second-team All-SEC selection last year. He totaled 87 tackles and was the only SEC linebacker with at least 85 tackles and multiple interceptions in 2018. The Florence, Alabama, native was in a class of his own in coverage among SEC linebackers last season with a 56.2 passer rating allowed, according to PFF (min. 200 coverage snaps), and he tied for third in total pressures (19).
 
Using his lightning speed to wreak havoc in coverage, Gay played in all 13 games as a sophomore and earned a starting role midway through the season. The Starkville product collected 48 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and a fumble recovery. Targeted 20 times, Gay reeled in two interceptions and forced a pass breakup. He allowed just 5.3 yards per reception, earning a 90.6 coverage grade from PFF.
 
For more information on the Bulldogs, follow MSU football on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for "HailStateFB."
 

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Holland Sherrer Syracuse

by Brian Ogden, Assistant Coordinator/Communications

STARKVILLE
– Chris Woods has announced the addition of Holland Sherrer to Mississippi State track and field's coaching staff. He will directly assist Woods with the sprints, hurdles and relays.
 
Sherrer joins the Bulldogs from Syracuse where he worked with the sprint, hurdle and jump events in 2019. Prior to working with the Orange, Sherrer served as a volunteer assistant at Florida for two years, winning men's team national championships outdoors in 2017 and indoors in 2018. The Gators also won both the men's and women's team titles at the 2018 SEC Outdoor Championships.
 
"Holland will be a great asset to our program, especially with the ability to recruit at a high level that he showed at Syracuse," Woods said. "He brings success at the championship level from his time at Florida and has plenty of Power Five knowledge."
 
At Syracuse, his sprinters Eunice Boateng, Dasia Pressley, Alexis Crosby and Cheyenne Trigg broke the school record in the 4x100m relay at the ACC Outdoor Championships then did so again at the NCAA East Prelims.
 
Sherrer's hurdlers scored at both the indoor and outdoor conference championships. Matt Moore finished third in the indoor 60m hurdles, while Richard Floyd and Chevis Armstead II were third and seventh, respectively, in the 110m hurdles outdoors. Floyd went on to run at the NCAA East Prelims where he missed advancing to the national championships by 0.07 seconds.
 
In the jumps, he helped coach Avianna Goode to a fifth-place finish in the high jump at the ACC Championships.
 
Sherrer helped the Orange sign a gifted class headlined by the No. 1 ranked sprinter from New Jersey in Dennisha Page and Aja Davis who was sixth in the 60m at the New Balance National Indoor meet.
 
At Florida, Sherrer worked with the Gators' middle distance group where he oversaw Andres Arroyo's breakout 2017 season. Arroyo qualified for the 2017 IAAF World Championships after winning the 800m at SEC Indoor Championships and scoring at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time in his career. He also saw Justin Pacifico compete at the 2017 USATF Junior Championships where he was fifth in the 800m.
 
The Deerfield, New Jersey, native has also competed at the highest levels, running the 800m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and 2015 USATF Championships while earning outdoor All-American honors during his time at Ole Miss. Sherrer advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in his junior and senior seasons with the Rebels. He also won an SEC Championship in the indoor distance medley relay.
 
His collegiate career began at Rend Lake Community College where he was a two-time NJCAA All-American and won an NJCAA Championship on the 4x800m relay.
 
For more information on the Mississippi State track and field team, visit HailState.com and follow "HailStateTF" on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Borges Celebration Georgia

by Caleb Garner, Graduate Assistant/Communications

STARKVILLE 
– While his historic collegiate tennis career may have ended last month, Mississippi State's Nuno Borges is not done racking up honors off the court.
 
The five-time All-American added to his lengthy résumé by being named First Team Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-America on Friday, marking the second year in a row he has earned Academic All-American laurels. In 2018, Borges earned Second Team Academic All-America honors and is the seventh player in program history to earn multiple Academic All-American accolades, the sixth to receive first-team billing.
 
In the classroom, the two-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year holds a sparkling 3.90 cumulative GPA after pacing the Bulldogs with a 4.0 this spring. The Maia, Porto, Portugal, product is slated to complete his bachelor's degree in kinesiology with a concentration in clinical exercise physiology in the fall. Borges is a two-time ITA Scholar-Athlete and is expected to receive the distinction again later this summer.
 
Borges reached the NCAA Singles title match on May 25 in Orlando, after having become the first Bulldog ever to advance to the NCAA semis in both 2017 and 2018. He finished his final season with a sparkling 37-3 singles mark that included a program-best 31-match winning streak, with 26 of those 31 wins coming in straight-set fashion. Borges finished his career ranked first nationally in singles, becoming the first Bulldog to finish seasons in the top spot in both singles and doubles.
 
In his four-year career at State, Borges amassed a staggering 121 singles triumphs while adding 68 doubles victories to total 189 overall triumphs as a Bulldog, which ranks first all-time in the MSU Men's Tennis record book. He also ranks first in two other wins categories, including total dual match wins (135) and dual match singles victories (81). More impressively, he is State's all-time leader in overall winning percentage (74.4%, 189-65), singles winning percentage (84.0%, 121-23), overall dual match winning percentage (75.8%, 135-43) and singles dual match winning percentage (87.1%, 81-12).
 
The 2019 ITA National Player of the Year also finished his tenure ranked third nationally in doubles with Rakic after the pair reached the NCAA Doubles quarterfinals and earned All-America status for the second year in a row. The tandem was ranked as high as No. 1 in their time as a team, finishing the 2018 campaign atop the national rankings. Borges and Rakic totaled a 23-11 ledger in 2018-19, including a 16-7 mark in dual matches. In just three years playing together, the tandem amassed the most wins by a doubles pair (57) in program history.
 
For more information on the Mississippi State men's tennis program, follow "HailStateMT" on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Jake Mangum

OMAHA, Neb. – For 125 days, the 2019 Mississippi State baseball program rode a wave that included dominant starting pitching performances, offensive outbursts and sparkling defense, but crazy things happen in Omaha. On Thursday (June 20), State dropped its first game of the season when leading after eight innings, falling 4-3 to Louisville in an elimination game at TD Ameritrade Park to end its stay at the 2019 College World Series.
 
Mississippi State (52-15) opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the fourth inning and added one more in the seventh to make it a 3-0 lead. Louisville (51-17) got on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning with two runs. The Cardinals then plated two more runs in the ninth inning to take the victory.
 
With the loss, Mississippi State fell to 47-1 on the season when leading after eight innings.
 
As a team, the 2019 edition established new school standards for strikeouts by a pitching staff (718) and doubles (166), and finished No. 2 in MSU history with 52 wins. The 20 SEC wins in 2019 are tied for the. second most by a Bulldog team since 1933.
 
The "New Dude" was opened with 37 regular season home games, an NCAA Regional and Super Regional, and shined on the national stage with 10 crowds of 10,000-plus and a school-record average attendance of 8,899.
 
Head coach Chris Lemonis became the winningest first-year head coach in SEC history with his 52 victories.
 
Freshman JT Ginn was sparking in his 17th start of the season, throwing six scoreless innings and allowing just three hits. He walked one and struck out two. The MSU bullpen allowed all four runs on six hits, with three of the runs earned. The duo of seniors Jared Liebelt and Cole Gordon combined to strike out two and walk three in the game.
 
Senior Jake Mangum became State's single-season hits king with his 108th hit of the season in the seventh inning, passing Adam Frazier, who had 107 hits during the 2013 season. Mangum capped his career as the SEC's all-time leader in career hits with 383, a total that is also No. 4 on the NCAA's all-time list. He also owns the school record for games played (262), doubles (73) and at bats (1,074).
 
A pair of lengthy reached base streaks will carry over into the 2020 season, as sophomores Tanner Allen and Jordan Westburg each take on-base streaks of 20-plus games into next season. Allen's 2-for-4 night moves his streak to 21 games, while Westburg had one hit to push his to 20 games. Allen will also carry a 14-game hitting streak over.
 
Allen joined sophomore Rowdey Jordan and junior Gunner Halter as Bulldogs to collect RBIs in the game. Jordan, Mangum and Justin Foscue each scored runs.
 
 
Quotables
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On what he said to the team after the game
"Because our goal has been a National Championship, and I told them we didn't win it this year, but when we do, it'll be because of the Jake Mangums and the Elijah MacNamees and the Cole Gordons. For [Jake] to say that [our staff will bring the first national title to Mississippi State], I know he has a trust in our coaching staff, but I also think he has a trust in our program. We're scratching and fighting, and we feel like we'll get back here and take care of it."
 
Senior Jake Mangum
On his time at Mississippi State
"First off, I've been very fortunate for the last four years. God has been very, very good to me for those four years, and they were the best four years of my life. Mississippi State baseball is literally a part of me. I hate it ended this way, but it is what it is. I absolutely hate it for our guys. I really do."
 
 
Quick Hitters
Mississippi State
Jake Mangum – Became the single-season hits king at Mississippi State with his seventh-inning single, moving his season total to 108.
JT Ginn – Threw six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits in his 17th start of the season. Walked one and struck out two.
Rowdey Jordan – Doubled, scored a run and drove in one RBI.
20-Game Reached Base Streaks – Tanner Allen (21 games) and Jordan Westburg (20 games) are each riding reached base streaks of 20-plus games following Thursday's game versus Louisville.
 
Louisville
Drew Campbell – Went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including the game-winning single in the ninth inning.
Ninth-inning Rally – Louisville needed one run to tie and two to walk off with a win, and the Cardinals did so in three at-bats. A walk was followed by a failed pickoff attempt. An RBI single tied the game – moving the runner to second on the throw – before Campbell delivered the game-winning hit.
 
 
Scoring Recap
Top Fourth
A two-out rally gave Mississippi State the early lead. A one-out single from Justin Foscue was followed by a strikeout. Rowdey Jordan then doubled to right-center field to bring Foscue around from first and Gunner Halter singled up the middle to plate the second run of the inning.
Mississippi State 2, Louisville 0
 
Top Seventh
State put together three-straight one-out singles, starting with a base hit from Jake Mangum to break the MSU single season record. Jordan Westburg followed with a single to put runners at first and second. Tanner Allen then singled to center field, scoring Mangum to make it a three-run lead.
Mississippi State 3, Louisville 0
 
Bottom Seventh
Louisville loaded the bases with no outs against MSU reliever Jared Liebelt thanks to a pair of walks and an infield single. Following a strikeout, Drew Campbell singled through the left side to score the first run of the inning. The second run came across on an RBI fielder's choice
Mississippi State 3, Louisville 2
 
Bottom Ninth
Jake Snider started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt against MSU reliever Cole Gordon in his second inning of work. Danny Oriente singled to left-center field – moving to second on the throw home – and Campbell dropped a ball into center field on a 2-2 count to bring the winning run home for the Cardinals.
Louisville 4, Mississippi State 3

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